5 Differences Between a Good Reader and a Poor Reader? (BONUS: 3 Tips to Become a Better Reader)
Poor readers encounter issues comprehending what they read, while good readers are faster and more efficient. Improving your reading abilities means increased reading speed, better comprehension, and a longer attention span.
Identifying whether you’re a good or poor reader is important, as it allows you to know what areas need improvement.
Whether you’re a student, professional, employee, employer, or bookworm, knowing what areas need improvement will help you get better.
If you want more effectiveness and confidence whenever you come across reading material, improving your reading skills is a must.
This post will cover the main differences between good readers and poor readers. Read on to discover actionable tips that make you a more efficient reader.
Good Reader vs. Poor Reader
Poor readers are typically slow readers because they read one word at a time; this also affects their comprehension negatively. On the other hand, good readers don’t experience difficulty while reading.
Poor readers also tend to become reluctant readers because the difficulties they experience while reading discourage them from wanting to read.
Good readers read faster and better comprehend what they have read. They also tend to enjoy reading more because of their effectiveness and heightened confidence.
Here are 7 of the most important differences between good readers and poor readers:
1. Good readers read with a purpose
When a good reader picks up a piece to read, they set clear goals before they even start reading. This means that they approach a novel differently from how they’d approach a manuscript or textbook in preparation for an exam.
For example, when a good reader is trying to read an article on “how to prepare spaghetti bolognese,” they already have a mental note of what to look out for. They make predictions in their minds knowing what they hope to get from reading that article.
This allows them to quickly scan through, reading sentences in a batch of phrases instead of word by word.
A poor reader, on the other hand, doesn’t have goals. And they don’t make predictions to guide them before they start reading. So they end up wasting their effort on non-important words.
This makes them read a tad slower, which affects their attention span and overall comprehension.
2. Poor readers have a short attention span
Poor readers typically have a shorter attention span. This may vary from text to text, but for the most part, they find it more difficult to retain their attention as they read through.
Many things could make poor readers have a shorter attention span, including:
- They approach all texts the same: They may find a comic easier to read but find it difficult to read study material because they approach it the same way.
- They read too slow, which bores the brain — forcing it to look for something more exciting to do.
- The difficulty they experience while reading forces them not to enjoy reading, so their mind tends to trail off whenever they’re reading.
- They don’t have any set goals before reading.
Good readers have a better attention span because they’re more “present” when reading. They engage with whatever they’re reading and tend to ask themselves questions as they read.
A good reader is more focused and hardly has to worry about re-reading a phrase or sentence, or getting lost on a page.
3. Good readers are fluent
Fluency is the ability to read quickly and understand just as well. Poor readers can’t read fast and usually have poor or slow comprehension.
Good readers don’t necessarily read at the speed of light, but they can read faster and still display great understanding. Fluency helps increase a reader’s confidence. It makes them more confident that they can quickly grasp the meaning of any text.
This confidence allows them to read faster because they trust in their ability to understand quickly and remember too.
This is a luxury that poor readers don’t have. Second-guessing their abilities to understand quickly also forces them to want to slow down their reading pace, as this makes them believe that it’d be easier to understand if they read slowly.
But a handful of tools help poor readers improve their reading abilities, like AccelaReader.
4. Poor readers fail to read words in context
When reading, you naturally come across some unfamiliar words. A good reader can easily decipher the meaning of that word by reading it in the context of the sentence or paragraph they’re reading.
When a poor reader comes across a word they don’t know, it tends to affect the entire reading experience. They experience a mental block, which prevents them from understanding the context of what they have just read.
Once this happens, they find it difficult moving on and sometimes have to read the section multiple times.
Not reading in context slows them down, impacts the comprehension of the text, and makes the reading experience more challenging and unenjoyable.
5. Good readers reflect, summarize and comment
When good readers finish with a material, such as “how to cook spaghetti bolognese,” they tend to reflect on what they read. This could involve placing it side by side with any other recipes they may know from the past.
Next, they try to summarize what they have just read. They handpick key things like ingredients, cooking time, and so on.
Lastly, they make a mental comment on it, if any. This could be in the form of what they should do next, disagreeing arguments, etc.
These simple activities help them have a better interpretation and understanding of whatever piece of text they come to read.
Poor readers do none of these things, which makes their reading more like a chore than an experience.
3 tips to becoming a better reader
You can become a better reader when you improve on these 3 factors:
- Memory and understanding
Whether you’re a good reader or a poor reader, there are always areas requiring improvement.
1. Improve your memory and understanding
There’s no point reading if you can’t remember or properly understand what you’ve read.
Here are a few tips to help you remember and understand what you read.
- To remember something, associate it with a visual: This gives your mind something to attach the idea to, giving it more information about that particular topic to process, so it knows to treat it as important and remember it.
- Highlight or jot down: When we involve other parts of our body in a learning process, it tells our brains that it is important and should be kept handy.
- Read the title, intro, subheadings, and conclusion: This allows you to get the context of the article before you dive in, helping you set better goals and expectations.
- Ask questions: when you ask yourself questions about what you have just read and can answer them, even fairly well, then you’re on your way to proper assimilation.
- Try a memory course: Iris reading has a 90-minute video-based memory course that will teach you how to memorize and remember reading material.
2. Improve your attention when reading
You can stay focused by using your hand, a pencil, or a pen to guide your eye as you read. This would help prevent you from reading a line twice or getting lost completely on the page. Try to also read at a slightly faster pace that is comfortable to you.
That’s because the faster you read, the more concentration you require. This gives your mind less room to wander off.
3. Try to increase your reading speed
As you trail the words with your hand, gradually increase the speed with which you move your hand. Avoid reading word for word; instead, try to read per phrase. This not only allows you to read faster but helps you grasp the context of the text better.
Remember not to go so fast that you can’t remember what you’ve read; speed alone isn’t what makes a good reader.
That said, the soft spot is increasing your speed without affecting your attention and retention.
Being a good reader is all about fluency, finding the balance between speed and retention without losing attention.
A good reader is an efficient reader who reads fast with excellent comprehension and retention. You don’t want to read fast without remembering or understanding what you read. Also, you don’t want to remember and understand at the expense of reading slowly.
You can boost your reading speed by taking an in-depth course on becoming an effective reader.
Iris Reading speed reading courses provide lifetime access to materials that will increase your reading speed, memory, and retention.