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How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension

Aug 11, 2008
How many times have you been reading and then realized that you have no idea what you just read? Or you are reading something and for the life of you, you can't really make sense of it? There are things you can do to improve your reading and your comprehension.

There are six skills to improving your reading. Like all skills, success only comes through practice, so just reading this article won't be enough. Read and learn about these skills, then put them to practice, and start to see the results. The 6 skills are: knowing that reading is not linear, do not subvocalize, practice reading, use a pointer, eliminate distractions, and find your motivation.

We will be breaking up the six into a series of articles, so our first discussion will focus on the fact that reading is not linear.

Think about how you read a book. Without thinking, you probably start with page one, then read each page, and then you finish the book. Starting from the front and working to the back with out skipping around or going back to re read sections is actually one of the most inefficient ways to read. The thing about text is that it is non-linear, meaning, you can move around and jump to different parts of the page, or even different pages and sections.

When you get the book in hand, take a few minutes to access the book in an overall review. Unless it is a great novel and you don't want to spoil the end, skim it. Take a look at the different sections. You should have a mental picture of the framework of the book or reading. Now you can fill in the framework, but you know have a mental map of the book.

Non linear reading does not have a set pace, and you should feel comfortable if you need to go back and reread sections. You'd be amazed to see how much you miss on a first pass, and how you can get deeper meaning by going back. Your reading pace will depend on the work you are reading. The faster reading is for simple stuff, and you will need to read slower if the material is complicated. Speed reading isn't just about faster but pacing yourself for the specific reading task you face.

The next in the series of articles will cover subvocalizing, or mentally saying all the words in your head.
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