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How To Improve Reading Skills: 7 Strategies To Follow

Do you want to read faster, more consistently, and with more comprehension? Follow these seven strategies.
by Chris Allmer | Oct 24 2023

Do you wish to improve your reading speed, consistency, and understanding? 

Implementing the following seven methods will swiftly transform your comprehension skills. Reading isn’t just about getting through your schoolwork.

It plays a big part in everyday tasks, whether it’s at work or just going about your day. Being a good reader means you can easily understand what you’re reading, which makes it easier to communicate with others. 

This article will tell you why reading skills are so important, how understanding what you read can help improve your reading, and how to become a better reader. “10 Days to Faster Reading” by The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale can be an excellent starting point for anyone who aims to read with speed and precision.


Understanding What Reading Skills Are

Reading skills mean being able to read, understand, and take apart the meaning of written words and sentences. It’s super important to be a good reader, especially when you need to understand and respond to things like emails, messages, letters, and more.

Plus, if you’re good at reading, you’re likely to be better at writing too, and you’ll make fewer mistakes when communicating.

Additionally, reading skills can contribute to effective written communication in the workplace, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and miscommunications. 

And reading skills include several key aspects that work together to develop overall literacy skills, such as comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and strategies that help readers interpret and make sense of texts. Francine Prose, in her book “Reading Like a Writer”, provides compelling guidance for people who want to truly appreciate literature and also for those who aspire to write.


Strategies for Better Reading Comprehension

The essence of reading comprehension lies in decoding and grasping the text you read. This process employs multiple literacy skills and techniques.

Fluency, contextual clues, and decoding new words all contribute significantly to effective reading comprehension. Generally, those exhibiting high levels of reading comprehension display the following key skills:

They have a high retention rate 

The key to reading comprehension is retaining what we read. Information retention is the key to comprehension. Your reading comprehension can be further improved by practicing your summarizing skills and remembering what you have read. You can find a great summary on this topic in the Blinkist Library called “Remember” by Lisa Genova. 

“Remember” is about our marvelous and flawed ability to create memories. It explores the different sorts of memories we create, how the brain makes them, why they often fail, and what we can do to get the most out of our astonishing and troubled capacity to remember.

The ability to make assumptions 

Reading comprehension also requires inference. Inferences help us understand what we read by connecting information from texts to our own ideas and opinions. When reading an article about plastics in the oceans, you might infer that recycling can reduce the amount of plastic waste. 

We infer meaning from a text when its purpose and meaning are not explicitly stated. It is also possible to increase retention by making connections between ideas and making inferences. 

A broad vocabulary 

Your reading comprehension skills are directly proportional to the breadth of your vocabulary. Deciphering unfamiliar words and recognizing their relationship with known terms allows you to form meaningful connections, generate new ideas, and understand texts more effectively.

High level of fluency 

Fluency comprises several elements, the primary among them being the ability to read smoothly and clearly. Swift decoding of unfamiliar vocabulary is crucial for maintaining reading fluency, which in turn impacts comprehension significantly. Enhanced reading fluency enables quicker understanding of read material, facilitating better comprehension.

Proficiency in Word Definition 

Defining words is a skill that depends on your ability to sound out words you’ve heard but never seen written out. Phonemic awareness, which is the ability to recognize individual sounds in words and connect those sounds to letters, is required. Connecting a letter or group of letters to the sounds they make is crucial to “sounding out” or decoding words. 

Read the Face” by Eric Standop and Elisa Petrini can serve as a novel resource for refining our reading skills, as it applies face-reading techniques to comprehend underlying emotions and traits, emphasizing how context and interpretation are vital to reading any form of ‘text’.

How To Improve Reading Skills: 7 Strategies

It is possible to strengthen your reading skills in a number of ways. Make notes each time you encounter unfamiliar vocabulary or practice speed reading to improve your fluency. Listed below are 7 strategies you can use to improve your reading skills:

1. Summarize what you read

Reading skills can be improved by summarizing what you read. Taking notes in your own words and from your own unique perspective forces you to remember specific details and central topics about what you read.

To retain and comprehend what you read, you might want to share information with a friend or write a short summary. 

2. While reading, take notes

Taking notes while reading is another highly effective method for strengthening your reading skills. You might take notes while reading a fiction novel to gain a more profound understanding of the author’s language choices, or you might write down new vocabulary while reading a science journal.

You can ask questions about what you read and make connections when you take notes effectively. Likewise, charts, tables, and diagrams can clarify themes and ideas and help you draw inferences from your reading. As well as comprehension exercises like summarizing, note-taking can be highly beneficial. 

3. Use key reading strategies

You can increase your comprehension by applying several key strategies as you read different texts. If you preview a text, you may identify its structure as informative, persuasive, or instructional.

You might also identify key features of different texts, such as the central themes, problems, and solutions, or comparative ideas. You can improve your reading skills by identifying text features, determining the purpose, and taking notes. 

4. The purpose should be determined

Practice determining the purpose of different texts as you read them. Take a moment to consider why different texts were written and what meanings or themes can be derived from them.

Additionally, you might identify the purpose of reading, such as finding information, following instructions in a manual, or enjoying a story. When you know why you are reading a text, you can look for key ideas and details that support that purpose. 

5. Read the texts in advance

Another way to strengthen your reading skills is to preview and scan texts. Using this strategy, you can preview titles, captions, headlines, and other text features to get an idea of what you will read.

This can help you formulate the fundamental ideas that are behind a text before diving into the full piece. 

6. Goals should be set for reading

It is possible to set reading goals for yourself in order to develop a wider vocabulary, gain a more in-depth understanding of different texts, and improve your ability to connect what you read with your own perspectives. If you are interested in business management, technology, or another subject that interests you, you might set a goal to learn different vocabulary related to that subject.

As you read, you can discover meanings for unfamiliar words that help you build your vocabulary. Your vocabulary will grow as you become familiar with higher-level words and phrases. 

7. Every day, make time to read

Finally, a crucial strategy to enhance reading skills is to simply dedicate time to reading each day. Lisa Cron’s “Wired for Story” is a compelling read that uses brain science to demonstrate how our minds are “wired” to respond to stories, providing a unique blend of neurological research and literary technique to help engage and understand stories better.

Practice is one of the best ways to improve your skills. Practice will ultimately help you develop your reading skills, and you can set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day to read.

If you practice your reading skills, you can read news articles, fiction, magazine issues, or any other type of text. But being a skilled reader is not everything; you also need to focus on your listening skills to be top of your game.

Strengthen your reading skills with Blinkist

By improving your reading abilities, including reading comprehension and literacy skills, you’ll boost your communication, excel in your career, and foster better interactions with others. But that’s not all—do you also wish to improve other aspects of your life? Discover how to enhance your social skills, sharpen your short-term memory, and master time management right here:

With Blinkist, you can access quick reads and concise summaries of nonfiction books covering self-development, career growth, creativity, and more. 

Blinkist’s curators also gathered a collection of great books for you to enhance your reading skills and get a head start in life: 9-days-to-better-reading-skills

As you move forward, make a commitment to continue practicing and refining your reading skills every day. Embrace the joy of learning and see reading as a lifelong journey of growth and self-improvement. Blinkist offers you a free 7-day trial, so you can already practice your reading skills while enhancing them—a win-win situation.

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