Strategies to Help Struggling Readers Improve Reading
Ever found yourself reading the same sentence over and over again and not getting an ounce of it? Well, you’re not alone. With so many distractions around you, reading comprehension can be quite a task. In times like today, when modern technology prevails in almost every part of our lives, reading a text with deep understanding almost seems impossible. However, it’s not as impossible as you think it to be. You can still achieve all those reading goals for the year 2021. Therefore, if you are about to give up on the reader inside you, quit it right away. Buckle your seat belt because we will take you on a journey that’ll help you improve your reading comprehension skills effectively.
This article provides you with 15 incredible strategies to help struggling readers improve their reading skills.
Growing readers must be provided books according to their intellectual level.
It is imperative to consider the age of the reader when it comes to the issue of reduced reading comprehension. If the target audience is under five years old and they are being provided with books meant to read by teenagers, they are going to face difficulty understanding the written narrative. Every reader must be supplied with books that they are capable of understanding intellectually. The right level of the reading material must be determined, especially for growing readers, to enhance their reading comprehension skills.
Predict what the text is about.
Before reading the text, try predicting its content. What do you think it is about? What kind of emotions does the title of the text evoke in you? Are you familiar with the content, or is it entirely new to you? Asking such questions to yourself helps you dig into the collection of your prior knowledge for information similar to the content you’re about to read. The pack of information already existing inside you partially enlightens you about the reading material if some similarities are found.
For instance, if the title of the reading material is “Why the rabbit jumped into the hole?”, it is best to ask yourself what you know about rabbits or jumping or holes. Does it remind you of something similar to “Alice in Wonderland”? If it does, congratulations, because your mind is ready to add more information to the one already existing inside your head, and it’s no big deal. =)
Identify the core idea.
Now that you’ve predicted all that you want, let’s get to the real business. What is your reading content actually about? Identifying the core information and separating it from the detailed and elaborative content is a useful technique of not only increasing concentration levels during reading but also aids in enhancing your comprehension skills. Checking out the headings and subheadings prepares you for the content’s crux and makes you interested enough to want to understand it better.
If you are reading the same words continuously and not getting anything, it might be because your concentration on the reading material is being interrupted by distractive noises, whether inside or outside your head. One of the many effective techniques to deal with this is to start reading out loud. This brings your focus back to your voice and ultimately to the text that you are reading. Use your voice to cancel out the distractive thoughts and noises, and reduce your struggle while reading.
Skim through the upcoming sections of the text
Most of the readers hate it when someone kills their reading mood by spoiling the book that they are reading. Spoilers are rarely liked by anyone. What we are suggesting here is not spoiling the book, though. Just peak ahead at the upcoming sections of the text and see what they’re about. This prepares your mind for what is to come next and helps you invest deeper understanding in the reading material. However, don’t you go sneaking around peaking at the spoilers while you’re at it!
You often find yourself rereading the same portions of text when you don’t understand the written material. That’s because it’s a natural remedy for improving reading comprehension skills. Rereading something foregrounds many hidden ideas and symbolic meanings of a text usually missed in the first time reading of it. The more you engage with a narrative, the more you absorb it. Reading something, again and again, fills the gap in your understanding of a text. This makes you interested in reading it further and also enhances your comprehension skills. What you don’t get for the first time, you can understand in the second or the third attempt, so don’t lose your heart over it already. =)
It can be bewildering when, despite trying everything, you’re unable to comprehend the words in front of you. It further leads to low self-esteem in intellectual gatherings where the environment is competitive, and understanding written texts can be more strenuous because of it. In situations like these, it is important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance to comprehend mind-boggling concepts. Question yourself and the people around you because two minds are better than one, and no question is a foolish question. It’s always better asking for it than wallowing in self-pity or unnecessary stress.
Imagining all the written words in front of you helps in understanding them better. Visualization aids you in overcoming the limits of your comprehension skills. It also enhances your memory retention of the perceived information, giving you a deeper and long-lasting understanding of the text. As imagination has no limits or barriers, it frees you and your mind of your limitations holding you back and stopping you from understanding that mirage of diction. Reading books with illustrations further aids your imagination and help you recall things better after reading. Searching up images on the internet for something you don’t understand or vocabulary you’re not aware of is also helpful with reading comprehension.
Do the supplementary reading
If you’re reading a book or an article with a specific theme or your written material focuses on particular concepts, it is good to find easily understandable books, magazines, or interviews on those topics. Educational institutes often provide a list of supplementary reading in their annual courses. This list is based on books that revolve around the same topics as those of the books included in the study course. The wisdom behind having this list in the curriculum is none other than improving students’ comprehension skills. Let’s not limit this effective strategy within the walls of educational institutes and utilize it in our daily life to enhance our reading comprehension skills.
Discuss what you’ve read
The method of “verbal processing” is an excellent way of remembering the written material and thinking through its themes. Discuss what you’ve read with peers around you who have the same interests as you. This makes you further invested in the text, and you start looking forward to understanding it more as someone might raise a question you need to find an answer to. Looking for answers this way develops a better comprehension of the text. Moreover, readers can try retelling their versions of the text to ensure awareness of it as you can only retell something if you have some understanding of it.
Use the K-W-L process
Donna Ogle introduced a K-W-L chart in 1986 to improve reading comprehension. It has three necessary steps that you consider during reading.
- What I already know before reading a text.
- What I want to know during my reading session.
- What I learned after reading a text.
Before beginning your reading session, ask yourself what you already know about the content of the reading material. This can be written in the K column of the K-W-L charts. Then ask yourself what you want to learn from a text. What are your expectations regarding it and whether your prior knowledge of it is right or wrong? This has to be written in the W column of the K-W-L chart. After reading the text, ask yourself what you’ve learned from the text and how you can utilize this information in your upcoming reading sessions. How do you feel about it and, what effect this text had on you? Did the questions in the W column got answered after reading it or not? This information is jotted down in the L column of the K-W-L chart. Reviewing the entire text in this way keeps you engaged with it and ultimately enhances your comprehension of it.
Graphically organize the text
As discussed earlier, visualization is a useful technique for strengthening your comprehension skills. Graphically organizing the reading material takes this to the next level. Putting those graphical designers to use can improve the understanding of a text. Adorning a text with flowcharts, comparison tables, Venn diagrams, or tree diagrams accentuates the written material and provides a tangible representation to abstract ideas that are difficult to grasp. Tree diagrams can highlight hierarchies and categories. Tables and Venn diagrams are used for comparing and contrasting data. Flowcharts depict the steps of a specific process. All of these graphic aids guide readers into better comprehension.
Work on your vocabulary
If you find yourself stuck on every other word in the text you’re reading, it is an indication that you need to work on your vocabulary. Play vocabulary improving games or use diction flashcards whenever you come across difficult words in a text. Frequently review your collection of flashcards to retain those words in your memory for your upcoming reading sessions. Keeping a dictionary with you during your reading sessions also helps you to overcome the struggles that you face in understanding complex vocabulary.
Incorporate more reading into your daily routine
The more you read, the more fluent you become, and it ultimately enhances your reading comprehension skills. Reading more adds more words to your vocabulary bank, improves your vocabulary, and makes it easy for you to comprehend difficult texts over time. Incorporating more reading into your daily routine gradually builds a habit of reading. Eventually, you start feeling comfortable with this habit, and reading comprehension stops feeling like a task anymore. After all, practice does make an individual perfect!
Be patient with yourself =)
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