Top 6 Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Improving the quality of our reading sessions and our performance is a common goal for most readers out there. We are constantly struggling to get as much reading done as possible and to extract maximum value from the little time we can afford to spend reading every day. Our levels of comprehension and information retention are generally the most relevant factors we tend to try to improve constantly. And it makes sense. 

Given how little free time we have, it’s easy to understand why reading comprehension strategies have become a necessity for those of us who don’t want to settle for a medium-quality reading session. 

Here at Basmo, we are all for helping you improve as a reader, regardless of what that actually means to you. That is why we did some research and we found some of the best reading strategies to improve comprehension, so you can take full advantage of the time you manage to spend reading.

What is a reading strategy?

A reading strategy is a rather broad and vague term used to describe a planned series of actions with a clear intent to extract more value than usual from a reading session. A reading strategy can refer to different things, from the sole intent of successfully decoding and understanding written text, to maximizing comprehension and retention levels. 

So what are reading strategies? They are the tools used by efficient readers or readers who want to become efficient. Different reading techniques yield different results and the strategy used by each reader can influence the reading speed, comprehension, retention, or other aspects of the performance.

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What are the reading comprehension strategies?

Let’s learn what the best reading comprehension strategies are and what steps are actually involved in using one of these strategies. 

1. Previewing

While this process may be different from one person to another depending on age, reading level, and purpose of the reading session, the preview-ing stage involves doing a little association between the book at hand and the knowledge the reader already has. 

Finding out what a book is about and making the mental effort to place it in a certain relationship with what you already know about the author or the actual theme of the book can be one of the most eloquent of any of the reading strategies examples. 

2. Predicting

As the name of this stage clearly suggests, this stage of improving reading comprehension involves taking a couple of minutes to try and predict what the book is going to be like. Trying to figure out how the action of a book is going to evolve, what the main characters are going to do next, or what pieces of information the author is going to reveal in the upcoming pages will force you make associations with things you’ve read before and will have a positive effect on your level of interest and focus. After all, you will want to find out if you were right. 

3. Identifying the main ideas

The process of trying to identify the main ideas and themes is going to force you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You will need to mentally summarize the text you are reading and to actually identify the most important pieces of information. You will need to try and understand the text in more depth by actually thinking about what the author is trying to achieve through that particular text.

4. Questioning

Asking questions while reading and trying to figure out the answers is a hugely important part of reading with a clear intent to comprehend. This puts you in a mental state of curiosity, making your active reading session a lot more interesting and rewarding. This also gives your reading session a subtle new purpose, because your questions can only be answered if you read and understand the text completely.

5. Making inferences

Drawing conclusions based on what you just read triggers a mental process that involves both a good understanding of the text at hand, but also tapping into your previously acquired knowledge and making revealing connections. 

6. Visualizing 

Trying to visualize what you are reading activates a different part of the brain. This means that the mental process is more complex and that it involves a lot more fire power. The more complex the mental process is, the more likely you are to better understand and better remember what you read. Try to constantly turn the text you are reading into mental images. That will give you a much needed boost. 

Which strategy is most likely to improve a student’s reading comprehension?

Questioning, or leveled questioning is believed to have the most powerful effect on a student’s ability to understand the concepts in the book they are reading. It involves a complex mental process which focuses both on the text at hand and on priorly acquired knowledge. By going through this questioning strategy, students have a bigger chance to understand the main ideas of the text, comprehend new concepts, and retain more information.

How do reading strategies help students?

Reading comprehension strategies have a certain value to every single reader out there. But those who seem to benefit from them the most are usually students. That’s because they are the segment of the population who are supposed to the most learning within the shortest timeframes.

They need to constantly perform and they generally face quite fierce competition throughout school years. Reading strategies, whether they are meant to improve their level of comprehension, their speed, or their information retention abilities, can have a hugely positive effect on students’ performance. 

Using the right strategy while reading and learning can significantly decrease the amount of time a student needs to spend in order to understand new concepts or remember significant volumes of information. Needless to say, when you are studying different disciplines and you are supposed to have passing grades at the end of the year in all of them, reading and learning speeds are quite significant.

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Why are reading strategies important?

Effective reading strategies come in many different shapes and forms. Choosing the right one for you is a simple matter of realizing exactly what you need to improve and what your ultimate goal as a reader is. 

There are many different strategies you can choose from, whether you want to be able to better understand texts on your first read, improve your reading speed, or figure out a way to remember more information while reading. Obviously, even though each reading strategy has a clear purpose that differs from other strategies, there are certain benefits they all have in common. 

Here are some of the most relevant and important reasons why you should implement strategies into your reading habits.

1. They keep you grounded and focused

As I mentioned, different reading strategies bring different results. One thing they have in common is that beyond the actual improvements they will bring to your reading experience and performance, they will promote a certain mindset throughout each reading session.

Purposefully using a particular reading strategy implies a clear intent on your part. The fact that you chose to use a reading strategy shows a clear purpose and a certain level of dedication to improving your performance. 

This can only mean that while you read using a certain strategy, you are quite unlikely to slip into passive reading or lose focus. This will lead to better comprehension and a lot more value from the time you spend reading.

2. They help you improve

The most obvious benefit you will enjoy while using reading strategies is that they will help you achieve what you want to achieve. Whether you want to read quicker, have a better level of comprehension, or simply remember more details from what you read on your first go, there is a good strategy out there. 

Reading strategies serve a clear purpose and they are extremely effective in helping you reach new levels of performance. 

3. Reading strategies will give you purpose

Using a reading comprehension strategy or anything else you might choose from the reading strategies list will put you in a completely different mindset while reading. On top of the obvious goal of getting some reading done, you will always have another higher purpose in mind, which will enhance your focus and your level of dedication. 

4. Reading strategies help you develop your mental abilities

Reading is a pretty complex activity for your brain. The fact that reading has a ton of benefits for your brain, mental health, and mental abilities is already common knowledge. Adding a completely new layer of complexity to an already challenging activity can only be a huge improvement in terms of the effects it has on your brain.

Applying reading strategies will have a positive effect on your ability to think analytically, it will develop your brain further than a regular reading session would, and will keep you actively involved in your reading for longer. 

5. Using strategies promotes mindful reading

Reading with a clear intent to understand or remember more of what you read using a particular strategy to do so will force you to always be in the moment, connected to what you are reading and to your level of performance. This process promotes a certain level of mindfulness that becomes a part of your reading habits.

Mindful reading is not only beneficial for your reading habits. Once you get the hang of this rather amazing philosophy, you will start applying to different aspects of your life either intentionally or subconsciously. Regardless of the reading strategy you choose to apply and the nature of the ultimate goal of your reading session, the added layer of involvement and intent is going to change the way you behave and treat reading as an activity.

How to use reading comprehension strategies more effectively 

Reading comprehension is one of the most important aspects you should be looking into when trying to become a better reader. Learning to improve reading comprehension can have a very significant effect on the result of each individual reading session you go through and will get you closer to your goal of becoming the ultimate reader a lot quicker. 

The best way to start your journey would be downloading and installing Basmo on your mobile device. Our reading tracking app comes feature-packed to the brim and has a multitude of ways in which it can help you improve as a reader. Here’s how Basmo can completely change your reading experience for the better and how it can help you implement reading comprehension strategies into your reading habits.

Basmo helps you be more organized. Being well-organized is key when it comes to applying reading strategies. That’s because they require a certain amount of effort and unless you time and schedule your sessions properly you are quite likely to soon feel overwhelmed and burnt out.

With Basmo, you can easily create a reading schedule that works well for you. The app comes prepared to accommodate you with a highly customizable scheduling wizard that allows you to select the exact days of the week when you want to read and even different times of day for each session.

That way you can easily integrate reading and applying the desired comprehension strategies into your daily routine. Moreover, the app will also use your device’s notifications to remind you of any upcoming reading sessions.

Basmo allows you to take notes, annotate, and keep a reading journal. Using any reading strategy implies the fact that you will be involved in an active reading process. That means you will need to take notes, annotate or highlight parts of the books you’ll be reading, and probably keep a reading journal

With Basmo, doing all these things is a lot easier than you might expect. Any reading session that is started within the app automatically activates the note-taking feature, which will be readily available whenever you will want to start writing things down.

Annotating or highlighting can be done with Basmo without doing your books any damage. That is because of the scanning feature of the app which allows you to use your smart device’s camera to scan the pages of the book that contain the most relevant information and you can then either use them as photos and do your annotating or highlighting, or you can even extract the text and save it as quotes or notes.

Keeping a reading journal is also facile and rewarding. You will be able to use the journaling feature from Basmo to jot down your thoughts or track your progress with certain reading strategies.

Final thoughts on reading comprehension strategies

Using reading strategies to improve comprehension is not only facile, but sometimes absolutely necessary. Use Basmo to get all the help you need throughout this process and gain a new level of understanding and appreciation for the books you are reading, regardless of your ultimate goals as a reader.

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