Back to the blogs

8 Reading tips to improve comprehension

Reading tips
Reading and understanding texts is something you have to do throughout your life. Whether while studying at school, in the world of work or in everyday life, you will always come across documents that you have to read and understand. Texts and books are an important means of imparting knowledge. In this article, you will learn eight tips on how to read texts more efficiently and some techniques which can help you better comprehend the information you read.

1. Prepare yourself

Before you start reading, you need to find a suitable place to read. It should be a place that is comfortable, but still allows you to focus and take notes if necessary. Even if you bed seems tempting, you should avoid it and opt for a sitting position, preferably at a desk. Try to sit with good posture so that you don't wake up with a painful back or neck the next day. Make sure to also choose a spot with good lighting so you don't strain your eyes.

After you've tidied up your desk, got your pens and markers ready, made sure the lighting is adequate and settled into your seat, you need first clarify exactly what type of text you're about to read. Is it a novel, a play, a scientific journal, a newspaper article, a poem? Having this clear before you start reading is important to comprehend the text.

Now you can start reading!

2. Understand the structure and get an overview

Every text has a specific structure, for example a way or order to how it's put together. Each part of a text also has a specific purpose and function. For example, as the name suggests, the introduction introduces the topic and explains what the reader can expect from the text. On the other hand, the conclusion serves to summarise the text, to conclude it by reviewing the most important points of the text.

In order to get an overview of the text and understand how it's structured, first just skim over the text. This means that instead of reading the entire text, you look at the table of contents, heading, subtitles, graphics, tables, emphasis, introduction, and conclusion to get an overview of the structure and topic .

3. Visualise what you read

To better understand and memorise what you're reading, you can try playing a film in your head. Try to visualise everything you read. This makes the concepts more concrete, the theories more lively and the content more engaging and tangible. In this way you aren't just reading, you're connecting what you read with images which will definitely stick in your memory better.

4. Adapt your reading speed and technique to the text

Depending on the complexity and type of text, you may need to adjust your reading speed or technique in order to actually understand the text. There is nothing more frustrating than turning page after page but feeling like you're not understanding or getting anywhere. For example, when dealing with a complex scientific journal or report, it makes sense to read more slowly and carefully to try and understand each paragraph before continuing. Conversely, with shorter and more simple texts you can easily skip over some paragraphs and still understand the gist.

5. Be selective

Be picky! Not everything you need to read is important. This is why it's a good idea to skim the text first to get an overview before you start reading. This way you can select what you need or want to read, as well as what is probably not that important. The aim of selective reading is to get as much information as possible in a short time and to give you a rough idea about the topic. This method also helps you to learn about prioritisation.

Tip: The most important points are usually stated either in the introduction or at the end of a text. This is because the topic is presented in the introduction and the most important points are summarised in the conclusion or at the end. However, that doesn't mean that you should only read these two passages!

6. Use tools

Reading a text unaided is usually pointless as it is easy to get distracted, wander off and not really take in any information. So it's best to use a pen or highlighter to underline or highlight important points as you read. You can also use a pen to write down important keywords for the various passages in the margins so that you can find the essential passages quickly if you need to later. Small stickers and post-its can also help you mark important paragraphs or pages.

7. Try the SQ3R method

The SQ3R method is a method designed to help you better understand a text. This method definitely isn't about speed, it's about really taking in the content of a text and being able to remember it for a long time. SQ3R describes the order in which a reader should work through a text or book in order to understand all its information. The acronym SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.

If you think this method might help you with your reading comprehension, check out our blog on the SQ3R method.

8. Process what you've read

When you have finished reading, don't immediately put the text aside, but revise it first. When revising, you read your notes again, add to them and answer any remaining questions you have about the topic so that you can consolidate what you have read.
Back to the blogs

Support for school subjects with

Learn now for free


England Spain Italy Portugal France Switzerland (French) Switzerland (German) Germany

Your data protection

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. By clicking on either "Accept cookies" or "Necessary cookies only", you agree to this (read more in our Privacy Policy). Privacy Policy