How To Improve Reading Comprehension

“Reading” may not be one of your hobbies, but it is an important skill to grow. Therefore, even if you get scared or bored by looking at the long black text, somehow you have to develop a knack for effective reading. 

 The more you read and practise, the easier it will be for you to comprehend what you are reading. Here are the seven straightforward techniques to improve your comprehension abilities:

1. Increase vocabulary power

When you understand the meaning of the words you read, it can be easier for you to grasp the author’s perspective. You can improve your vocabulary by developing a habit of active reading. You can mark the difficult words and phrases that you come across while reading and search for their meaning in the dictionary. Once you understand the meaning of words, use it in your own language and try to use it in different contexts. This will aid in your long-term retention of those words.

2. Ask questions regarding the text you are reading

As you become more immersed in the text, asking questions about what you are reading can help you become a better reader. In order to gain a deeper understanding of what you are reading, consider themes, motifs, and other aspects of the text that you may have overlooked.

You can ask yourself the following questions as you read:

  • Why did the author choose to start the book that way?
  • What sort of bond do these two characters have?
  • What do we now know about the protagonist of the story?
  • Are there any recurring themes throughout the book? If so, what do they mean?

3. Make use of situational cues

Even if you are unfamiliar with all the words being used, using context clues can really help you grasp what you are reading. The words and sentences that precede and follow the unfamiliar word can provide context cues. By concentrating on the major words or concepts in a sentence, you can use context clues to infer the sentence or paragraph’s core theme. Additionally, you can search for neighboring terms that are either synonyms or antonyms of the unknown word.

4. Identify the core idea

You can evaluate the relevance of an article by finding the main idea in a paragraph. Understanding the significance of what you’re reading may help you better understand the author’s perspective. After reading every paragraph, stop reading and try to figure out what the major point is. Then, for even better understanding, try to rephrase the primary idea in your own words.

5. Summarize the information you read

Writing a summary is a foolproof method to learn more about what you have read. In order to summarize, you must first determine what is crucial in the text and then express it in your own terms. Summarizing enables you to assess your comprehension of the text and improves your long-term retention of what you have read.

Having a tough time practicing SAT History passages? Here’s how we can help…

The SAT Reading section is something that stumps even the most diligent of students, especially students who have not studied in the American system. History passages are tough to crack, often featuring unfamiliar events and abstruse (difficult) language. As an Indian student, it is highly unlikely that you would be acquainted with momentous occasions in American history. In addition to that, the language can seem alien, especially if you don’t read widely. Hence, simply solving passages is not enough. You must dive – not deeply, but cursorily and swim widely – into the realm of US history. Having a general understanding of such events will enable you to grasp the context with ease. But where should you start? Which sources are the most reliable? Which content is the easiest to consume? Being mindful of the extremely hectic schedule that most students have to adhere to, we have compiled a list of the most important topics.

The Best Sources

Learning about US history has never been simpler (easier). No longer do you need to browse through numerous books – everything you need is in that wonderful rectangle in your pocket! There are several YouTube channels that fit the bill. However, there are two channels that stand out: Crash Course and Oversimplified. Crash Course has various series of videos that explain the most important parts of American history in a sequential way. On the other hand, Oversimplified has videos about individual events but they give the viewer a pretty thorough idea about each topic. So if you have a couple of months, we recommend that you watch these series in their entirety: Crash Course US History, Oversimplified – World Wars and Revolutions. If you’re short on time, watching the following videos will give you a basic idea that will be sufficient for the SATs.

These videos have not only easily accessible knowledge but also great language. So, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Additionally, they have great animations which make these videos a joy to watch. Have fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eytc9ZaNWyc&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtMwmepBjTSG593eG7ObzO7s&index=7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EiSymRrKI4&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtMwmepBjTSG593eG7ObzO7s&index=8

Ace the SAT Reading with these websites

Most SAT passages are manageable; the language is modern and direct. However, we also have to tackle passages with pretty complex – at times downright convoluted – framing. In addition to this, most international students don’t have the same exposure to American history and literature that students from the USA have. Now, if you’re ambitious and determined, you may do the most logical thing: start reading content that will help you with such reading passages. But where should you begin? When you search for SAT reading sources, you get super long lists, which, frankly speaking, are overwhelming as well as unrealistic. You don’t have the time to read everything. In fact, many students simply give up on such passages due to frustration. But despair not, for there is another way. We’ve curated a list of the top five sources (topic-specific) for improving your reading for the SAT.

Science

Let’s start with the easiest. SAT passages based on science are the simplest to process. So, if you’re just starting out on your reading journey, begin here.

Easy-to-understand science articles

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine

https://www.scientificamerican.com/

Humanities

Passages based on psychology, economics, socio-cultural phenomena, etc., are simple enough to read but sometimes the ideas may be unfamiliar or complex. You can gain confidence regarding these themes by reading from the following sources.

https://www.aldaily.com/ This website gives you free access to thousands of articles. It’s a great resource to practice reading advanced language.

https://www.nytimes.com/ This is a great source for modern opinion pieces on a wide range of topics.

History

History passages are usually the most challenging as the context is unfamiliar and usually the language is difficult as some passages are extracts from texts written around 200 years ago. The easiest solution to this problem is to watch the Crash Course series on YouTube. Not only will this give you a great overview of history but it will also help you improve your language in general.

History explained in an engaging way with SAT vocabulary  

Crash Course US History

Crash Course World History

Watch this space for more tips!

Coming up…

Which historical incidents are a must-know for SAT?

Sources you should read for SAT Literature passages.