Families, communities, and nations are strengthened by individuals who know how to read and who can comprehend what is read. The ability to read and understand is an essential skill in becoming good students. Since we are all students in life, we should all seek to increase our ability to read for understanding.
The ability to read with understanding is critical. The seriousness of this fact was shown to me last night by a Facebook post. It seems that a law enforcement unit in a certain county posted a statement that they would shut down all social media during the time period between February 28 and March 1. The department was swamped with complaints and finally had to post another statement pointing out that there is absolutely no time between the two dates. The people who were upset either did not realize that there were only 28 days in February, or they simply let their emotions get the best of their thinking.
As part of a personal effort to improve my own study skills, I am reading a book titled The World Book of Study Power, volume 1, and I am attempting to share a little of what I learn with my readers. Teaching others what I have learned helps to solidify the information in my own brain and is, therefore, a valuable learning tool. Most of the information and ideas that follow comes from this book.
The book suggests that every student take the initiative in their studying, particularly when it comes to reading. Because the ability to read and understand is essential to becoming a good student, I am sharing some of the ideas from the book (pp 87-88).
Some things that a student should do before reading are as follow: (1) “Think about the title” and “what you already know about the topic.” (2) “Read any questions or summaries at the end of the sections or chapters” to determine the “main points” of the author. (3) “Notice whether the chapter is divided into sections” with “divisions … marked with italics or boldface” and thus “take the chapter bite by bite.” (4) “Turn subheadings into questions that you can answer as you read.” (5) “Examine all pictures and graphs so they will be easy to refer to when the text mentions them.”
Some suggestions of things to do as you read are as follow: (1) “Stop [occasionally] to put what you read into your own words.” (2) Consider whether your studying is going well or what you might need to change. (3) “Try to link the ideas you are reading to ideas you’ve already learned.” (4) “Underline or make notes as you read.”
Suggestions for what to do after reading is completed are: (1) “Close your book and try to remember the passage you have just read.” (2) “Think back to the questions you started with. Try to answer them without looking at the book.” (3) “Make a note of anything you can’t remember so you can ask your teacher for more explanation or information.” (4) “Ask yourself how your understanding has changed. Examine how much you’ve learned.”
These few suggestions can help us to improve our reading and comprehensions. We do not need to adopt all of the ideas at one time because we might become overwhelmed. However, we should consider implementing all of them over a period of time. As we help the rising generation – and ourselves – to read with greater comprehension, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nation.