Improve Your Comprehension

Problems

Strategies

Poor concentration
  1. Take frequent breaks.
  2. Tackle difficult material when your mind is fresh and alert.
  3. Use guide questions.

Words are difficult or unfamiliar.
  1. Use context and analyze word parts.
  2. Skim through material before reading.
  3. Mark and look up meanings of difficult words, and jot meanings in the margin.

Sentences are long or confusing.
  1. Read aloud.
  2. Express each sentence in your own words.

Ideas are hard to understand; complicated.
  1. Rephrase or explain each in your own words.
  2. Make notes.
  3. Locate a more basic text that explains ideas in simpler form.
  4. Study with a classmate; discuss difficult ideas.

Ideas are new and unfamiliar; you have little or no knowledge about the topic, and the writer assumes you do.
  1. Make sure you didn't miss or skip introductory information.
  2. Get background information by
    1. referring to an earlier section or chapter in the book.
    2. referring to an encyclopedia.
    3. referring to a more basic text.

The material seems disorganized or poorly organized, or there seems to be no organization.
  1. Pay more attention to headings.
  2. Read the summary, if available.
  3. Try to discover organization by writing an outline or by drawing a map as you read.

You don't know what is important; everything seems important.
  1. Use previewing.
  2. Ask and answer guide questions.
  3. Locate and underline topic sentences.