How to Improve Your Reading Skills
A mini-lesson from Teacher Amanda
One way to improve your reading skills is simply to read as much as you can. But there are other strategies that can also help you. One of these is called PPPA. Let’s take a look.
Step 1: Preview
Specifically, look at these things:
- What is the title of the text, article, or book?
- Who is the author?
- When was it published?
- Are there subtitles or headers?
- Are there images or visuals?
- How long is the text?
After step one, you will know the basic information about what you are going to be reading and it will help you understand what it is.
Step 2: Pre-Read
- Read the first and last paragraphs.
- Read the first line or two in every paragraph.
This step will help you better understand what the rest of the reading is going to be about, and will help you complete the next step.
Step 3: Predict
Based on steps 1 and 2, make a prediction (a guess) at the main point or main idea of the reading. Don’t just predict what the topic will be, but try to guess what the author will say about the topic.
If you have no prediction about the main idea, repeat steps 1 & 2.
As you go through and read the text from beginning to end, you are ready for the final step.
Step 4: Annotate
To annotate something means writing notes in the margins (the space on the left and right sides of the paper) while you read. It also means:
- Underlining or highlighting important words, as well as words and ideas you see repeated.
- Writing down questions you have about words, ideas, or examples the writer uses.
- Looking at the examples the writer uses and asking: Why does the writer include this example? What does it show or prove?
If you are reading a text online, take notes on a separate sheet of paper, or copy-and-paste the text into a Word document and use highlighting and comment functions to annotate.
Want more help?
If you’re at an intermediate to advanced level of English, and want to improve your reading and writing skills, check out my online course “University Companion: College-Level Reading & Writing for Non-Native English Learners.” You can find it on my Teachable website.