Whether you are a business owner or any other player in the corporate world, you need to read every now and them. From company report sheets and documents to industry reports and magazines, and from newspapers to business proposals, you need to comprehend and understand whatever you read for you to get the right message from it and take the right action afterwards.
So, having good reading and comprehension skills can make the difference between someone who makes the right judgment or takes the right actions and someone who doesn’t. How can you improve your reading and comprehension skills? These 10 tips will help you achieve that.
10 Best Ways to Improve Reading and Comprehension Skills Fast
1. Eliminate distractions
This is the first golden rule of effective reading and comprehension. You won’t be able to comprehend whatever you read while sitting right in front of the TV and taking glances at the screen once in every two to three minutes. Similarly, you won’t concentrate on your reading when using your smartphone to chat with a friend. Your environment matters a lot when it comes to reading and comprehension; you will read faster and comprehend much better by reading in a place with zero distractions.
2. Don’t read at a time meant for something else
For fast reading and maximal comprehension, always read at a time when all you have to do is the reading itself. You won’t concentrate on your reading when you are trying to read at the time for lunch, when you are hungry. Similarly, if you try to read at a time when you are supposed to be somewhere else, your mind won’t be in what you are reading.
3. Take notes
There are times when you need to put down what you have read in your own words for better comprehension. So, if your goal is really to comprehend any piece your read, get your pen and paper by your side and write down any important detail you come across while reading. Although this might slow down your reading time, it will aid your comprehension, which is more important than your speed.
4. Read difficult lines over and over
If it’s not your habit to go over some lines more than once while reading, then some parts of whatever you read will remain unclear to you most of the time. Some lines and sentences are just complex, only few people can understand them at once.
Similarly, some books and documents (such as legal agreements) are written in sophisticated grammar that takes multiple reading to understand. When you are reading such lines, you have to read them for as many times as you need to comprehend them. It doesn’t hurt.
5. Read introductions first
If you are the type of person that jumps straight to the main substance of any piece of reading, then you won’t comprehend what you read at times. There are times when you have to read the introduction part of a book, report, or document to understand the rest of its content. Reading introductions helps you understand why the piece was written in the first place and what it entails, so you don’t have to ask any questions while reading the main content.
6. Read carefully
Most people don’t understand what they read until after reading the same piece twice or thrice. And that’s because they “scan” pages rather than taking the time to read them. Though scanning might seem like a fast way to read, it’s not—because you will have to spend even more time reading the whole piece again in order to understand it. So, the best way to read is to read slowly and carefully. This way, you will understand every word without having to go over the whole thing again.
7. Read out aloud when necessary
Reading aloud to yourself aids comprehension, especially when you are reading sentences that seem too boring or difficult to comprehend. By reading aloud, you engage not just your eyes, but also your ears. Of course, it is expected that two senses will help you comprehend better than one will.
8. Use a dictionary always
You can easily misconceive a sentence or even a whole piece of writing if you don’t take your time to find out the correct meaning of words that are unclear to you. So, before starting to read anything important, try to have your dictionary by your side. Better yet, you can use a dictionary app on your smartphone or tablet.
9. Memorize important parts-: If you are reading some information that you will be required to reproduce later, such as reading for a professional examination, you will need to memorize some parts of what you read. Memorizing aids comprehension.
10. Test yourself after reading
Testing yourself after reading is a smart way to assess how well you comprehended what you read. After your reading session, quiz yourself on the main points. Ask important questions about the main idea of the piece you read. Ask yourself what you learned from the piece. And try to see if you can reproduce the major points you learned.