How To Become A Better Reader

by Anita Naik

Working on becoming a better reader has a multitude of benefits beyond English and English Literature GCSE and A-Levels ( Stronger readers are more focused about how they read, which gives them access to a wealth of skills and benefits everything from comprehension to revision, and exam preparation.

Step one: read every day

The easiest way to become a better reader is to ensure you read every day. Not books you have been asked to read in school, but newspapers, books you love and even online articles.This will have multiple benefits as the more you read, the better your ability to retain information. Plus regular reading will also improve the speed at which you read, your critical thinking skills, and even your spoken English (something that will help for the GCSE spoken-language component).

Step two: choose more challenging reads

Challenging means moving out of your reading comfort zone. Try different genres, different writing styles, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and different authors. Or read a classic novel as opposed to a modern one. Regularly reading a variety of texts will not only improve your vocabulary but also help you to understand different literary techniques and methods that you can then use in your own writing.

Step three: don't multitask and read

There is a difference between deep-reading versus skimming. When you're paying attention to one thing you are more involved in it and more parts of your brain will be engaged. This type of activity means you'll have a better chance of retaining what you're reading. Watching TV or looking at your phone while you read means you only take in half of what you are reading.

Step four: improve your comprehension

Working on your comprehension of texts is a vital way to help yourself become a better reader. Not only does this help you to think about what you have read, but also helps you to analyse ideas in a deeper and more critical way. Which in turn helps you to make connections between the ideas you read about. To help talk to friends about what you are reading, join a book club or an online discussion site, it will help you to get different perspectives on what you read and what you could be reading next.

Step five: read with a purpose

Knowing what you want to get out of a text will give you context and focus as you read. For instance, not all reading needs to be what's known as close reading where you make connections. Reading for pleasure is just as beneficial as academic reading, what's important here is to make reading a part of your daily life, so it becomes second nature.

Step six: change your reading speed depending on the text

It pays to know when to vary your reading speed. You should decrease how fast you read when you come across complex ideas so your brain can make sense of the ideas as you are reading. The same goes for when you are revising. For retention and memory, you need repetition and time. On the other hand, you can speed up when skim reading is sufficient and you only need to take in the core ideas and not irrelevant details or description. Being flexible about this can help develop your reading skills for study and pleasure. Contact us for English, English Literature and reading tutors (