Reading comprehension skills demonstrate the ability to accurately interpret and analyze written information.
You need well developed reading skills for the GED test and college entrance tests, but they are very helpful in the workplace as well. They play a role in an employee’s ability to understand what his or her coworkers, supervisors, or clients are trying to communicate.
Beyond the ability to read and comprehend information, reading comprehension skills are indicative of an applicant’s overall communication skills, attention to detail, critical thinking, and general aptitude.
Here are 7 strategies to help you improve your reading comprehension skills contributed by our communications instructor Jen Tan:
Highlight or underline key words
An important part of skimming the passage is underlining keywords. While you are reading the passage, you can identify important keywords in the paragraphs that will also help you to understand the given information better. Some keywords that can be underlined are names,dates locations, facts, figures etc.
Read aloud (verbal/auditory reinforcement)
If you are an auditory learner, reading aloud will help the material to sink in and become ingrained, making it easier to draw on the information you’ve just ingested for when you need to reference it in the future.
Build your vocabulary
Low vocabulary skills and low reading comprehension skills usually go hand-in-hand. Learn a word a day, make a dictionary your best friend, keep a journal of new words you’ve learned.
Read for general meaning/understanding
Skimming is a reading method in which you focus on the main ideas. Instead of closely reading every word, focus on the introduction, chapter summaries, first and last sentences of paragraphs, bold words, and text features. You’re looking for the main message rather than the details.
Read critically and use inferencing skills to read for hidden meaning or to read between the lines
Writers don’t always explain everything to the reader. Inferencing is the ability to draw conclusions without information directly spelled out. For example, if someone slams a door, you might infer that the person was angry.
Look for organizational cues (italics, spacing, etc.) to read more accurately
Organizational and font patterns can be very useful to grasp and interpret meaning in a passage. Italics, for example, show emphasis and indicate that it’s probably something to pay extra attention to. Spacing is an important visual design tool that can help you visually determine which items are grouped together and which ones may be unrelated in a passage.
Pay attention to punctuation cues so reading becomes “alive”
Exclamation marks, question marks, and even quotation marks lend emotion and intention in a passage. For example, in a fiction piece, quotation marks around a particular word or phrase used by a character may imply sarcasm. Punctuation marks have the ability to make you feel as though you can hear the words or the conversation in a piece of writing.
If you’d like to improve your reading comprehension skills for goals such as employment, apprenticeship, or college entrance, check out our programs and services that can help you!