What are the Benefits of Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension benefits for students and adults include improved writing skills, better grades in school, and improved workplace performance.
Reading comprehension is the ability to read and understand written text. It is a complex cognitive process that requires the ability to read words, identify their meaning, and construct mental representations of the text.
Good reading comprehension skills are essential for success in school. Children who develop strong reading comprehension skills are more likely to succeed in school and life.
Reading comprehension is the foundation for all other academic skills. It helps children build vocabulary, learn about the world, and understand complex concepts.
Adults who improve their reading comprehension skills understand work instructions better. They are more productive at work, communicate effectively, and lead a quality life.
If you are struggling with reading comprehension, read on. This article offers reading comprehension strategies you can try. It lists the benefits of reading comprehension and expounds on reading comprehension.
What is reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the ability to read, internalize, understand, and interact with the text you are reading. It involves critical thinking and deductive reasoning to make meaning of an entire piece of writing.
Reading comprehension skills are essential for students, professionals, and anyone who wants to read for pleasure or information.
It’s not just about phonological awareness and reading words aloud; it encapsulates language skills such as grammar (syntax), vocabulary, and semantics, to understand the meaning of texts. You make inferences and form an opinion about the read text.
Good reading comprehension involves creating images of the words you just read. Readers make connections to previous knowledge as they enjoy the text. They can comfortably answer comprehension questions and summarize parts of the writing or the entire text.
Readers have an opinion about certain occurrences in the text and group events in themes. They can also give a descriptive analysis without re-reading the text.
Reading comprehension strategies
Reading comprehension strategies assist you in understanding passages better and taking note of minor details that readers can easily brush past.
People with medical conditions that limit their reading (e.g., Dyslexia or ADHD) find reading comprehension strategies help to improve their understanding of a text.
Let’s dive into these strategies!
Visualization or imagery
Readers ruminate about their sensory experiences of a situation or place while absorbed in a book. They have mental pictures of smell, touch, taste, and sounds, such as whispers and touch.
You can picture yourself in the character’s shoes, feeling and smelling what they smell like in the excerpt on the barn in the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B White.
Summarizing text and identifying key concepts and the primary theme
Summarizing is an effective reading comprehension strategy where the reader pauses between chapters or paragraphs to reflect on the writing and communicate their understanding of the text.
The ultimate summary is after reading the whole book, identifying the central theme, and listing key concepts or evidence supporting the main idea.
Readers convey their interpretation of the material. They list the keywords and phrases, including the primary goal of the writing. They can point out its genre and structure without merely repeating the text.
Connecting new knowledge with past knowledge
Inferential comprehension relates literature to past life experiences, other similar texts, and world occurrences.
Connecting new knowledge with old knowledge makes it easy to understand and remember the text later. That’s because you are activating prior knowledge and linking a piece of writing to similar writings, cultural experiences, and the world, deepening the meaning of the text and making it relatable.
You learn when you reflect on what information the new knowledge adds to prior knowledge.
Skilled readers can foresee what will happen in a book even before completing the book.
You can predict words, character actions, and events using clues from the text and experiences. Sometimes it’s easy to tell the entire book plot by looking at the cover page and the book title. As you read, your predictions change as you gather more information from the book.
Afterward, compare speculations and the events in the book as a learning process. The reflection shows your opinion and compares actual events and anticipated occurrences.
Quizzing yourself or taking questions from others
Questions help to clarify the meaning of a piece of writing to deepen understanding of the overall text and identified sentences.
It helps gauge literal comprehension, the ability to point out simple facts in the written text.
The most significant thing about quizzes is they lay out gaps in comprehension of the text. More profound contextual questions can answer what, why, who, when, and which, and allow you to test the judgment of the text.
Questioning could be from the book – some books have end-of-chapter questions-self, peers, or a lecturer.
Re-reading text at a slower pace
Sometimes a section of text doesn’t make sense, and we need to go back and re-read it slowly to understand it better.
Benefits of reading comprehension
Much research out there concerning the benefits of reading comprehension list them as better writing skills, stimulation of the mind, better grades, and so on.
Let’s look at some of these benefits.
1. Development of higher academic self-confidence
Students who understand what they read feel more confident in their academic capabilities and are more likely to succeed in school when they can read. Believing in their ability to improve is crucial for struggling readers who lack confidence in their reading and schoolwork—improved understanding of texts and questions leads to better grades.
2. Improved writing skills
Reading comprehension can help improve your writing skills—exposure to different writing styles and ways of communicating ideas in various genres builds your vocabulary.
That exposure also leads you to develop your writing style and improve your communication skills.
Reading comprehension can help you better understand grammar and punctuation rules, which can also help improve your writing.
3. Improving the overall reading ability
Those who regularly practice reading comprehension skills become better readers overall. That’s because reading comprehension requires you to actively engage with the text, which in turn helps to improve your reading fluency and speed.
4. Developing critical thinking and analytical skills
Another benefit of reading comprehension is that it can help to improve your critical thinking skills. When trying to understand a text, you analyze and make sense of the information you are reading. You can then apply that critical-thinking process to other areas of your life.
5. Promoting mental stimulation and growth
Cognitive abilities improve when you engage with complex literature as you try and decipher the author’s intent, as per this study.
6. Improved problem-solving skills
Since reading comprehension involves Habits of the Mind (HoM), finding solutions to problems comes naturally after these processes.
It encourages empathetic listening, logical thinking, thinking flexibility, and persistence to find solutions.
You ask the right questions and reflect on gathered information from texts to constructively develop solutions.
7. Increasing empathy and understanding
Many people believe that reading comprehension only benefits those who are looking to score well on standardized tests. However, research has shown that reading comprehension can positively impact people of all ages.
Improving reading comprehension can lead to increased empathy and understanding, especially for children and adolescents. As they learn to read and comprehend texts, they also develop their ability to see things from another person’s perspective. That helps them become more tolerant and understanding of others, even those who may be different.
So if you’re looking for a way to help your child or student become a more caring and compassionate individual, encourage them to improve their reading comprehension skills. It could make a world of difference in their ability to relate to others.
8. Improving memory and recall
Active involvement in reading comprehension helps you to remember better what you read. That’s because your brain is actively processing the information as you read, which allows you to embed it.
You can also take the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory Course to help you retain what you’ve read and understood.
9. Enhancing concentration and focus
Reading is vital for your mental development and growth. However, did you know reading comprehension can help improve focus and concentration?
Research shows that the simple act of understanding what you read can help to improve your attention span. When you comprehend the material, your brain can better filter distractions and focus on the task.
Studying a passage also compels us to go through it carefully to avoid missing out on anything!
So if you’re looking for a way to boost your concentration and focus, add some reading comprehension activities to your daily routine!
You should consider adopting the reading comprehension approaches of creating mental pictures, taking comprehension questions, and summarizing to improve reading comprehension.
It’ll allow you to enjoy better problem-solving and critical thinking skills, memory, focus, empathy, reading fluency, and writing. Students will improve in their grades, and their reading comprehension will stimulate their minds.
To retain more of what you read and understand (note reading comprehension and memory are different), take the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory Course now! Professionals will walk you through mind mapping, the method of loci, and other approaches to help you improve your memory.