How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 16 Expert Strategies and Tips

man reading book

Despite the difficulty of mastering a second language, the benefits of learning English make it well worth the effort for many people. For anyone looking to learn English, learning how to improve reading comprehension skills can be an immensely rewarding experience. Reading comprehension strategies are the best place to start for any English student.

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England. English is today by far the most widely spoken language of the world, due largely to the economic, cultural, technological, and political power of the countries where it is spoken. It has an estimated 1.5 billion speakers globally.

In this blog, we will help you learn how to improve your reading comprehension skills so you can master learning the English language. This includes finding articles for English reading so you can learn from the comfort of your home. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to this valuable skill.

What Is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and integrate it with what the reader already knows. It is a complex cognitive process that requires the use of several skills including, but not limited to, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary. Teaching these skills to students can help them improve their reading comprehension. Many instructional strategies are effective in learning these skills including guided reading, jigsaw activities, and reciprocal teaching. It may also include simpler activities like reading English short stories.

Why are Reading Comprehension Skills Important?

Reading comprehension is a critical skill for success in school and the workplace. Good readers can understand and remember what they read, make inferences, and conclude. They are also able to appreciate the author’s style and point of view. Reading comprehension skills help to improve your overall reading speed and accuracy. They also allow you to better understand and retain what you read. Finally, they can help you to better analyze and interpret complex texts.

Two Core Components of Comprehension:

1. Vocabulary Knowledge

One of the best ways to improve reading comprehension is to increase your vocabulary knowledge. When you encounter a word you don’t know, take the time to look it up and learn its definition. Not only will this help you understand the text better, but it will also expand your general knowledge. In addition, try to memorize new words and use them in your own writing. This will help embed them in your memory and make them more accessible when you encounter them again in future reading. By increasing your vocabulary, you will learn how to get better at reading comprehension.

2. Text Comprehension

Text comprehension is how to understand what you read. For improving reading comprehension, it is important to first develop strong basic reading skills. It is the ability to identify the main idea of the text and make sure to keep this in mind while reading. Once basic skills such as phonemic awareness and fluency have been established, readers can move on to more complex strategies such as making inferences and recognizing vocabulary in context.

Reading English Books

Strategies to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

Learn new words to improve your vocabulary

Learning new words is one of the most effective ways to improve your reading comprehension. When you encounter a word you don’t know, take the time to look it up in a dictionary and try to use it in a sentence. This will help you to remember the definition and make it more likely that you’ll be able to use the word correctly in the future. Another good way to learn new words is to keep a notebook handy when you’re reading. Whenever you come across a word you don’t know, jot it down and look it up later. You can also try using flashcards or apps to help you memorize new vocabulary.

Ask yourself questions about the text you’re reading

How do you improve reading comprehension? Ask yourself questions about the text you’re reading. This can help you to better engage with the material and to understand what is being discussed. There are a few different ways to do this. First, you can ask yourself factual questions about the text. What is the author discussing? What are the main points of the argument? Second, you can ask yourself interpretive questions. What does the author mean by this? What are the implications of this claim? Finally, you can ask yourself evaluative questions. Do I agree with the author? Why or why not? Asking yourself these types of questions can help you to get more out of your reading and to better understand what you’re reading.

Use context clues to help you understand

When you encounter an unknown word while reading, it can be difficult to figure out the meaning based on the context of the sentence. However, there are some strategies you can use to try to determine the meaning of the word. First, look for words that are similar in meaning to the unknown word. This can give you a general idea of the word’s meaning. Secondly, look at the surrounding sentences to see if there are any clues about the unknown word’s meaning. Finally, if you still cannot determine the meaning of the word, consult a dictionary or other reference material.

Look for the main point of the text

You must do which of the following to increase your reading comprehension. The next time you’re reading something, take a step back every few paragraphs and ask yourself what the author is trying to say. What is the overall point of this section? Once you’ve identified the main idea, you’ll be able to better follow the argument and better understand the individual details. With practice, you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier to find the central theme of any text.

Identify and summarize key ideas

Once you have a good understanding of the overall argument or narrative, it is helpful to write a summary of the main ideas. When summarizing key ideas, it is important to be concise and focus on the most essential information. Try to use your own words as much as possible, and avoid simply copying passages. If you can identify and summarize the key ideas in a text, you will be well on your way to becoming a more efficient and effective reader.

Divide the reading into smaller sections

This can be done by identifying key points or ideas in the text and then breaking the text down into manageable chunks. For example, if you are reading a chapter in a book, you could divide the chapter into smaller sections by paragraphs or even sentences. By doing this, you will be able to focus on one section at a time and better absorb the information. Additionally, you can also re-read sections that you struggle with or didn’t understand the first time around.

Don’t rush through it, improving comprehension takes a focused reading.

When readers go too fast, they are more likely to miss important details or information. Instead, it is important to know how to read for comprehension by focusing on the text to give it the attention it deserves. This means taking the time to read each sentence slowly and carefully. If something is not understood, rereading the section or looking up words in a dictionary can be helpful. Additionally, it can be helpful to take breaks while reading, as this allows the mind to process the information before moving on.

Reread text to ensure understanding

Several strategies can be used to learn how to read with understanding. One of the most effective is rereading the text. Rereading allows readers to process the information more slowly and thoroughly, which can help to improve understanding. Additionally, rereading can help to clarify any confusing or difficult passages.

Read a book below your reading level

Another way to learn how to comprehend what you read is by reading books that are below your reading level. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can be quite effective. By reading material that is easier to understand, you can gradually improve your comprehension skills and eventually be able to read more challenging texts. Additionally, you may find that you enjoy the process of reading more when you’re not struggling to understand the material.

Read out Loud

It is important to use different inflections and intonations to convey the meaning of the text. This will help to improve reading comprehension for both the reader and the listener. In addition, it is important to enunciate words at a consistent pace. This will help the listener to follow along and understand what is being said. Finally, it is important to use proper pauses and emphasis when reading out loud. This will help to add emphasis to important points and clarify the meaning of the text.

Try making inferences

When making an inference, readers use clues from the text, their own background knowledge, and their own experiences to fill in the gaps. For example, if a character in a book is described as being “lonely and withdrawn,” readers can infer that the character is shy. To improve your ability to make inferences, pay attention to the details in the text and ask yourself how they contribute to the overall meaning. In addition, try to come up with several possible interpretations for each piece of evidence.

Encourage reciprocal teaching

Reciprocal teaching is a reading process that can be used to improve reading speed. It involves four main steps: predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing. First, students predict what they think the text will be about based on the title and any illustrations. Next, they read the text and clarify any words or concepts that they do not understand. Then, they generate questions about the text. Finally, they summarize the main idea of the text.

Create question and answer scenarios

To create a question and answer scenario, simply choose a section of text and formulate a series of questions about it. The answers to these questions can be found by re-reading the text or by doing additional research. Question and answer scenarios are a great way to improve comprehension and recall of information.

Implement thinking strategies

A useful thinking strategy is known as PQ4R, which stands for preview, question, read, reflect, repeat. To use this strategy, start by previewing the text to get an idea of its content. Next, generate questions about what you will be reading. Then, read the text and answer the questions. Take time to reflect on what you have read and how it relates to your existing knowledge. Finally, repeat the process by rereading the text and generating new questions.

Use visual aids

Visual aids are tools that help learners see what they are supposed to be learning. They can be used to supplement or replace traditional textbooks, lectures, and other instructional materials. When used effectively, visual aids can capture students’ attention, clarify difficult concepts, increase reading speed, and promote active learning.

Use online resources

If you’re having reading difficulties, one way to increase reading comprehension is to practice with online resources. LillyPad offers a variety of reading comprehension exercises that can help improve your skills. LillyPad offers a variety of exercises and activities designed to improve readers’ ability to process and understand the text. So if you’re serious about improving your reading comprehension, be sure to give LillyPad a try.

books reading app


In conclusion, this blog has given you a comprehensive list of tips for reading practice to improve your literacy level. While some of the tips may seem obvious, it is important to keep all of them in mind when reading. By taking the time to carefully read and process what you are reading, you will see a significant improvement in your comprehension skills. In addition, it is also important to practice active listening and to ask questions when you are unsure about something. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to becoming a better reader. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you improve your comprehension skills?

Although some people may think that comprehension skills are static and cannot be improved, there are actually a number of strategies that can help learners to become more proficient readers and listeners. By taking the time to process and reflect on the meaning of a text, comprehension skills can be greatly improved.

What is the best way to boost reading comprehension?

There are a number of strategies that can be effective in boosting comprehension. One such strategy is known as SQ3R, which stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. To use this strategy, first, survey the text to get an overview of the contents. Next, generate questions about the text. As you read, keep those questions in mind and look for answers. After finishing the reading, recite the main points aloud or in your head. Finally, review the material by doing a brief summary or practicing a related activity.

How can students improve their reading comprehension skill?

One effective strategy is to read actively, which means engaging with the text as you read. This means highlighting or underlining key points, making notes in the margins, and asking yourself questions about the text. Another helpful strategy is to identify the main idea of each paragraph and make sure you understand how it relates to the overall theme of the text. Finally, it can be helpful to summarize what you have read after you finish, either in your own words or by using a graphic organizer. 

Why do students struggle with reading?

Many students struggle with reading for a variety of reasons. Some may have difficulty decoding words, while others may have trouble understanding the meaning of what they read. Additionally, some students may be disengaged from the material, causing them to lose focus and drift off. However, the most common reason why students struggle with reading is that they do not have adequate practice.

What are the causes of poor reading comprehension?

Poor reading comprehension can have a number of causes. One common cause is a lack of background knowledge. If a reader does not have prior experience with the topic or subject matter, they will likely have difficulty understanding the text. Another cause of poor reading comprehension can be weak reading skills. This might include struggles with phonemic awareness, decoding, or fluency. 

Why can’t I comprehend what I read?

A common complaint among readers is that they can read the words on the page, but they don’t understand what they’re reading. There can be a number of reasons for this. First, it’s important to make sure you are reading material that is at an appropriate level. If you’re struggling to understand what you’re reading, it may be because the material is too challenging. In this case, try looking for a simpler book or article on the same topic. Additionally, comprehension difficulties can also be due to inattention or fatigue. If you find yourself losing focus while you’re reading, try taking a break or coming back to the text later. 

How to improve reading comprehension in adults?

There are a few key strategies that can help individuals improve their reading comprehension skills. Firstly, it is important to read actively rather than passively. This means reading with purpose and paying attention to the text. Secondly, it is necessary to make connections while reading, whether they be personal, textual, or between different concepts. Thirdly, it can be helpful to take notes or highlight important information as you read. Finally, it is essential to practice regularly to maintain and improve reading comprehension skills.

How to improve reading comprehension in elementary school?

Unfortunately, many elementary school students struggle with reading comprehension. Several strategies can be used to help improve reading comprehension in elementary school students. One common approach is to have students read aloud regularly. This allows them to practice pronouncing words correctly and to develop a better understanding of the text. 

How to improve reading comprehension in middle school?

When it comes to reading comprehension, middle school students face a unique set of challenges. They are no longer beginners, but they are not yet experts. As a result, they may struggle with texts that are too difficult or too easy. However, there are many strategies that middle school teachers can use to help their students improve their reading comprehension. Among other things, they can provide support in the form of pre-reading activities, encourage student-led discussions, and model active reading techniques. By using these and other strategies, middle school teachers can help their students become more proficient readers.

How to improve reading comprehension in high school?

A useful strategy is known as KWL, which stands for what I know, what I want to know, and what I learned. This strategy helps students focus their attention on the most important aspects of the text. Finally, taking time to discuss the text with others can also help improve comprehension. By engaging in thoughtful discussion, students can clarify their understanding of the material and identify any gaps in their knowledge.

Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

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