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How to improve reading comprehension?


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#1 ToriAndNate

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:31 AM

My problem:
 
It is hard for me to put together 'complete thoughts' on the 'same topic'. For example, I have to retype a sentence multiple times and read it over multiple times before it 'registers' or 'makes sense' to me, to an extent. I can't just read a sentence, or create a sentence on the go and comprehend what I am reading/writing, I have to do a double take (at least) most of the time and even then I forget the concept of whatever I was reading/writing 10 minutes later.
 
Not only that, but I was wondering if my social issues could be related as-well. When in social situations with people, my problem is I just don't know what to say in response to what people are talking to me about. Say someone just tells me their dog has died (sad example I know but it's the best I can come up with right now) I know to be sympathetic and show empathy, but I don't know what words to say other than of-course, sorry your dog died I feel sad for you. Anyways.
 
What I want to (be able to) do:
 
I want to be able to 'think clearly' and be able to read books and know what I am reading. I can 'read' at a college level, but my reading comprehension is horrible. I want to be able to also construct sentences that convey the same thought throughout the sentence, rather than switching halfway through.
 
I've never really read books before, I've probably read only 1 book completely in my life and that was "Where The Wild Things Are" when I was a kid... I read articles online sometimes and used to write music, but other than that I'm not very articulate and I would like to improve that so after I'm done reading a book, I understand and can remember exactly what I just read and the whole book doesn't just go over my head.


#2 Keil

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:46 AM

I'm going to ask something odd. How "preoccupied" is your mind during these times? One possibility (probably not the main issue) is that your mind is currently overwhelmed or distracted by something completely unrelated to what is in front of you. It isn't out of the realm of reason to think that even though you want your body to focus on the document in front of you, that your mind is elsewhere, trying to process/cope a previous event in your life. Maybe there are unresolved or inconclusive thoughts in your head that should be addressed for the sake of mental clarity.

 

If you want real advice, the simplest one is to practice and get over that initial hump before things get easier. Struggle with your first baby step like understand a page of a book before reading the next one. 



#3 ToriAndNate

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:57 AM

I'm going to ask something odd. How "preoccupied" is your mind during these times? One possibility (probably not the main issue) is that your mind is currently overwhelmed or distracted by something completely unrelated to what is in front of you. It isn't out of the realm of reason to think that even though you want your body to focus on the document in front of you, that your mind is elsewhere, trying to process/cope a previous event in your life. Maybe there are unresolved or inconclusive thoughts in your head that should be addressed for the sake of mental clarity.

 

If you want real advice, the simplest one is to practice and get over that initial hump before things get easier. Struggle with your first baby step like understand a page of a book before reading the next one. 

 

That is a very good and accurate point... Most of the time (if not all of the time) my mind is preoccupied, usually either the TV is on, or someone else is in the room, or I'm just thinking about something else at the same time (but I can't help that last one... sometimes even when I'm alone, in the quiet and everything I just can't concentrate on reading my mind just wants to drift off and think about other things.



#4 cara

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:58 AM

Have you ever tried reading more to try to improve your comprehension? I'm not saying to start with a huge, intimidating novel. But maybe try graphic novels? Short stories? Comic books? There are a lot of different kinds of reading material, not everyone enjoys everything. You should try to find something you like.

 

Honestly, I believe I have fairly good reading comprehension (I read daily at my work and I read abundantly for my school) and sometimes I need to re-read a sentence four or five times. Sometimes it's because of ambiguous language, sometimes it's because I'm just fucking tired and nothing is registering. I read it until it clicks in my head. I don't think that will ever go away for me, maybe we should just accept it. :p



#5 ToriAndNate

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:04 AM

Have you ever tried reading more to try to improve your comprehension? I'm not saying to start with a huge, intimidating novel. But maybe try graphic novels? Short stories? Comic books? There are a lot of different kinds of reading material, not everyone enjoys everything. You should try to find something you like.

 

Honestly, I believe I have fairly good reading comprehension (I read daily at my work and I read abundantly for my school) and sometimes I need to re-read a sentence four or five times. Sometimes it's because of ambiguous language, sometimes it's because I'm just fucking tired and nothing is registering. I read it until it clicks in my head. I don't think that will ever go away for me, maybe we should just accept it. :p

 

Actually I haven't lol Like I said probably the only book I've ever read was where the wild things are, other than that I've never read a book all the way through... I mean, I read articles online and other things online, but maybe just not as much as I should? Idk lol



#6 Jess

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 11:08 AM

According to my oldest's first grade teacher, it's a 3 step process.

1. Turn everything off and focus on what you're doing.

2. Read things waaaaaay below your reading level and teach yourself to focus on it through the boredom.

3. Read everything. As much as possible. 



#7 InsertUsername

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:53 PM

Another tip is to read FAST.

I know it seems contradictory, but reading fast actually increase your reading comprehension.

Try to read short stories without rereading what you read (I know how difficult it is, I often caught myself reread the same sentence 3 time or reading two whole page of a book, but have to reread them all.).

Source: http://www.dartmouth...ss/reading.html

 

Also try to read with some classical/Baroque music in the background. It helped me with Physics Chemistry ;)


Edited by InsertUsername, 15 March 2017 - 12:56 PM.


#8 Kaddict

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 03:12 PM

All the tips so far are helpful.

It could be behavioral: Make sure you aren't setting yourself up for distractions (my main problem).

It could be medical: ADD has a profound effect on people, or it could be a different health problem causing decreased focus.

It could be educational: READ READ READ is the best way to improve. Reading correct grammar, not blogs, not fan fiction. Read books that have been reviewed by editors.

Also, other things that imo help comprehension include watching Jeopardy! and doing crossword puzzles. Both are fun, but help your brain think in different ways, and help your language and thus writing skills.



#9 neobo

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:15 PM

*poke* it seems to me that you are very articulate!

 

What do you want to be able to read, fiction or expository? And for what purpose, pleasure, vocational or further learning? Do you process information better auditorially?

 

Generally, try picking material that's below college material. In expository readings shoot for already being familiar with about 90% of material. Fiction, if you dont know more than 5-8 words on any given page pick easier material.

 

I work with students that have learning disabilities. I recently assigned the Kite Runner. We have been watch sections of the movie first, then reading those chapters in the book. It helps to connect new information to already existing concept maps. Its like who reads a science text cold turkey and *snap* understands it all?!? I dont! I have to watch videos and see diagrams and understand the why and the big picture before I can grasp the technical how from a static page.

 

Be patient with yourself, and find material that interests you. Good luck



#10 ohml

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:44 PM

I think you may have said your problem in your first post. I mean, you only have real one book cover to cover. Practice always makes almost everything better. I too have the same problem as I get most of my information from videos and short stories, but as I started to read more as reading began to become a necessity in my schooling, I would like to say I am a lot better. One personal tip is try not to focus too much, lol yes it does sound contradictory. However, I find it even harder to read when I focus on every single letter of every single word on a sentence. Also, I can see your interest in astrophysics and numbers and all that, god only knows what you read lol, I wouldn't consider myself inept if I am having trouble reading a James Joyce novel.




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