Improving Reading Skills for better Educational Outcomes

All of us engage in reading activities every day, be it reading newspapers, books, or even small comic strips. Enhancing reading skills is very important for success in any endeavor including education, career, or personality development. For students, it is important not only to improve reading skills in English, but also in other subjects. They can implement various techniques to nurture these skills.

Many teachers aim to impart among the students, detailed information about the topic covered. They can enhance the classroom experience by teaching reading skills, which will help the students to retain content. However, for them, the biggest challenge is to engage and retain students’ focus on the content.

Without a shadow of doubt, reading strategies can be applied to develop academic outcomes in any subject. To preach effective reading, teachers should act not only as suppliers of information, but should also actively instruct techniques to build reading skills. They have to implement various innovative procedures to encourage and incorporate reading skills into the curriculum.

Encouraging Annotation

Teachers can ask students to highlight and underline texts in the book. Even jotting down notes while reading will also keep the students engaged and increases comprehension. They can also use various annotation tools like defining new words, coding recurring words and themes, drawing pictures, highlighting headings and sub-headings, summarizing paragraphs, chunking, and so on. The crux here is to allow students to employ their own process to approach and understand a text. Offering special annotation guidelines to the students, like, “annotation of the writer’s characterization” or “finding examples of proper nouns from the text” can further help to focus. It can also assist them to identify which strategies can help them the most in processing and understanding information.

Appealing to the Senses

For students who are still nurturing their skills, incorporating the senses while studying can bear wonderful results. Many students do not have the idea of asking the right questions, its types, along with its frequency. Reading out aloud allows them to verbalize questions mentally, and prepare a proper sequence of questions to ask. Teachers can reinforce this procedure by using visual assistance (camera or projector) to write questions, mark keywords and phrases, and interact with the text. Moreover, they should always be encouraged to read with a pen and pencil in hand.

Building the Roadmap to set Reading Goals

Teachers should regularly assess students’ writing skills in the classroom. But, many students do not hone their personal reading skills regularly. To encourage them, teachers can ask to write the summary of their own reading habits, struggles, and success. This will create the foundation for setting reading goals. Teachers can ask students to read a book of their choosing, and then ask questions like- did they feel confident reading the text? why or why not? which parts of the text were difficult? and what different strategy could they use to make the reading easier. Students should regularly evaluate their reading performance, and on the basis of the same, they should create new goals based on their requirements.

Shortening Text Length

While dealing with difficult texts, teachers should break it up in smaller segments. Lengthy texts often discourage students to concentrate properly. Smaller segments of study material will help students to learn the content with ease, acquire academic vocabulary, and gain confidence.

Opening Doors for Choice Reading

Regular practice is essential for improving knowledge, vocabulary, and reading skills. Students are more likely to read if they have choice in reading. Teachers and parents can suggest various fictional and non-fictional articles, books, and novels, across various grades and multiple disciplines. School and college libraries contain a variety of books which students can borrow for personal reading. Teachers can ask the students about their interests and make recommendations accordingly. Additionally, they can choose reading for pleasure. It assists the students to gain knowledge, increase reading skills, and at the same time, helps students to experience a good time.

Assessing Content and Skill

Teachers should make sure that students demonstrate their skills in both formal or informal, and formative or summative assessment. Their basic understanding can be tested by recall and comprehension questions. But, eventually, teachers should move to tougher explanatory questions of how and why. Choosing activities that make students dig deep into a text, can be very effective. They can select innovative activities like facilitating an educative discussion, creating a playlist for a character, writing essays on current events, creating a mind map or infographic, organizing word games, and so on.

The primary objective of every teacher is to enhance the skills of the student for better outcomes. One of the key ingredients in a student’s academic and career success is improving reading skills. It will contribute in enhancing their knowledge, reasoning, and deduction skills. Taking time to discuss and actively engage with the students will take them to the forefront of learning.

This will result in the students not only advancing in reading, but also in becoming better readers.

—  Ananda Kamal Das

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