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Q: How to imrpove? I'm a poor reader (low comprehension) ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: How to imrpove? I'm a poor reader (low comprehension)
Category: Reference, Education and News > Homework Help
Asked by: mrlfloridalewisfla-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 03 Sep 2006 14:10 PDT
Expires: 03 Oct 2006 14:10 PDT
Question ID: 761920
I struggled getting my bachelors degree.  I want to be proud of my
academic performance - I want to back to school and "win" this time. 
I dream of doing something significant, but my prior medicore
performance and my continuing struggles with comprehension/retention
haunt me.  I want to fix these challenges before I attempt anything
else.  I need a coach, a 12-step program, a mentor, etc - anything to
help.  Is it
possible to actually improve my comprehension level?  What do I do to
Subject: Re: How to imrpove? I'm a poor reader (low comprehension)
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 03 Sep 2006 20:40 PDT
Hello  Mrlfloridalewisfla,

   You certainly can improve your comprehension level, and you
eagerness to do so guarantees your success! I have found various sites
with some excellent tips, along with some books, and some reading
programs. Also, check with your library and/or local college or
university, as they can direct you to local adult literacy programs in
your area.

   Three ?ideas? were consistent across many sites that I checked for
you. The primary way to improve your reading comprehension is to
increase your vocabulary! The second is to simply read more, which
will also increase your vocabulary. The third is to become a tutor!
Yes! Instead of seeking out a tutor, become one! All these ideas are
further explored in the answer below.

Exercises and Tips:

From Charles Sturt University
?  Find out for how long you can concentrate on a text. This might
vary according to the degree of difficulty or interest of the text.
Just get a basic idea. When you find you are reading the words, but
you can't take in what you are reading, take a short break.
?  Set yourself a goal, for example: I'll read for 15 minutes and then
take a 5 minute break. Try to extend that time. (The reading time !).
?  Break the text up into logical sections. Textbooks often do this
for you. Summarise the important main points (aloud) if possible after
each section. Saying them aloud and explaining them to yourself
activates additional parts of your brain and helps you to memorise the
?  If you really need to remember the information for an exam, for
example, draw yourself a diagram, picture etc. That also activates
more parts of your brain and helps you to recall the information later
?  Try to put the information into context. If you understand the big
picture, it is much easier to remember the details.

There are other good tips on this page. Please see the link below for more tips.
?Build a good vocabulary. -  For most educated people, this is a
lifetime project. The best way to improve your vocabulary is to use a
dictionary regularly. You might carry around a pocket dictionary and
use it to look up new words. Or, you can keep a list of words to look
up at the end of the day. Concentrate on roots, prefixes and endings.?

?Create motivation and interest.
Preview material, ask questions, discuss ideas with classmates. The
stronger your interest, the greater your comprehension.?

?Develop a broad background. 
Broaden your background knowledge by reading newspapers, magazines and
books. Become interested in world events.?

?Monitor effectiveness.
Good readers monitor their attention, concentration and effectiveness.
They quickly recognize if they've missed an idea and backup to reread

??  Read books every day, and let people see you do it. You may be a
role model (to your child, your niece or nephew, or some other
individual in your family or circle of acquaintenance).
?  Get involved with your local library. Many libraries offer literacy
programs, which encourage reading in your community. See what you can
do to help.?

?  Become a reading tutor or reading teacher for a literacy program in
your community.
?  Call the Adult Literacy Hotline at 1-800-321-9511 to find out more
ways that you can help encourage literacy.?

From Concordia University
?Doing this exercise regularly will force you to devise new strategies
for covering pages of text more quickly.
?	You will learn how to find the most important ideas on the page in
the fastest time. For example, try skimming to answer a question or to
check out a prediction. Try focusing on headings, first sentences of
paragraphs, bold words, dialogue, etc. Or try reading words
diagonally, up and down the page, in circles, etc.
This type of reading will also improve your risk taking, a
characteristic of all efficient readers.
?	With practice, you will learn to make educated guesses at the ideas
or information on the page by sampling some of the text and then
elaborating with knowledge from your head. Efficient reading involves
linking what's on the page and what's in your head.?
Please visit the site for directions to the exercise.

?PSQ5R is a formula that stands for the basic steps in learning from
reading in an efficient manner. The P stands for Purpose, the S for
Survey, the Q for Question, the 5 Rs for Read Selectively, Recite,
Reduce-record, Reflect, and Review.?

Reflect: Recent work in cognitive psychology indicates that
comprehension and retention are increased when you "elaborate" new
information. This is to reflect on it, to turn it this way and that,
to compare and make categories, to relate one part with another, to
connect it with your other knowledge and personal experience, and in
general to organize and reorganize it. This may be done in your mind's
eye, and sometimes on paper. Sometimes you will at this point
elaborate the outline of step 6, and perhaps reorganize it into a
standard outline, a hierarchy, a table, a flow diagram, a map, or even
a "doodle." Then you go through the same process, steps 3 to 7, with
the next section, and so on.?

   Consider becoming a tutor to high school kids! I came across
several references to tutoring being helpful to the tutor! ?High
school students struggling with reading can improve their skills
significantly over short periods of time by becoming tutors to younger
students, a University of Florida study has found.

In the seven-month span that students were tested last year, the
tutors? reading comprehension grew as much as it would have in two
years without the program, and their reading skills grew as much as
they would have in a year and four months, the study shows. Their
vocabulary skills and attitudes toward reading also improved.

?Learning to tutor younger children helps students with their own
reading skills by allowing them to learn strategies in nonthreatening
ways,? said Jeanette Schiffbauer, a researcher and teacher at UF?s
P.K. Yonge Developmental School and one of the developers of the
ongoing study.?

   ?Many of the highest rated literature for children and young adults
are available on tape and in book form. By having your student read
along in the book while listening to the same book on tape, you are
providing excellent reading benefits. The student sees and hears words
and phrases together, a good way to reinforce sight-word recognition.?
OF course you can substitute children?s books for adult books. Public
libraries usually have a large collection of books on tape. Check out
the book AND the tape and practice this way! There are also tips on
this page that you can use, should you decide to become a tutor

   Substitute the word ?adult? for ?kids? here! ?The post-reading
questions are designed to give kids the opportunity to talk about what
they've just read. Many students don't fully understand or retain
information until they talk it out. In your conversation with your
child, focus on getting the broad concepts down, like the themes of
the reading, the structure that developed those themes, and how those
themes are related to the rest of the class. Taking the time to do
this will improve your child's retention of what she read. Here are
some ideas:
1. What were the three major themes of what you read?
2. How did the story develop those themes?
3. What other readings from this class had similar themes?
4. How was this reading different or the same?
5. What did you like about this reading?
6. What did you dislike about this reading?
7. How might this reading be tested in class?
8. Can you summarize what you read in a few sentences?


Reading Pathways: Simple Exercises to Improve Reading Fluency , 5th Edition
Dolores G. Hiskes
ISBN: 0-7879-9289-5
144 pages
January 2007, Jossey-Bass
US $24.95
?Reading Pathways offers a unique, highly effective approach to
teaching reading, phonics, and vocabulary.  The book consists of
reading pyramids that start with one word and gradually build into
short phrases and then complete sentences of increasing complexity. 
Also featured are mini-pyramid exercises where two words build by
syllables into multi-syllable words, and are then used in a sentence.
 As the student moves from the pinnacle to the base of each pyramid,
the phrase or sentence becomes more interesting and more expansive,
and with each line completed the student?s confidence grows. The
exercises in this book help beginning readers increase eye span,
strengthen eye tracking, build vocabulary, and develop ease and
fluency in reading.  Progressively building up the amount of text per
line removes the fear and mystique of multi-syllable words, and helps
students build the strong vocabulary so critical for success in
reading and writing.?

?Teaching Vocabulary to Improve Reading Comprehension?

?A good choice to bring up Reading Comprehension scores is Reading
Comprehension Success in 20 Minutes a Day from LearningExpress, ISBN
ISBN 1-57685-494-9 - most bookstores carry it among the test prep
books or can order it for you.?

The book above can be found at


Idea Chain
?Comprehension difficulty repeats itself when and adult tries to
pursue college or university studies. Adult students spend huge
amounts of time reading and re-reading the same material over and over
just to get the gist of the idea -- while they watch classmates study
the same material in a fraction of the time.
MindPrime?s IDEACHAIN program was written with the adult learner in mind. 
?	It avoids "kiddie" language
?	It can be applied in its entirety to adult situations
?	It strengthens the ability to understand and remember oral and
written communications.

How Idea Chain works ??  Individuals who have difficulty with
comprehension frequently have problems making mental pictures It's not
that they can't make a mental picture (although many times they will
tell you that)...It's that they can read words faster than they can
create, change and adapt their mental pictures.
?  MindPrime's IdeaChain program teaches an individual to become more
efficient at mental imaging so they can process information more
efficiently and understand as they read.

Road to Reading
?The complete course is on a compact disc with 113 page easy to follow
and  printable lesson guide and audio instructions to augment your
learning.  You  must use a computer to access the course material.?

?This course will teach you a new reading technique that promises to
improve your reading efficiency to an unbelievable extent. People from
all walks of life have benefited from the Advanced Reading Course.
Originally introduced to the classroom in 1968, this course has proven
itself over the years and has now been adapted for home study. The
workbook/study guide and audio instructions will coach you in
mastering a powerful reading method.?

?Improving Reading Skills By Building Word Recognition Skills.
Increasing the number of words that a reader can recognize
effortlessly and without thought. Words that can be recognized
effortlessly and without thought are words that that reader can
recognize automatically.

The logic behind building automatic word recognition skills is based
on the ideas that words that are recognized by thinking about them
makes reading a laborious process. This can cause increasingly greater
difficulties as a student moves into junior and senior high school
where the reading load in subject matter areas such as science, math
and social studies greatly increases.

If word recognition for a large number of words can be made
"automatic", then reading will be easier and a reader will be more
likely to keep up with peers as reading load increases. A reader with
a large sight vocabulary will be able to instantly identify words
without having to sound out the words. Instant word recognition by
sight greatly increases reading fluency and reading comprehension.? 

?The techniques in this section help you to master information. By
using them you will be able to improve:
?	Your reading skills, so that you can find the information you need
quickly and easily
?	The way you make notes, so that they become clear and easy to
understand, and quick to review
?	Your review techniques, so that you can keep information fresh in your mind.
These techniques will help you to assimilate information quickly. This
may involve keeping yourself up-to-date on events within your field,
absorbing information within reports or learning specialist
information needed to complete a project.?

Online Test
I can?t vouch for the authenticity of this test, but you might try it!
(It did give me my expected results though!)

  As you start your reading comprehension program, read every day. Get
books on topics that interest you from the library, and commit to
reading 1-2 chapters a day. Textbooks can be dry and hard to digest,
so before you go back to school, read the most interesting books you
can find! Ask the librarian to help you find appropriate books to
begin with. You don?t want books that are too intense, as they will
discourage you. However, you also don?t want books that are too
simplistic, as they will bore you.

   I hope you find this answer helpful. If anything is unclear, please
request an Answer Clarification, and allow me to respond, before you

   Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Improving adult reading comprehension
Adult literacy programs + reading comprehension
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