People these days just don’t understand what a big deal it was when Johannes Gutenberg created the first printing press and made the mass distribution of books, newspaper and other media possible. For the first time in recorded history, the common man could get access to literature – no longer were books created solely by hand, a painstaking process that meant most written works were beyond the means to afford for anyone except the gentry. We’ve had several centuries since then to pick up on the idea, but some people still struggle with reading. Here are some tips on how you can improve your own reading skills.
First and foremost, the most important thing about this is not to take offense. Literacy is somewhat of a given in the first world and when people hear their reading skills could use improvement, it’s only natural that some of them are insulted. But reading is a skill. It’s not something people are born knowing how to do and like other skills, it’s something people can get better at doing, with consistent effort. That’s the first tip, too; don’t stop reading. When you find words, phrases and other content you struggle with, you should push forward and keep going, not get disconcerted and stop. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Travel books inspire your imagination, don’t they? They tell about foreign lands, exotic places, peoples and cultures, foods and drinks you’ve never tasted before in your life and much, much more. Of course, if you don’t enjoy traveling, you probably won’t get a kick out of books devoted to the topic. For everyone else though, travel books make a nice, neutral kind of reading material. They’re fun to read, they contain interesting concepts you don’t already know and they’re easily found. These three factors together make travel books great reads, both for entertainment purposes and improving your reading comprehension.
Reading about a topic that interests you can take a lot of the boredom out of reading and give you something you’re actually excited to be looking over with your eyes – something you’re much more likely to pay closer attention to, at that. Whatever information you could glean from such a source would just be a nice secondary bonus to the practice you get in reading. You should read some health books, because why not? It’s a topic everyone should know more about and it’s something where more information can only benefit the reader, never hurt them.
Besides this though, you might want to consider reading out loud, either for an audience or alone in a quiet place. Naturally, you’ll get better practice if you read out loud for others who can hear you, since they’ll be right there to provide feedback for you as you work your way through one passage or another. This can help you learn how to pronounce some difficult words, which will in turn give you a better understanding of some words and phrases you may see in other content. Did you know pneumonia has no P sound in it at all?
To take this point further, you should read books which are progressively more difficult, rather than several easy and simple texts in succession. You may wonder why and the answer is plain: you don’t improve your skills, not any skills, by doing something so easy it’s elementary to you. You only become better at something by engaging in practice sessions which challenge your body or mind, whichever part of you that skill depends upon. Start with simple books and work your way up to the more difficult stuff, and soon you’ll be reading better than anyone else around you.
When trying to improve at anything, I personally recommend reading motivational books, to stay dedicated. These can be specifically related to the skill you want to improve, or they could just be books meant to make the reader feel good. There are numerous tales of those who struggled with literacy, only to champion the skill and eventually write books about the ordeal. These would make nice books to add to the collection of anyone who has a hard time with reading and writing. Some people will tell you motivational books and speakers are a waste of time; I am not one of those people.
Speaking of motivation, different people will learn the same materials better in different ways, sometimes. What I mean is, some of us prefer to see written examples while others would rather hear the information relayed via voice, rather than reading it on a page. Still others would rather get their hands dirty, so to speak, physically interacting with what it is they are trying to understand. Because people learn in different ways, you might consider finding some books on tape or other recorded readings to supplement your physical books. These could help you to better understand difficult concepts.
You might also want to consider taking a class or two if you can’t seem to get the results you want working on your own. Checking with any technical or trade schools in or around your town is probably the best first step. Private tutoring can also be found, though I couldn’t begin to tell you where to look for that, or if the people you find in a particular place would actually be of any help to you at all. If you need help, there’s nothing wrong with asking for it – and an impartial third party, such as a teacher, could be just what you need to figure out where you are struggling in particular.
All of these tips for improving your reading skills are tried and true, tested over time by literally millions of different people who have struggled to read and comprehend throughout history. These techniques have always worked and as far as reading goes, they will likely continue to work as we move forward as a people. Finding the best technique for you as an individual is really the toughest part. If the first method you try doesn’t do it for you, don’t stop! Keep trying, utilizing other methods, until you find the way which works best for you.