How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension
There are so many reasons to read every single day. From building focus in a world where attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter to nurturing imagination and creativity, reading is a fundamental skill with a variety of serious benefits. What are some of the major benefits of reading?
Students who read just 20 minutes a day outside of school encounter 1.8 million words, on average.
Through reading, students meet characters of all different backgrounds and circumstances. A study done by the researchers at The New School in New York City found that students who read literary fiction were able to better empathize with people’s thoughts and emotions.
SHARPENING READING COMPREHENSION
Becoming a better reader takes practice. Reading different texts from a variety of genres helps students sharpen their comprehension skills, especially when students annotate the texts they are reading.
DEVELOPING WRITING SKILLS
Becoming a good writer starts by being a good reader. The more students read the more they internalize grammatical and syntax patterns, challenging vocabulary that elevates their writing, and an understanding of how authors use specific devices and conventions to relay their message.
SCORING HIGHER ON TOUGH EXAMS
Students who read daily score, on average, in the 90th percentile on standardized tests, such as the SAT.
And you can achieve all of these benefits with only 20 minutes of daily reading!
How can you get the most out of your reading?
In order to get the most out of your reading, you need to read actively. What does that mean? It means engaging with the text in a variety of ways. Here are some ways to “talk to your texts”.
1. Annotate your texts.
The most important reading skill is to annotate your texts. Annotating is a way of talking to the text. Not only does it help you practice analysis skills, but it also develops your ability to interpret underlying meaning, acts as a way to keep track of quotes to use as evidence in your essays, and forms the basis for essay topics. Check out our blog to brush up on your annotating skills!
2. Use quotes from the texts you’re reading as writing prompts.
A great way to improve your writing skills is to use a meaningful quote from the text you’re reading as a writing prompt. This practice will help you build analysis and interpretation skills as you’re putting the quote in your own words and writing about, what you feel, is the meaning behind the quote. This is also a good way to work on drawing connections between texts and personal experiences.
3. Keep a separate section in your notebook for new vocabulary.
While reading it’s important to keep track of new vocabulary you encounter. The best way of doing so is to keep a separate section in your notebook where you define the new vocabulary word and jot down the quote where you read it in use.
4. Make predictions as you read.
Reading introduces you to many different characters from all walks of life. How each of these characters behaves in a given situation depends on their circumstances, their level of conflict, and the way in which they see the world. By making predictions about what a character will do next, you’re exercising your ability to make inferences and practicing character analysis.
With just 20 minutes a day of reading, your child can improve their writing skills, build empathy, and boost their test scores! Looking for a book to read? Check out our specially curated reading list for grades 4 through 8.
If you’re looking for a customized plan and one-on-one support to help your child reach their academic goals, MEK has the programs to guide them through their journey.
This spring, we are offering our MEK Learning Circles and High School Admissions Prep programs designed to help your child ace your courses, prepare for tough exams, and master the skills that build academic confidence in the classroom and beyond. Sign up for our free, virtual MEK Learning Circles Evaluation Test to get started!
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