Why Reading Comprehension is The Most Important Critical Skill


A book is a wonderful work of human mind and hands. The achievements of modern science and technology, universal computerization shift the printed publications to the background. It’s possible to find any information you need on the Internet. However, in any case, you will be engaged in reading.

Why is reading important?

Through reading we learn the highest wisdom. The devoted reader is able to communicate with anyone. The erudite personalities inevitably rule over the uneducated people because they have a developed logical thinking.

The process of reading is wonderful itself. It is so pleasant to take a novel in hands in a quiet cozy environment and immerse ourselves in a world of adventure or fantasy. We let our soul rest, remove tension, distract from the daily worries.

Whether we read entertaining or scientific literature, it’s desirable to get the maximum of impressions and benefits from the information provided. Many people know how to read but it is hard for them to remember what exactly was described in the text. There may be several reasons for this. Perhaps a person exerts so much effort to pronounce words (aloud or in his own mind) that loses their meaning. In other cases, the topic is so uninteresting that it is difficult to concentrate on it.

Many children and adults experience serious difficulties with reading comprehension even if they have no problems with reading itself. This can greatly hamper studies, especially in high school, when the requirements for reading and understanding of large amounts of information increase significantly and the texts become more complex.

Even adults may have some difficulties with reading. In some cases, this is caused by learning disabilities or a lack of education. Injuries can also lead to difficulties with reading comprehension.

For example, you may have been struck on the head at work and suffered a traumatic brain injury. That makes focusing on the words and remembering what you read feel impossible. Reading for fun may be impossible now. Even reading the paperwork for your workers compensation lawyer can be difficult without help.

Metacognition (control of the thinking process) is the basis for building comprehension skills. In other words, we must deliberately stop during the reading and analyze our opinions, ideas and thoughts related to the text.

Let’s consider the best comprehension strategies for a better understanding of the printed material.

Before reading
1. Define the goal of the upcoming reading. Think in advance what you should find in the text.
2. Read the title and try to understand what the text might be about.
3. Look through the whole page without deepening into the meaning of the text, pay attention to the headings and subtitles, the words in bold and illustrations.
4. Try to remember what you already know about the topic, the author and this story.

While reading
1. Think about a sense of each paragraph or chapter.
2. Decide whether you agree with ideas, characters and facts.
3. If you do not understand the meaning of some sentences or paragraphs, write down the unclear words.

After reading
1. Think about what you learned and how the text relates to your own life.
2. Formulate a brief critical review paper.
3. Compile the questions to the author.
4. Look through your notes and try to find answers to your questions by reading again, searching on the Internet.

Talk about the text you read
Discussing the topic with another person provides the additional source of information instead of rereading the text. This is especially useful if you do not really like to read. You can ask questions during the conversation. This will allow to learn more about the point of view of other people. Also, tell about a gained knowledge in your own words to better understand and remember the key details.

Practice reading as often as possible
The best way to improve your reading comprehension is to read as much as possible. It does not matter what you read. In any case, understanding of the text will improve. That is why the primary task of teachers is to motivate children to read. If pupils like comics, sports articles or online magazines, they should be encouraged to read them as often as possible. Gradually the interest in scientific literature will increase too.

It is useful to take children to a library and let them touch and leaf through all books they want. Adults should not persuade kids to choose what they think is right. If a pupil liked a novel by some author, you need to find all his works. If a child is captivated by a certain topic, provide the material for reading in accordance with his interests.

Motivation for reading
The first task for an unmotivated reader is to search for information which is directly related to his life and hobbies. For example, if a kid is a movie lover, he might like to read reviews on the Internet or in magazines. You might think that it is not ‘real’ reading. Many people believe that it is possible to develop comprehension skills only with serious scientific books. In fact, this is not necessary, especially in the era of the Internet.

If children often read material on interesting topics, it will help them become better readers in general. After the motivation begins to form, pupils can start working with less entertaining books. If strategies for improving understanding have already been practiced on interesting texts, it will be easier to use them for boring topics.

Useful tips for improving reading comprehension

– We recommend you to try the following methods:
– Dialogue reading: ask questions, argue, clarify, summarize and predict in the course of reading.
– Use stickers to write unfamiliar words on them, to mark incomprehensible paragraphs and phrases you liked.
– Paired reading: pronounce the text of one paragraph by turns with another person. Discuss the content of each paragraph after reading.
– Thoughts aloud: during a paired reading, tell about all your opinions and questions. For example, if a character or event reminded you of something, stop and tell about this personal association.
Visualization: always try to imagine what described characters and scenes look like.
– While reading, write down the emerging thoughts in a special diary.
Graphic reporting: compile a table; mark in it the degree of its understanding before, during and after reading.

Now you know why the importance of reading comprehension is great. We hope that strategies described above will help you better understand and memorize the material being studied