Reading comprehension is important for understanding the content that is actually being read; otherwise, readers can't make sense of what they read and will have problems succeeding in academics, notes Penn State. Having strong reading comprehension skills is also necessary for passing academic achievement tests and for being able to read effectively for one's career.
Having poor reading comprehension skills can make it difficult for readers to understand text they read, identify themes in stories, associate what they read with prior knowledge and grasp the main idea of a text. Reading comprehension skills are teachable. The process involves teaching students to read actively and use strategies like learning new vocabulary words, reading with purpose, retelling what they read in their own words and asking themselves questions as they read. Using graphic organizers that show the relationships between concepts visually and using group reading and tutoring can also help students develop their reading comprehension skills, notes Penn State.
One common technique to read actively and better recall what is read is called the SQ3R method. With this method, students first survey the text to see its structure, such as its title, bolded terms and graphics. Students then come up with questions they want to answer, read the text, recite what was read and review answers to the questions posed.