Have you ever reached the end of a page or a chapter and you do not remember anything that you just read? Do you sometimes find that even though you have spent an hour reading, you really have not absorbed what the text was about? Being able to read, understand, and comprehend material is imperative to learning about any subject. Fortunately, reading comprehension is a study skill that can be practiced and improved upon so that every moment spent reading is worthwhile and not wasted.
Being able to fully concentrate and focus on the textbook or reading is necessary if you are to comprehend what is on the page. Thus, finding a quiet area free from distractions is the ideal place to read. When you begin to read a chapter in a textbook, a handout, or another reading, begin by looking it over before you delve into the material. Orientate yourself with what the chapter will be about by looking for headings, diagrams, bold-faced words, and self-assessment questions. All of this will help you become familiar with what you are about to read.
Read the first two sentences of every paragraph slowly and carefully. The first two sentences will usually contain the most important information and the main idea of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph may also contain important information, but usually that information is supporting details for the first two sentences. By paying extra attention to the main idea, you will be able to begin comprehending the most important features of the article.
As you read, take notes. Begin with the headings and main ideas of each paragraph. When you are finished reading, these particular notes should be a map of what the chapter was about and thus will help you comprehend the information. Instead of writing down every word or detail when taking notes, focus on the main nouns and verbs. This will help you understand who or what the sentence is about and what the subject of the sentence does. By breaking down the sentence into its simplest form, you will get to the heart of the idea being presented. Stripping away the bells and whistles makes it easier to comprehend the important parts.
Once you have finished reading and taking notes, put away the textbook and review your notes. If you have taken good notes, then you will no longer need the textbook. Look over your notes, including the headings, main ideas, new vocabulary, and noun-verb connections you have made. Continue to practice this method of reading and note taking to improve your reading comprehension skills.
Being a freshman is always challenging, as you step into a new world of exciting adventures. Maybe you've heard a lot about Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, or perhaps Abraham Lincoln, but you never had the chance to read or actually have someone tell you about their works and what they did for society and the entire human race. And so, as you step into college you should be ready to explore what was once a dormant seed in you and erase the fear of college and being a freshman. Life is full of new adventures and being a freshman is no different. Although it may seem a little difficult at first, the key to success is determination and motivation. Always think positive. Ask questions. Remember, no question is a dumb question. You go to school to learn, so take advantage of it and go for it.
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