Reading Comprehension: How Students Can Get Started

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension involves recognizing, understanding, and retaining written text. Success in academics and the workplace depends on it. According to research studies, students with excellent reading comprehension outperform their peers in and outside the classroom.

You don’t have to worry if you need help to improve your reading comprehension. With this guide, you will learn how to get started and overcome challenges you may encounter throughout your college career.

Reading Comprehension Challenges

Reading scholarly papers, primary sources, and white papers takes flexibility. The reader must adapt their comprehension skills to different writing styles and topics. For example, when reading through it, you may consider how a biology text relates to studying living organisms. It would help to comprehend a sociology text through the lens of social relationships and interactions.

The amount of reading college students must do can also be tricky since professors do not account for the reading required in other classes. Learning how to manage time is a crucial skill for learners. Those who attempt to read large amounts of text in one night are unlikely to succeed.

How to Get Started With Reading Comprehension

Here’s how you can begin to understand what you read in school:

Set up the Right Learning Environment

To give yourself the best chance of comprehending what you’re reading, start by finding a quiet, distraction-free space. 

Ideally, this should be where you feel comfortable and familiar, like your own room or a quiet study area in your local library.

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Break Texts Into Sections

Reading can be overwhelming when faced with a long, complex text. Instead, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable sections. 

Look for natural breaks in the text, such as section headings or topic changes, and tackle each one at a time.

Highlight Important Information

To help you remember key ideas and information, try highlighting or underlining essential passages as you read. 

Be selective, though — if you highlight everything, nothing will stand out! Instead, focus on the main ideas, key terms, and essential data or definitions.

Engage With the Text

Active reading involves more than just skimming through a text. It requires engaging with the material as you read. 

One way to do this is to take notes on what you’re reading, jotting down key terms or definitions and any questions that come to mind. If you encounter a word you don’t understand, take the time to look it up and write down its definition.

Reread Confusing Sections: Take Your Time

Some sections of a text can be challenging to understand. It’s essential to take your time and go over them carefully. If you encounter a confusing part, reread it. Flag it for follow-up, and consider looking up any unfamiliar words. 

If you’re still struggling, try reading the section out loud. Rereading challenging sections will help deepen your understanding and expand your comprehension.

Review, Summarize, and Discuss: Encourage Deeper Comprehension

Once you’ve finished reading the text, take a break before reviewing your notes and highlights. It’s helpful to summarize the main points and paraphrase key insights to encourage deeper comprehension and lasting retention. 

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Discussing the content and your notes with others can help solidify your understanding. Consider joining a study group or online platform with the best study documents from top-rated students sharing quality materials. Working with others can improve your comprehension skills and help you retain information.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The more you read, the better you become at comprehending texts. It’s essential to practice reading widely and often to enhance your capacity for information retention. 

Challenge yourself by reading challenging texts that will help you improve your comprehension skills—practicing deep reading before college puts you in a better position to succeed academically and professionally.

Ask for Help: Utilize Resources Available

If you’re struggling to improve your reading comprehension, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Many colleges and universities have student centers focused on academic success. Seek out these resources for assistance with reading comprehension. Schools usually provide information on these centers through their main student services hub. 

Some even offer virtual resources in addition to on-campus help. If you think you have an issue like ADHD or a learning disability that affects your comprehension, talk to a doctor, and check out resource guides for students with ADHD or learning disabilities.


Improving your reading comprehension is a process that takes time and effort. Remember to review confusing sections carefully, review and discuss the material, and practice reading widely and often. 

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. By following these tips and strategies, you’ll be on your way to improving your reading comprehension and succeeding in college.

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