How do I improve my reading comprehension in English?
Reading short one page articles on the internet are not of any use for developing reading skills. As others have added already, the more you read the better you get. Don’t focus on individual words but rather the pargraphs as a whole. You might not know the word’s meaning but the context will help. I learnt many phrases, words etc just by the context.
Read a wide variety of styles and subject matter.
Variety is the spice of life, as the old saying goes. It’s also the spice of understandability. Reading different kinds of writing styles and subject matter helps to extend your ‘range’ — your knowledge and familiarity of the different ‘textures’ of operation of the English language. So read beyond your textbooks and set materials. There are no shortcuts to this.
Here are my seven strategies for reading improvement.
1. Read about things that interest you. If you are interested in what you are reading about, the words will come alive, and you will be motivated to understand. You will feel satisfaction in accomplishing a task that you enjoy, and which you consider meaningful.
2. Read material that is at your level, or just a little difficult for you. Looking up many unknown words in a conventional dictionary is tedious, and the results of the dictionary search quickly forgotten. It is better to stay within your comfort zone and keep reading. Soon you will be able to take on more difficult content.
3. Learn to read in depth, stay on the same subject for a while. If you are familiar with the subject you are reading about, you will understand better. If the subject matter is new to you, you should even try to read a few different books or articles about the same subject, before you move on. This way you will meet the same vocabulary and ideas often, helping you to learn. You will also be able to get deeper into the subject and your reading confidence will grow.
4. If you have trouble reading, listen first. Many great works of literature were written to be read out loud. Learn to appreciate the art of the narrator. Listen to audio books or audio files of the material that you are reading. This will help make difficult content seem more familiar. Hearing the rhythm of someone reading a text will help your own reading.
5. Let your imagination get involved. Good readers get engrossed in their reading and let it trigger their imagination. Learn to enjoy your reading without asking too many questions or analyzing too much. It will just spoil the sensual enjoyment of the reading experience. You do not need to predict or analyze. Just enjoy and look forward to absorbing the information, ideas and thoughts expressed by the writer.
6. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand. Most of your reading should be for pleasure. You can enjoy reading without understanding all of what you read. You may even understand some things in your own personal way.
7. Recognize that the key is to read a lot. You may develop a system for keeping track of new words that you encounter in your reading. However, the main growth in your vocabulary and reading skill will come just from reading as much as you can. So learn to enjoy reading and read a lot. Keep reading, and you will become a better reader.
Unfortunately not all reading is just for pleasure. When you are reading a textbook or manual, or report or other material that have to read for school or work, you may need to underline, take notes, and read some parts over again, in order to retain what you are reading. However, if you have developed the habit of reading for pleasure, you will find that the cognitive techniques you need will come naturally, and that you will understand a lot better than before.