How to Improve Your Reading Skills


This article is essential for students struggling with their books. It helps to discourse practical solution to their reading frustrations.

A number of you are students, not just the secondary school students, but also the tertiary advanced students. I want to briefly take the time to address every one of the audiences for this book and discuss some of the factors particular to a set of people:

If you are a university student, I would have hoped you had already mastered most, if not all of the basic study skills covered in this article. Take the time to learn these skills now; you may have been able to pretend with yourself that media or even poor reading skills didn’t stop you from finishing secondary school. I guarantee you will not be able to pretend with anyone in college. You must master all of the skills in this article to survive, let alone succeed!


Personally, I love to read: the classics, historical, biographical novels, spy thrillers, the newspaper, even the back of the cereal box when I’m bored, tired, relaxing or eating. I’ll read just about anything near me just to be able to read something. But, as much as I love it, it was not easy for me to face some of those deadly textbook, reading assignments.

You may be having my problem; reading for pleasure, but have trouble reading textbooks for assignments or examination.

Any attempt to improve your reading must be from motivation. Reading is not a genetic trait; neither does it flow in your blood. Reading is an acquired skill. A skill you can grow, secure and sharpen. You must make reading a habit.

Here are the steps to improve your reading:

Reading with Purpose

Regardless of what you are reading, you have a purpose that indicates how you are going to read it and you read different items in different ways. Without a purpose, you’d find yourself reading aimlessly and very inefficiently. As it says in a proverb; “if you aim at nothing, you will hit the bulls eyes every time”.

What is your purpose in reading? If the best answer you can come up with is “because of examinations” we need to come up with some better reasons. You may as well put the book under a pillow and hope to absorb it by osmosis.

Unless you identify some purpose to read, you will find yourself flipping the pages of the textbook while seldom retaining anything more than chapter titles. According to reading experts, there six fundamental purposes for reading.

To grasp a certain message

To find important details

To answer a specific question

To evaluate what you are reading

To apply what you are reading

To be entertained.

Here are some simple techniques you can use to identify a purpose for your textbook reading:

Find the clues in every book

The table of content

Acknowledgement page

The introduction

Footnotes which may be found throughout the text

Glossary: if a considerable author adds it.

The bibliography: usually at the end of the textbook

Appendices: containing supplementary data or examples and finally


Looking for clues in every chapters

Chapter heads and sub-heads

End of chapter summaries

Pictures, graphs and charts

Highlighted terms, vocabulary and other facts



Finding the main idea

The concept or idea is usually expressed as a generalization, the summaries, and the entire text. Good comprehension results when you are able to grasp the main message, even if you sometimes forget some of the details. When you understand the intent, you have a context which evaluates the reasoning, the attitude and whether the evidence cited really is supportive to draw a conclusion. To succeed in identifying the main idea in any reading assignment, you must use these helpful tools


Topic sentence of a paragraph

ii. Summary sentence

iii. Supporting sentence

iv. Transitional statements.

Gathering the facts:

Facts are building blocks that give credibility to concepts and ideas. Your ability to gather and assimilate these facts will dramatically enhance your success at remembering what the author wanted to communicate. And you can accomplish this feat with the help of reading skills which are:

Scanning: i.e. reading carefully but for a specific item

Skimming: i.e. reading quickly and superficially

Reading: already explained.


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