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Have you ever found yourself reading a book or article and realizing you have no idea what you just read? You may have even hesitated to click on this blog because you worried you wouldn’t be able to read it well. If you struggle with reading comprehension, you’re not alone. For myself and many adults, especially those with ADHD, sitting still and focusing on reading is a major challenge. However, there are ways to improve your reading comprehension as an adult.
Find the Right Environment
First, I try to find a comfortable and distraction-free environment to read. This may sound nearly impossible, especially if you have kids. Try to schedule your reading time for when your home is a mostly distraction-free environment, or get out of your home entirely. For example, the right environment could be your home after your children go to bed or your car in the school pickup line. Play with background noise as well, such as complete silence or white noise.
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While reading, taking notes can improve comprehension. This may mean writing down important points, jotting down questions, or summarizing what you just read in your own words. You can do this on a piece of notebook paper you stick in your purse or even in the margins of the book itself. Try not to use your phone since notifications are distracting. Wherever you take notes, this will help you stay engaged and focused. It also provides a reference point for when you need to recall information.
Practice Active Reading
Active reading means engaging with the text as you read it rather than just passively scanning words. Underlining or highlighting important words or phrases, making connections with what you already know, and asking questions as you go are all forms of active reading. Doing any of these activities keeps your brain working while you read and helps you retain information better.
Learn About Literary Devices
Finally, exploring literary devices can enhance your reading comprehension. Writers use literary devices to convey meaning, create mood or atmosphere, and add richness to their writing. Examples include similes, metaphors, personification, and symbolism. Learning about these devices can help you better comprehend a text and appreciate the author’s craft.
Reading shouldn’t be a chore or a source of frustration. When you find the right environment, take notes, practice active reading, and learn about literary devices, you can improve your reading comprehension as an adult and enjoy this activity again. Even with these tools in your reading comprehension toolbelt, this will take time and patience. Find a book that you love, break it down into small sections, and start using these tools. Over time, you should see an improvement.