Improve Reading Skills Through 15 Proven Strategies!
Reading is indispensable in a student’s life. Therefore, proper guidance to improve reading skill should be a part of their journey. Reading is the primary way to acquire knowledge, build it further as well. For a 4-year-old reading is vital as much as it is to a university graduate. Many teachers like you have upheld reading skill as a primary skill in the entire educational journey of a student which leads to sharpening of critical thinking, creativity, comprehension etc. So let’s understand how teachers can help learners to improve reading through this blog.
Now that we know the benefits of reading for our children, it is important to go through the process of making them fall in love with reading. However, it is easier said than done. Teachers and parents equally feel an underlying helplessness to maintain consistency in a learner’s reading routine. So the question is, how can we help our learners to improve reading without being pushy?
At The ACE Clan, we practise some strategies which have helped our learners immensely in their reading journey. Many of them are even able to read 40 books per year! Some of them have written their own books too, which of course is a pleasant side-effect of reading.
Let’s look at 10 of the best strategies that we use in our online classrooms to improve reading now.
1. Annotations are Indispensable for Focus
As we know, reading improves focus and concentration. If the learners learn how to underline key points it can make it easier for them to focus. They may also annotate and write extra information about a word or a phrase. Writing questions and thoughts about the text makes their comprehension and retention of information much better.
2. Connection With Real Life
21st century kids get bored easily and that’s a fact that we as teachers have to deal with. In order to get them feel interested in what they are reading, it is extremely important that we make the connection with real life and other types of fiction. If done appropriately it can make them more curious and make them read more, that too without our insistence.
3. Finding Solution or Alternate Ending
Children are inquisitive and they have an opinion on all things. Giving them the opportunity to find a solution for the problems in the story can help them to explore more. Hence, a group discussion can be arranged where students get to discuss their versions of alternate ending. This would help them to know about various possibilities in each situation. Problem solving will definitely help them increase their critical thinking as well.
4. Explore Different Genres and Themes to improve reading
Sometimes reading a particular genre can get boring. It is vital that we keep experimenting with different genres like Adventure, Science fiction, Fantasy etc. Within the classroom set up we can also share their discoveries in depth. This will ignite their curiosity and will become an important factor in developing their reading skills.
5. Set Individual Goals for Each Student to Improve Reading
Reading just like any other activity can become more interesting once we set goals. Depending on their current level and time available the teachers can help them to set their own goal for reading. In addition to previous tip, for setting the spirits high can be sharing your own goal with your students. The magic of this phenomenon is visible in The ACE Clan classrooms.
6. Reading in Chunks
Reading is not a race. It would be no good to a reader if he/she is forced to read 100 pages together. This would be a great hindrance to their comprehension. It is important therefore to read at ease and to read in chunks. For retention purposes reading in chunks can prove beneficial to improve reading of your students.
7. Importance of Prior Knowledge
Many of us start reading without researching anything about its author, theme, genre etc. It is considered that reading without prior knowledge is “real reading”. However, this only makes young readers to lose their interest in the first few pages itself. It is always a good idea to build curiosity before we start reading. For example, when reading a historical fiction like Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh students can talk about partition and how it impacted lives in the Indian Subcontinent.
8. Teaching Students to Make Notes and Summarize
The skill of making notes and later summarizing goes a long way, almost till your professional career. Hence its of great importance to educate our kids of this skill early on. Some important pointers that can help our students is to be able to identify facts, key ideas, important words, and phrases in a text. Over time and with regular practice they would be able to do it effortlessly.
9. Gamify to Improve Reading
Students today are more engrossed in video games than studies. That’s only because there is a lack of motivation and there is no goal setting or sense of achievement. We can eradicate this issue by setting clear goals and outcomes in reading activities as well. Positive Reinforcement is probably the only way our students can get excited for reading.
10. Audio-Visual Aids for Improving Reading Skill
Reading can be made more interesting if we include audio-visual elements to it. Activities such Designing/Painting a Book Cover, watching a film based on the novel can draw interest of the readers. This has proved beneficial especially for beginners who then go on to read the whole book without any mental hindrance. Visual medium has always worked very well with young readers as it opens the door of imagination for them.
Reading is a multifaceted process. The above techniques would support learners to build their reading skills effectively. Let us also look at some of the ways in which how one can improve reading in advanced learners.
How to Improve Reading for Advanced Readers?
Advanced learners often feel bored of the usual ways to read the text. Sometimes they read the whole novel but do not know how to link the knowledge with either their prior knowledge or with the real world. In order to improve the level of their English, teachers need to incorporate innovative methods. Let us have a look at them.
1. Graphic Organizers for Vocabulary
Learners often shy away from learning new words as it seems like a daunting task to understand them. Reading regularly, their favourite novels and other literary work helps them to notice new words. This recognition can further be enhanced by teaching them to create vocabulary organizers. Using graphic organizers would help students retain the usage, spelling, and pronunciation for a longer period of time.
2. Thinking Critically
We are often intrigued about a certain character’s action. Students are the first ones to enquire about it. Wouldn’t it be much better that they direct these questions to their peers. This kind of group activity would not only encourage all students to think deeply, analyze the text effectively but also uniquely too.
Some of the questions that can be asked:-
- Where can they spot bias in the material?
- Why the author chose a particular genre or style?
- What they think happened before or after the story?
- Why characters responded to situations the way they did?
Comprehending the text becomes easier if the learner can summarize it appropriately. The strategy of summarizing helps the young minds to understand the main idea of the passage. He/she would also be able to provide more details to validate the main ideas of the story. These pointers help them to make connections and emphasizes the importance of providing textual support to their argument and summaries.
4. Making Predictions
It is important to train the students to make predictions. Making predictions using evidence from the context. In return this can help them in developing their critical thinking.
At the beginning of every chapter the learners can write their predictions. Thereafter, it can be discussed once all of them have finished reading the chapter. It is the mentor’s job to help them navigate through the text to see if the predictions they made were logically sound and viable. This whole process facilitates the students to engage with the material critically and teaches them how to build solid, text-based arguments.
5. Drawing inferences
We have always had our parents and teachers who taught us the importance about reading between the lines. This can be done when learners are encouraged to predict what is going to happen next, students make inferences about information outside the story. For instance, these inferences can be based on the genre, socio-economic and historical circumstances in those times. In addition, students can be motivated to write a prequel to the story or build a character background based on textual evidence. Drawing inferences and through that creating new content is a great way to boost their creativity!
Furthermore, Any student can improve in academics by improving their reading. Through these methods we can build interesting classroom set ups to nurture a reading culture which goes beyond classroom.
In Conclusion, in today’s busy world, where it is difficult to gather time for reading. Little yet consistent reading can magically transform a learner’s life. Therefore, at The ACE Clan, we give prime importance to this non-negotiable skill of reading through an eclectic mix of activities which can transform the reading journey of a 21st century young learner.