What Is the Best Approach for Reading Comprehension? | Iris Reading
What Is the Best Approach for Reading Comprehension?

What Is the Best Approach for Reading Comprehension?

What Is the Best Approach for Reading Comprehension?

The best approach for reading comprehension is to practice key comprehension strategies. These include but are not limited to improving your reading skills, enhancing your vocabulary, and developing your critical thinking skills. 

Read comprehension is critical to your understanding of any text. It is important for both children and adults. It leads to improved learning and better performance at work. 

If you don’t quite understand what reading comprehension is and its key strategies, this post got you covered. 

Besides that, this article will guide you towards the best approach for reading comprehension. 

What is reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and interpret the text you are reading. It involves processing the words, understanding their meaning, and integrating it with previous knowledge. 

Comprehension is an interactive and strategic experience. It involves reading (decoding the written text) and language comprehension (understanding the meaning of the text). 

This associative ability enables us to make sense of the words in the text. It then allows us to grasp the message that it conveys. We can then use the message to build our own opinion of that particular text. 

Readers with good comprehension combine reading with thinking and reasoning. It can make reading a mind-stimulating experience. Comprehension allows them to be more mindful and critical of the text they are reading. 

Importance of teaching reading comprehension

Teaching reading comprehension is imperative for the normal development of children. It strengthens their brains to derive meaning from text and use it for problem-solving. This makes them better at describing or summarizing the content of a text. 

Adults can also improve their comprehension skills by honing their reading abilities with practice. This can have a positive effect on their personal and social life. Better comprehension can make you more articulate and expressive. 

9 Key reading comprehension strategies

Following are the proven key reading comprehension strategies:

1. Improving vocabulary

A fundamental key strategy to improve your reading comprehension is to build up your vocabulary.

When you are reading a text, knowing what the words mean can improve your comprehension of the text. Possessing a vast vocabulary improves your ability to ascertain the meaning of a new word through context.

You can improve your vocabulary even without reading any text. For instance, you can:

  • Take regular vocabulary tests to assess your current proficiency level.  
  • Complete online quizzes to increase your ability to learn and retain new words. You can also use flashcards to test yourself.
  • Actively use new words in your verbal and written communication.
  • Make a list of unfamiliar words you came across while reading and look up their meaning to improve your vocabulary.

2. Reading regularly

Maintaining a regular reading habit will improve your comprehension significantly. 

Employing the following steps while reading regularly will keep your mind active and improve your memory. 

Our course on Maximizing Memory covers practical techniques to improve your memory and learning. This will help you efficiently retain all the new information that you read regularly. 

These basic steps are essential for improving comprehension and are used in almost all key strategies. 

Activating background knowledge

This technique relies on your background knowledge. It requires you to recall and build on your background knowledge. It is made of your previous learning and past experiences. It also includes your language comprehension, word identification, and the organization of the text.  

Your pre-existing knowledge is critical to your ability to perceive and understand what you are reading. Good readers are constantly connecting their previous knowledge to new information.

Generating and asking questions

Formulating questions and searching for the answer in the text throughout reading is a great strategy to increase comprehension.

Asking the right questions will help you focus and identify the important information in the text. It will help you with your problem-solving skills.

Making inferences

One strategy to employ is to read between the lines and draw conclusions on your own.

A lot of information is not given explicitly in a text. When you make inferences, it will allow you to construct context and comprehend information more easily. The ability to make Inferences is crucial for an in-depth reading.

Summarizing the text

Summarizing means retelling the information in the text in your own words. To summarize effectively, you must be able to identify the key points and express the gist of the text. This will push you to not only grasp concepts easily but also write concisely.

3. Mind mapping

Mind mapping, in simple words, is a visual representation of concepts and ideas.

Visualizing when reading can help you make connections between ideas. It also helps in organizing your thoughts. This will subsequently aid in retaining new information. 

Readers who can visualize are better at recalling what they have read.

4. SQ3R method

SQ3R is a comprehension strategy that promotes critical thinking while reading

The SQ3R method comprises five steps:


Survey is skimming through the text before actually reading it. It is effective in improving your reading speed and comprehension.

Reading the title, and marking out the key points, can give you an idea of the text. This also allows you to recall and build on your previous knowledge of the topic.


While scanning through the text, you should be making questions on the topic, searching for new words, and determining their meaning.

This will allow you to search for their answers when reading.


Actively read the text. Make a conscious effort to find the answers to your questions. Read and reread the portions that you find hard to understand. It will help you determine its concept through context clues.


After reading the text, think about all the information that you have read and summarize it in your own words.


The last step of the S3QR method is to review and search the text more closely. You should actively evaluate the text and look for answers from a different perspective.

5. Chunking

Chunking is a comprehension strategy acquired to comprehend passages that are hard to read. 

The goal of chunking is to help you identify the keywords, organize ideas, and understand the context easily. 

It involves breaking down a challenging text into manageable portions. For example, a section of complex text can be divided into paragraphs and paragraphs into sentences. 

Chunking separates two distinct ideas and key details and accurately summarizes them in their respective chunks.

6. KWL charts

A KWL chart is a very effective research-based reading comprehension strategy.

The chart comprises three columns: K, W, and L for know, want, and learn, respectively. 

The first two columns, K and W, are filled out before reading the text. K column refers to the prior knowledge that you have regarding the topic. The W column is what you expect to learn about the subject. 

The last column, L, is filled after reading the text. It refers to what you learned from the text. 

The KWL chart is an effective strategy to activate your background knowledge, generate questions, and make inferences.

7. Close reading

Close reading is a strategy that incorporates critical thinking of short yet complex text.

When close reading, you will read the text three times. 

The first reading is to focus on the details and key points. The second time, you will analyze the structure and organization of the text. For instance, marking the unknown words, highlighting the difficult passages, and establishing the main ideas. 

When reading for the third time, you will connect the information to your prior knowledge, answer comprehension questions, and apply information from the text.

8. GIST reading

GIST (Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text) reading is a comprehension strategy that involves writing precise and meaningful summaries. 

GIST reading will help you summarize text to effectively learn and retain new information. 

The GIST summary answers the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions of the text. After reading, you are expected to answer them in a one-sentence summary.

This strategy works well with all levels of readers.

9. Reciprocal teaching

Reciprocal teaching is a comprehension strategy that puts into practice learning through teaching. This is a strategy that can be employed in a group activity.

Reciprocal teaching positively affects comprehension skills. The goal is to communicate the learned information in a group setting.

When you are teaching, you will be learning at the same time. This will make you think more critically of the text that you read. 

This will provide you with valuable skills such as questioning, clarifying and predicting. Moreover, you will be able to apply these skills when reading independently.

You must have basic reading skills to employ any of the key reading comprehension strategies. To learn these strategies, you need to associate words with their meaning, construct a mental image, practice, and incorporate feedback into your learning.

Best approach to improve reading comprehension

The best approach to improving reading comprehension is maintaining practice and consistency in one or more than one key comprehension strategy. 

The key is to put your mind through a regular mental exercise using the above-mentioned reading comprehension strategies. It will improve your reading skills, speed, and comprehension. 

With practice, you can read at a much faster rate without compromising comprehension. This can give you a significant boost in productivity. 

You can also improve your reading speed with our productivity tool, AccelaReader.


If you are reading a text but are unable to comprehend the words, it can prove quite a challenge. Reading without comprehension does not serve any purpose and can be frustrating. 

Fortunately, reading comprehension can be improved with practice. The best approach is to practice the reading comprehension strategies. 

You can either use all of these comprehension strategies or one at a time. The important thing is to be consistent in practicing it to see results.

There is so much more to know about reading, comprehension, and learning, and that you can do on Iris Reading!

Iris Reading is focused on speed reading and memorization techniques for all readers. We offer in-person workshops, comprehensive online courses, and blog posts to help you with increasing your reading speed with improved comprehension and recall. 

Our Personal Productivity course is a video-based training course that will help you with your productivity and comprehension strategies.  

So, what are you waiting for? Get all the information you need from irisreading.com!

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    This is one of the finest I have read on reading comprehension strategies. I have been using two in my teaching so far. I have been introduced to several more techniques available out there without my knowledge. Thank you for sharing this insightful piece. I look forward to reading more of such contents.