5 Effective Methods to Improve Reading Comprehension for Students

Reading comprehension is a fundamental skill that enables students to understand and interpret written information effectively. It is the ability to extract meaning from written text, engage with the content, and make inferences based on the information presented. However, many students struggle with reading comprehension, which can lead to academic difficulties and impact their long-term success. In this article, we will discuss five effective methods to improve reading comprehension for students.

1. Active Reading

Active reading is a strategy that involves engaging with the text actively while reading. This technique helps students to stay focused, concentrate better, and retain more information. Active reading includes various techniques such as highlighting key points, underlining, taking notes, summarizing the text, and asking questions. Students who use active reading strategies tend to have better comprehension skills and perform better on tests.

A study conducted by Pressley and Afflerbach (1995) found that students who actively read by summarizing the text, asking questions, and making predictions had better comprehension skills than those who passively read without using any techniques.

2. Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development is a crucial aspect of improving reading comprehension. When students encounter unfamiliar words, it can lead to confusion and disrupt their understanding of the text. Therefore, it is essential to develop vocabulary skills to improve reading comprehension. There are several ways to develop vocabulary, including reading widely, using context clues, learning word roots and affixes, and using flashcards.

A study conducted by Nagy and Anderson (1984) found that students who had a larger vocabulary had better comprehension skills than those who had a limited vocabulary.

3. Prior Knowledge Activation

Prior knowledge activation is a technique that involves activating a student’s background knowledge before reading. This technique helps students to connect the new information to their existing knowledge, making it easier to understand and remember. Prior knowledge activation can be done by previewing the text, discussing the topic, or brainstorming ideas related to the content.

A study conducted by Carrell and Eisterhold (1983) found that students who had prior knowledge of a topic performed better on reading comprehension tests than those who did not have prior knowledge.

4. Reading Comprehension Strategies

Reading comprehension strategies are techniques that help students to understand and retain information while reading. There are several reading comprehension strategies, including predicting, questioning, visualizing, summarizing, and clarifying. These strategies can be taught explicitly and incorporated into the classroom curriculum to improve reading comprehension.

A study conducted by Palincsar and Brown (1984) found that teaching reading comprehension strategies to students had a positive impact on their comprehension skills.

5. Fluency Development

Fluency is the ability to read with accuracy, speed, and expression. Fluency development is an essential aspect of improving reading comprehension as it allows students to focus on understanding the text rather than decoding individual words. There are several ways to develop fluency, including reading aloud, using reading apps, and participating in guided reading sessions.

A study conducted by Rasinski (2010) found that students who had higher levels of fluency had better comprehension skills than those who had lower levels of fluency.


Reading comprehension is a critical skill that is essential for academic success. Students who struggle with reading comprehension can benefit from various strategies, including active reading, vocabulary development, prior knowledge activation, reading comprehension strategies, and fluency development. These techniques can be incorporated into the classroom curriculum to improve students’ reading comprehension skills and ultimately enhance their academic success. By implementing these strategies, educators can help students develop a love for reading and become confident and competent readers.

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