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READING COMPREHENSION
TO IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION, TRY THE FOLLOWING:

1. PREVIEW:
  • Spend 5-10 minutes scanning the chapter — headings, diagrams, charts, terms in bold type, questions at the end, summary, etc.
  • Think about what you already know concerning the topics covered in the chapter.

2. READ:
  • Think of the paragraph or the section (3 or 5 paragraphs under a heading) as your unit of meaning. Do not stop when you are confused about a word or sentence, often the next sentence will clarify the meaning.
  • If you are still confused at the end of a section or paragraph, stop at that point to reread or to look up unfamiliar words.

    TEXTBOOKS WITH MANY HEADINGS:
  • Turn the heading into a question and read that section to find the answer.
  • Stop at the end of the section to make a note in the margin or to highlight key words of the answer. Try to highlight less than 20% of the text.
  • Number parts or items (e.g., 3 parts of a definition, 5 causes of something, 3 requirements, etc).
  • Look at how other students mark their texts for ideas and models.

    BOOKS WITH FEW OR NO HEADINGS:
  • Stop at the end of each paragraph, and ask yourself the main point. Then highlight it.
  • Do not highlight a section if the professor said the book (often a paperback) was assigned simply to present a broader scope rather than details. For example, 3 paperbacks in a history class may have been assigned so that you can learn how historians work and think, not with the intention that you memorize dates.
  • If you decide not to highlight or make marginal notes, stop at the end of each chapter and write a few notes into your notebook.
3. REVIEW & RECITE:
  • At the end of a chapter or reading session, spend 5-10 minutes scanning back over the headings and your own highlighting.
  • Begin to self-test if time allows. Turn a heading into a question and try to answer it. Then look to see if you are right.
  • Look at the reading in connection with your lecture notes.
  • Review and self-test frequently.
  • Consider forming a study group to discuss the material and quiz each other.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS:

1. Vary your reading speed depending upon the text, but try to gradually increase your speed. 2. For a science or technical book, think of the charts and diagrams as the heart of the text with sentences simply explaining what is presented visually.