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Improving Reading Skills

Getting More from What You Read

A good reader does as many of the following as possible:

  • Seizes the main ideas
  • Thinks about what the author is saying
  • Is active not passive
  • Concentrates on what is being read
  • Remembers as much as possible
  • Applies what is being read to personal experience

Think about the subject you are going to read about.

  • What do you know about this subject?
  • What do you want to learn about this subject?
  • After you read, what have you learned about this subject?

Skim the section you are going to read.

  • Do you see anything familiar?
  • Do you see anything new?
  • What is your overall impression?

Read for comprehension - Make a note of important parts.

  • Use a post-it note or an index card and write down important main ideas and vocabulary. This will help you review what you have read.
  • Stop and re-read ideas that you are not sure you understand.
  • Think of where else you might find more information about he same topic. "I bet there would be something in my history book about this, too."

Recall to yourself what you have just read

  • Stop occasionally as you are reading and put into your own words what you have just read.
  • At the end of a chapter, recall what the main points were.
  • Discuss what you have read with another student or with your teacher. This will help you clarify your thinking.

More Details


  • Read the Title and Author of the text.
  • When was it published?
  • Read the Table of Contents.
    • How many chapters are there?
    • How many pages are in the whole book?
    • What chapter or chapters look the most interesting?
  • Thumb through the book.
    • Are there pictures, graphs, maps, charts, and illustrations?
  • What impression do you have about the text?
  • After you have done all the above, go back and do it again in a more detailed way.

Print this page and refer to it often!

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