Improve your reading comprehension by developing your ability to define the structure of the material you`re reading. Before you read a book, you have to survey its table of contents and foreword or introduction. Next, proceed to scanning the chapter titles and section headings. That way, you get a clearer idea of what a certain reading material is all about. Have a purpose in mind every time you start to read something. Reading aimlessly will lead you to nowhere. If your purpose for reading is clear, it`s easier for you to focus your mind on the significant ideas and information. This prevents information overload. Also, having a purpose enables you to allocate your time and attention wisely while reading.
Next, look at the book`s structure and preview these elements. Most books have jackets or covers which point out some of the features of the book. Look over the title page, preface, introduction, or foreword, chapter headings, chapter subheadings, and index. These elements will give you a sense of the subject matter and how it will be presented. If the book includes illustrations, diagrams, charts, graphs, quizzes, practice questions, or a glossary, scan them quickly to get a sense of the information transmitted and clarity of presentation. Now, map out the information you have gathered. You can do this on paper or in your mind, but take a moment to specify the main idea of the book and its supporting arguments or sections. Your map might be in outline form using the contents listing as a start or you might construct a memory tree with the basic idea as the trunk and the subsidiary ideas as branches.
Did you know that 50% of students in four year colleges fail to graduate? Did you know that the average four year college student who does graduate now takes on average six years to complete their studies? And the Federal Education Department is projecting it will take an average four year college student eight years to complete their studies in another three years from now. Many of these drop outs left college because of the difficulties they experienced with college level reading comprehension. Finally, did you know that 70% of students in two year colleges fail to graduate? That`s right only 30% of two year college students actually graduate. If you were a parent and you thought getting your student into college was a challenge, then guess what? You were wrong. Getting your student a diploma is far more challenging. If you are student and you thought getting into college was the real challenge. Then you were wrong too! One thing is clear. If we are ever going to get back to being a successful nation these statistics must change. Teaching our students how comprehend while reading, improve their math and writing skills will play a major role. Right now the numbers are getting worst. Our economic future is imperiled by this educational crisis. We need to start fixing these problems now, or everyone will suffer in the future. Don`t you agree?
Once you have finished these steps, you will know whether this book requires any more of your time to pull out the information you need. You may now have everything you wish to learn from this book. Or, you may find there are specific sections which you need to look at more closely. In either case, you will increase your comprehension by understanding the main idea of the book and its major subsections. Mapping these points in your mind and fleshing out the map with details will give you a better way of remembering and understanding the book`s topic. You will have increased your reading comprehension by examining the "big picture" of the book. The educational statistics in the United States are frightening. Most worst than most people imagine in their worst case scenario. If we are to improve these numbers improving reading comprehension will play a critical role. As unpleasant as the following statistics might appear, you need to know these facts so you don`t become the next dismal statistic.
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