Like most people, you probably learned to read in kindergarten or earlier. But how good are your reading skills? If you are considering earning a degree or are already working on one, you can benefit by taking a bit of time to improve your reading ability.
1. Read more challenging material
You will be a better reader simply by reading better writers. That doesn’t mean all your favorite comics books need to go to the recycling bin, just be sure they share some shelf space with in-depth magazines, biographies and award-winning authors.
2. Don’t skip the fiction
For many literature fans, a good book is far better than a movie or TV show. Fictional works allow you to develop your imagination, empathy and will increase your love of reading if you find stories that speak to you.
3. Purchase a dictionary and use it daily
A good reader takes time to thoroughly understand the material she is reading. This means taking the time to look up any words or phrases that you don’t understand. In the olden days, this required the grueling task of picking up a 10-pound book, blowing off a layer of dust and thumbing through the pages to find the unknown word. Luckily, these days it’s a simple as downloading an app on your smartphone. Whether you choose the old way or the new, developing the habit of looking up all unfamiliar words will make you a much better reader and give you a killer vocabulary.
4. Increase your concentration skills
Have you ever read the end of a page and suddenly realize you didn’t actually pay attention to any of it? Paying close attention to the words is a skill that anyone can develop with a bit of practice and discipline. Try to read for at least 20 minutes continually then give yourself a short two to five minute break. Each week, try to increase the continual reading by one minute. By reading in increments, you will train your mind to stay focused.
5. Question the writer
A good reader is an active reader. As you take in information, keep an open mind but also a questioning mind. Do you agree with the author? Is he presenting one side of an argument or showing difference perspectives? How did the writer come to his conclusions? Questioning the work you are reading will give you a better understanding of the material and ensure that you are concentrating on what is being said.