There are several common difficulties that interfere with a student’s ability to comprehend what they read.  Students with and without learning disabilities may struggle when reading books or longer passages, especially when those passages are on a test.  Some of the more common reading issues that interfere with comprehension include losing your place, losing your focus, not getting the main idea, and forgetting what you have read.

There are many strategies to these common reading issues.  Just knowing about them is the first step. It is more important that you practice them every time you read so that they become a habit and can help improve your overall reading comprehension.

One strategy is to take breaks while you read.  Resting your mind (and your eyes) is a good way to reset and avoid fatigue, which can lead to any of the reading issues mentioned above.

Another strategy is to use a place marker while you read. This can be a ruler or a piece of paper that you place under the line that you are currently reading. This helps keep your eyes from wondering and it alleviates some of the anxiety that longer passages can create.

Reading aloud is a great, multi-sensory, approach to reading.  This allows you to see, hear, and feel (with your mouth) what you are reading. This approach should help you stay focused, understand better, and remember what you are reading.  If you are somewhere where you can’t actually read aloud, then just mouth the words to yourself.

Finally, one last strategy is to take notes while you read.  If you are thinking about the things that are important enough to write down from a passage, then you are likely to pay better attention and remember the information.  The notes can also serve then as a study guide or summary for after you have read. If you take notes on a separate piece of paper, be sure to make a mark in the passage where it came from so you can reference it if needed.  You can also take notes in the margins if it is a book that you are able to write in.