We are frequently asked what tips we could give to help improve reading comprehension in a foreign language. Here are some tips that may help you in that task.
Dictionary or No Dictionary? That Is the Question
Is vocabulary important when you are reading? Absolutely. However, if you run to your dictionary every time you encounter a word you don’t know, you will do more harm than good when reading. So, rule number one: Don’t grab your dictionary until you are done reading. This may sound like the opposite of what you should do but speaking from experience and many studies in this area, you will discover that the context of some words are made clear the more you read.
If It is Yours, Write in It
If you are using a library book or a book that was lent to you, you probably don’t have the option to write in it. But, if you own the book, one option is to write notes in the margins and even underline unfamiliar vocabulary to check later. This is where you can come back to your dictionary at the end of your reading. If writing in the book is not an option, wait until you have finished your reading and then on a separate piece of paper, write down any information you would like to look up later.
Do What you Love
As we always say, when you enjoy what you read (or study) you will learn more and quicker. It is true that you can’t always be given reading material that you love, but when you do have the chance; look for what really interests you. A lot of times, the vocabulary you learn through reading the things you enjoy will appear in other types of material.
Ask and Answer
One of the ways of getting more from your reading is to try and guess what will happen in the story before you read it. This functions like placing a filing cabinet in your brain that you can fill once you begin your reading. When you have finished your reading, you can see how close your prediction about the story compares to the actual story. In addition, you can create new questions after your reading to better help comprehension.
To summarize, here are the main points of this post:
- Don’t use a dictionary until the end of each reading.
- Write notes in your book if you can.
- Read what you love.
- Make questions before and after your reading.
If you have any suggestions for what helped you in your reading, please post a comment in the comment section of this blog. Make sure you share us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. To make these posts a part of your weekly readings, please subscribe by clicking on the “Subscribe” or “Follow” button.