How to Improve Your Reading Skills   back

The University of Alabama
Center for Academic Success
124 Osband
348-5175

Eighty-five percent of college work requires reading. How good are your reading skills? Here are seven steps to help you improve your reading skills:

1.  Evaluate your reading habits to find out where you need improvement. Do you "say" the words youíre reading? Do strange words slow your speed and comprehension? Do you read every word? Do you re-read sentences? Do you vary your speed to suit the material?

2.  Provide the best conditions for reading. Choose a place where youíll have few interruptions, have good lighting, can sit in a good chair, and wonít be distracted by radio, TV or other noises. Hold the book about fifteen inches away (about the distance from your elbow to your wrist).

3.  Use your eyes efficiently. If words are blurry, get your eyes checked by a professional. Donít "say" what you read, and donít re-read unnecessarily. Read phrases, not every single word.

4.  Increase your vocabulary by keeping a dictionary handy, maintaining a list of new words, and knowing the origin of words.

5.  Match your speed to the material you are reading. Know what and why youíre reading. Preview the material, especially when studying. Study reading requires closer, slower reading. For leisure reading you can go faster. Be sure you get the information in graphic aids and illustrations.

6.  To improve your reading speed, practice for about 15 to 30 minutes each day, checking your rate in words-per-minute. Check your comprehension by summarizing what you read. Ideally, you want to read faster while maintaining your understanding. Therefore, use the same type of materials each time you practice to provide the consistency needed for meaningful practice. 

7.  Come by the Center for Academic Success, Room 124 Osband Hall, or call 348-5175 to find out more about how you can help yourself at the CAS.