Important Keys to Comprehensive Reading
Do you ever get the feeling that you're not really understanding what you're reading? In this article, you'll learn some important keys to comprehensive reading.
For a person who reads daily as a hobby, as well as for students at different school ages, it’s important to understand the content well and quickly. Enjoying reading and being able to learn involve understanding and connecting meaningfully with what you read. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of and apply the keys to comprehensive reading.
What does it mean to read comprehensively?
Comprehension refers to being able to perceive and have a clear idea of what we hear, read, or what’s going on around us. When we read, understanding means being able to discover and understand the deep meaning of the text and interpret all its content.
Thus, reading comprehensively refers to progressively accessing the meanings of a text. Advancing gradually from the simplest to the most complex, that is, from the most general ideas to the most specific.
When a person manages to read in a comprehensive way, he or she is able to establish an interactive relationship and dialogue with the text and its author. Furthermore, they’re able to use their previous knowledge to understand the message and the meanings that a text intends to convey.
Keys for comprehensive reading: Connect with what you read
In order to deeply understand a text, the first step is to connect with what you read. For this, a good predisposition toward the material is fundamental, using a series of suggestions or strategies that will help us achieve this connection. Thus, the keys to a comprehensive reading involve the following steps:
Get rid of all distraction and noise
When we get down to the task of reading, either for pleasure or because we have to study, we must get rid of any kind of distraction, such as television, music, cell phones, and the computer, in the case of a handwritten text. In addition, we can ask our family and friends for their cooperation, respecting our concentration when we get down to work.
Get a general idea of the text
Reading the introduction or the first pages of the text is very positive. This can help us to get a general idea of the topic or topics of our reading and how they’ll be treated, and then to go deeper into them. It’s also important, as you progress in reading the text, that you go back and reread paragraphs and lines when you’re not very clear about them.
Find an ideal corner for your comprehensive reading
Although it may not seem so, creating a pleasant atmosphere for a good reading session can make a significant difference. Looking for a comfortable place to sit or lie down when we read, and finding the right light and the right temperature are all important factors. This will help us not only to avoid distractions, but also to make our reading time a nice refuge.
Have a good dictionary handy
When we read any kind of text or when we study, it’s normal to come across words whose meaning we don’t know. Therefore, using a dictionary will help us to better understand the ideas of the text. Besides, mastering a good vocabulary will be necessary to understanding more and more complex texts.
Take time to read
When dealing with long or more difficult texts, in order to get hold of them and interpret them correctly, it’s important to pause throughout the reading or study. Thus, this will allow us to be more concentrated, more attentive, and, in addition, rest our eyes. Therefore, try to take short intervals of time and take advantage to drink water, eat something, or stretch your legs or back a little.
“I pause my reading to ask myself if I’m understanding.”
Help yourself with notes
For many people, taking notes or making notes, either on a separate sheet of paper or on the same pages you’re reading, is very good for reading comprehension. These notes can be clarifications, meanings of new words or more difficult ones.
You can even help yourself by writing your own explanations to certain parts of the text. For example, by relying on situations and examples that are close and familiar.
Most important key to a comprehensive reading: Connecting and imagining
Whether we study or read books for pleasure, the main key to understanding what a text wants to tell us is, for one, to search our memory for previous knowledge and connect it with new knowledge. We need to do this in such a way that the knowledge we already know will help us to better understand new information.
And, at the same time, to understand better when we read, the secret is to let our imagination fly, to let that new content that we access through our reading move us to other places and thus allow us to know and understand better other experiences and other people.