People of all ages experience trouble with reading comprehension. Sometimes this is due to difficulty with time management when reading, difficulty conceptualizing the information, or difficulty with attention. In either case, following these three steps: preview read, and recall, may help you or your child comprehend and retain written material more effectively.
Before you begin reading the whole passage, it is helpful to get an overview of the text. This can help you better comprehend and retain details that you read later. Prior to reading the whole text, take a few minutes to do the following things:
Preview the headings, subheadings, beginning sentences, conclusions, and visual aids such as diagrams and charts
Make predictions about the main ideas, how difficult the material is, and how long it will take to read
By being an active reader, you will likely increase your understanding of the material, your attention, and your ability to remember the information. To read more actively, try the following tips:
Set realistic goals for how much information you can read attentively at one time and break the passage into manageable chunks, such as pages, columns, or paragraphs
Ask yourself questions related to each section and try to answer the questions as you read
While you read the passage, make an outline or take notes about the main point
Acknowledge when your mind begins to wander and take short breaks
Making an effort to recall the information immediately increases the likelihood that we will be able to recall the information long-term. Try the following tricks to test your recall within a few minutes of reading the passage:
When you are finished reading, mentally recall or orally recite the details of what you have read
Review your outline or notes
Remember the questions you answered as you read along and review the answers you found
Visualize yourself explaining the information to a friend or study in a group and take turns summarizing the material aloud
These reading comprehension techniques can be applied to a wide range of situations, from standardized test-taking to reading an article in the newspaper. Of course, don’t be afraid to tweak them as you find appropriate or as different situations demand. The key is to remember to be actively engaged in your own reading and learning.