How to improve your reading skills

How to improve your reading skills

  • By Anna

Even if you read 7 books a week, it does not matter, unless you understand fully what you have read. Understanding what is written is called reading comprehension and it is one of the four skills you will come across doing your IELTS or OET exam.

To lift your spirit a little bit, I can say that very often even native speakers struggle with reading comprehension. It could be that your vocabulary requires work, it could be that the text is just so boring you cannot focus your attention on actually understanding it; it could also be that you are not familiar with certain grammatical forms so it makes it impossible for you to understand a particular sentence.

There are two main methods to improve your reading skills: intensive reading and extensive reading.

Read intensively if you want to practice the fundamentals and learn new vocabulary. This method will allow you to focus on the details of what you’re reading. When you are reading intensively, first thing you should always do is look for the gist of a text’s meaning. Do not worry about words you don’t really understand. As long as you get the general idea behind the discourse, you are fine. Later on, read the full text, preferably out loud, putting attention to the rhythm and pronunciation. As you go, underline words you do not understand and come back to them later. Then read the full text again and try to guess the meaning of the words you’ve underlined. If you can do that – awesome. If you can’t, then grab the dictionary and keep looking. After that you can make a list of words you want to learn for future reference, so you can remember them next time.
After that – repeat it with different texts. It is also helpful rereading things you’ve already read – it will build up your confidence and maybe let you notice something you haven’t noticed before.

Reading extensively is helpful if you want to learn how to understand the general meaning of a text quickly. This method focuses on the general picture; it’s great for studying a newspaper, a textbook or an assigned book for school. The first helpful practice to do while reading extensively is to take notes as you read: for example you can make bullet points to summarise every time you go to a major idea; underline key terms or dates in the text which you think are important for understanding a particular paragraph; note down questions you ask yourself while you are reading and not understand something. In the end, write a short summary of what you’ve read – this will help you grab the meaning of the text as well as practice writing in the meantime.

Remember, the key to improving is always practice. No matter the method, the more you read, the better you get.

Read intensively or extensively with us… Call 02036376722!

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