How to Improve Your Reading Skills

Why is reading important?

As any online student will tell you, online courses require strong reading skills. Your classes will help you build certain skills such as vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension.

For example, a typical assignment for an online bachelor's degree student might be "Read pages 100 - 150 and post a question about the reading in the class discussion board." To complete this type of assignment, you'll need to read 50 pages, understand what you read, and discuss it with your classmates using proper English.

Without strong reading skills, you may find class discussions to be uncomfortable, or somewhat intimidating. If you feel that you aren't getting enough from the reading, you may fall behind, or miss out on a great book. Either way, you are not benefiting from the experience, and lose out on an opportunity to learn.

What are the benefits of strong reading skills?

Inside the classroom, there are a number of benefits to having strong reading skills. By being a strong reader, you'll be able to progress through your assignments faster and be able to retain more information than if as an unskilled reader. You will also be able to take away more from your reading assignments, whether you're reading assignment is poetry, a mystery novel, a biography, or an economic magazine article.

What makes up "strong" reading skills? A good vocabulary (which includes pronunciation and spelling), the speed with which you read, and how much you understand after reading something.

Reading comprehension is very important, especially for online classes because your primary form of communication is the written word. You'll "talk" to your professor and classmates using email, forum and discussion posts, and written assignments, so it's important that you can understand what they say when they "talk" with you.

On a personal level, reading is important for children's intellectual development. When your children are little, it's important to read to them. It helps them learn new words, their pronunciation, spelling, and how to correctly use them.

Examples of the benefits of reading

  • Learn more and are more knowledgeable
  • Improve your spelling and grammar skills
  • Have a more active imagination

As you read more, you'll be able to:

  • Read faster and pay better attention to it
  • Understand more and remember it better
  • Write better
  • Think faster and have an easier time learning

How can I improve my reading skills?

There are lots of great ways to improve your reading! You don't have to pick up a copy of Moby Dick or War and Peace either. Try to set aside at least 20 minutes a day for reading. Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Try Books on Tape® and listen to a book in your car, or at home
  • Listening to a podcast of a book in your MP3 player
  • Name one of your favorite movies and see if there's a book version of it
  • Find books with short stories
  • Read the newspaper or a magazine with articles longer than two pages
  • Take turns with your children to read out loud with each other

Just like with sports, it's important to practice everyday. That's how you can improve at reading. With time, you will notice changes. You'll be able to read faster and you'll notice differences between writers and they way they write. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your progress.

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