How To Improve Reading Skills In 10 Easy Steps


Many of us have been reading since we were little grasshoppers in kindergarten or first grade. It is drilled into us from the start how important reading is and that much of our success later in life is going to depend on this one essential skill.

So, of course, we spend much of our fledgling years in school fine tuning our reading abilities.

That said, there’s not a ton of focus spent on further developing our reading skills once we’ve managed to get the basics down. And if you’re not good at reading, you’re generally out of luck.

For some, the shove into full-fledged reader-dom is a weird, awkward transition, and because it can be embarrassing, it’s easy for these folks to get left behind.

Plus, you don’t need to be a struggling reader to want to improve your reading repretoire. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read faster or understand things better? I know I would!

So, we wanted to take some time to review a few awesome techniques you can use at any stage to boost your reading skills. Check it out.

Wondering How to Improve Reading Skills? Follow These Steps…

1. Read stuff you find interesting.

How to Improve Reading SkillsOne of the best ways to engage in what you’re reading is to just read stuff you want to read instead of reading stuff you think you should be reading. It’s much, much easier to read something that tickles your funny bone or that relates to your own interests that it is to, say, read an 18th century romance novel (unless, of course, you really dig 18th century romance novels).

The idea is simple: people put more effort into stuff they find fun. So, try books (or whatever) that you really enjoy, and don’t feel obligated to read stuff you don’t. You’ll keep your momentum and improve your skills with each one you pick up!

2. Read on your level. 

It’s okay to read on your reading level. Figure out what it is, and start there. If you haven’t read a ton, go with something more comfortable. If you’re a total word-nerd, feel free to challenge yourself.

In other words, take the Goldilocks approach to what you’re going to read: read stuff that’s just right for you–whatever that means. Find something interesting to read that is just right, which means not too easy and just challenging enough to give your reading muscle a proper work out.

3. Read about stuff you already know a lot about. 

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with tip number one. It’s easier to step up your reading game when you know a good deal about the subject since it makes it a bit easier to really comprehend what it is that you’re reading. Take advantage of this by finding a subject you can really sink your teeth into and stay there for a while.

One idea is to pick one of your hobbies and go grab a bunch of books about it. It’s also a good idea to keep a highlighter and dictionary handy to mark stuff you find interesting or want to come back to.

4. Try listening instead of reading.

Try listening to audio books. Some folks enjoy (or even learn better by) listening to books. And that’s cool! A lot can be learned from listening to someone else relay the words on a page. You can hear how certain words are pronounced, get a better idea of the tone the writing is intended to be read in and hopefully gain a better understanding overall.

You can start with an audio book and then migrate to the real deal if you are able to get a handle on what you were struggling with initially, too. Use this alternate method of exposing yourself to books as just another means of improving your reading skills.

5. Don’t sweat stuff you don’t understand.

It’s totally okay if you don’t understand every single thing you read. Some things may come to you easier than others and vice versa. Make a note of the things you don’t fully understand and go back to it later for a deeper look. Here’s a secret: that’s how you learn! 

If you do learn something, relish the victory. There’s a lot to be said for the hard work you’ve put into your reading skills, so don’t be afraid to own them! The most important thing to take from your experience is that you don’t have to be the best reader in the world in order to enjoy what you’re reading and get the gist of what’s being written.

6. Read more.

Try to think of your reading skills as a muscle. Muscles need to be exercised in order to grow and become strong. Think of all the work you’re doing to improve your reading skills like pumping iron. You’ve got to actually work on it to see progress.

So, how do you build your reading muscle? That’s the easy part! All you have to do is read…a lot! Carry a book or magazine with you to work, on the train/bus and anywhere you may find yourself with a small amount of downtime. Whip your reading material out and squeeze in a quick workout session anywhere you can and at any time.

And here’s the good news: you probably read more than you think you do. Just because you’re reading something on Facebook doesn’t mean it doesn’t “count.” Read whatever you want! Find a cool article. Surf the web. Read the news. Whatever! There’s more than one way to get your reading workout.

7. Read at your own pace.

There isn’t an award given out to those who are able to read super fast. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a long time to read something or if you’re able to speed read to the end of the book. Don’t put too much emphasis on speed because in the end it’s what you understand and retain that truly matters.

Here’s an extra little tip for those of you wishing to increase your reading speed on top of your other reading skills. Ready for it? You’re going to notice your reading pace pick up the more you work on improving your reading skills.

It’s sort of cyclical the way this whole thing works. Essentially, the more you read the more you’ll understand and comprehend. The more you understand and comprehend the faster you will read.

8. Create an awesome reading environment.

Think about your reading environment just like you would your study environment. Can you study with ease when there’s lots of noise, distractions, interruptions and without everything you need to actually read? Not so easy, right?! Well the same thing can be said of the atmosphere you set yourself up in when reading.

The good thing is that you have total control over where you read and when, so it should be pretty easy to ensure your reading environment is exactly what you need it to be. All you have to do is find yourself a quiet place that is free of distractions and interruptions.

You can start by turning the sound off on your phone, closing you laptop and hanging a “do not disturb” sign on your day. Grab a drink, a snack and something to read so you can find a cozy spot to get lost in a world of words.

9. Make a reading list (and make it fun).

This is a super-enjoyable part of improving one’s reading skills. We love a good list (obviously), especially one full of books, magazines and/or news articles! Do yourself a favor and start working on your own book bucket list.. Go wild by adding anything and everything you think you’d like to read now or after your reading skills start to improve.

Use your Google skills to help you come up some books to add to your list. You can easily run a quick search on a specific genre, author, topic or event and come up with loads of results to fatten your list up with.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what you’d like to read, you can then start the process of getting your hands on the actual material. Hit up the library, download some ebooks, find some great deals on eBay or stop by your local bookstore. Pick something from your list and get cracking!

10. Stay Focused

This is something that can be a little tricky for most of us. We start a project, workout plan or get on some other self-improvement kick only to give it up at some point due to laziness or getting distracted by a shiny object. Use all your willpower to stay on track with your mission to improve your reading skills instead of giving in to your old habits.

Stay focused by setting reasonable goals for yourself as you work towards improving your reading skills. Each goal your accomplish will propel you towards the next and serves as a nice little boost to your confidence.

2 comments
  1. Read Speeder

    April 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Nice list. I would like to suggest one more tip.

    11. Engage your imagination. Form visual images and conceptual ideas about what you are reading. Try to make it into a mind-movie. Visualizing ideas will take your mind from the sound of the words to the underlying ideas. This can even be applied to listening to audio books (or maintaining attention when someone is speaking).

    Visualizing basically moves the reading process from the left hemisphere of your brain, which specializes in the step by step deciphering of words and sounds, to the more holistic right side, which conceptualizes the big picture of complete ideas.

    In the end this involves your wholebrain in reading, and increases focus, attention, comprehension, and speed.

    Reply
    • admin

      April 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      GREAT tip. Thanks!

      Reply

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