ESL Reading Comprehension

How can English students Improve their ESL Reading Comprehension?

Some advice for ESL/EFL Students and Educators

by Cheema Beckham

Learning English language as a secondary or foreign language mainly consists of four major activities. These activities include reading, listening, writing and speaking. An expert ESL teacher will teach you in a way that all these attributes are developed in a perfect way. Balance and harmony are essential in the development of an ESL student.

Among these four activities, reading comprehension holds the most vital place and is the most significant. Once your young students (or in some cases), your older students can read, a whole new world opens up for them. As well, a solid base from which to study English is formed.

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After learning reading comprehension successfully, the students can learn the remaining three skills conveniently and effortlessly. The aim of reading is primarily to connect the ideas on the page to your already existing knowledge. I can easily say that there are three steps involved in reading comprehension, which are:-

1. Reading the text from the page

2. Understanding the meaning and connecting it to previous knowledge

3. Storing the information in your brain

This is the reason that we retain more content when we read a topic that we already know something about. On the other hand, if you read a new topic then your comprehension will be very low. In fact, it is like pouring water into your hand.

At this point the question arises;

“How can English students can improve their ESL reading comprehension?”

There are a number of easy tips which can help ESL students in improving their reading comprehension quickly. I shall be sharing some of them with you in this article:-

1. Develop a Broad Background.

The more you know about a subject, the more you will comprehend from reading it. You must develop a broad background about the English language in general and your subject in particular. Reading books, newspapers and magazines can help you in achieving this aim.

2. Anticipate and Predict the Future Ideas.

While reading an article or a story, try to anticipate what the author is trying to put across and anticipate what will happen afterwards. If your prediction is right, it means that your comprehension in reading is improving, -- otherwise you will be required to make minor adjustments.

3. Be Passionate about Reading.

Reading must be your passion. You should enjoy reading instead of completing an essay in a hurry to finish (with fatigue). If you enjoy reading then your comprehension will also improve.

4. Develop Interest.

Develop an interest as to what will come next. Before the start of an ESL lecture, you may preview the material, scan through it quickly and share your thoughts with your friends and classmates. The stronger your interest, the greater your comprehension.

5. Build a Large Vocabulary.

A large vocabulary is the key to reading comprehension. You can absorb the ideas better if you know what you are reading. As an ESL student, you must concentrate on developing a great vocabulary.

6. Make use of SQR3 or Other Systematic ReadingTechniques.

In order to improve reading comprehension, you need to utilize a systematic reading technique. One of the most commonly used techniques is SQR3 method. The SQR3 method involves five steps which are:-

a. Survey

b. Question

c. Read

d. Recite

e. Review

7. Monitor Your Progress.

Monitoring is of utmost importance in the learning process. You must monitor your progress in terms of attention, concentration and effectiveness. In case your progress is not up to the mark, then you need to change your strategy or seek guidance from a professional.

In short, improving reading comprehension is a gradual process. It can be mastered quickly by an integrated use of knowledge of the English language and your passion for it.

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