Reading Comprehension Strategies
Effective reading and reading comprehension has been a field of study since the 70’s, and since then, there has been a flood of research to find out how we can get the most out of the books that we read.
Scientists set out to find out what it was that set good readers apart, and whether the techniques they applied could be taught. The results of their research can be seen in schools across the globe, as teachers embrace reading comprehension teaching techniques that have taught their students to enjoy the books they read as well as learn as much information as possible from the text in the most effective way.
The first step in the process was to find out what techniques good readers were already using, and why these techniques were effective.
What is it that good readers do as they read?
– They read regularly
– They have goals in mind for what their about to read and they constantly evaluate whether the text is meeting their goals
– They predict what is about to come in the book as they read
– They are selective about what they read. Some books are read quickly, others are given the time, while some are reread over and over again
– Good readers give meaning to what they read, and constantly question and remake that meaning
– To improve their reading comprehension, they review new words and concepts as they read
– They compare what they already know to what they’re currently reading to check for inconsistencies and commonalities
– They take into account the author, their intentions and biases
– They not only think about what they have read during short breaks, but also well after they have finished the book
After studying the processes of reading comprehension by good readers, researchers turned their attention to teaching these skills to their students. They wanted to turn students into excellent comprehenders of text, and this is how they set out to do that.
To improve reading comprehension, they not only had to teach effective strategies, but they had to create a specific environment with the right type of support available to students when they needed it.
Features Of Effective Reading Comprehension
– Time Spent Reading
No matter how much instruction they are given about effective reading comprehension techniques, students will not learn if they are not given the full opportunity to read and apply what they’ve learnt. Students need plenty of time for reading in an environment where they can apply the techniques.
– Reading With A Purpose
Choosing a specific book for a specific reason helps to improve reading comprehension. It can be fiction or non-fiction, but to improve their reading, students need to have a specific reason to read a book for a purpose.
– Read A Wide Variety Of Books
Variety is the spice of life, and to give their reading comprehension more flavor, students need to consume all sorts of books to refine their critical reading skills.
– Discuss What Has Been Read
Getting other peoples input, as well as being able to discuss and think about the book critically after it has been read has been shown to rapidly improve students reading comprehension capabilities.
A lot of time spent writing texts for others to comprehend has many benefits. As well as improving the students vocabulary and grammar, their reading comprehension is improved by trying to convey a message in their writing. Its useful to write a variety of genres for the maximum benefit.
These techniques are most useful for students, but as a general reader, it helps to be able to apply one if not all these techniques. Applying just one greatly improves your comprehension and ultimately, your enjoyment of the books that you read. As a student, your time is spent more efficiently which will allow you to study a wider variety of material.
For the full text on the research, click here.