The chances are high that, as a non-English speaker, you have encountered at least one text in English that did not make much sense to you because even though the words were familiar, it was impossible to put things together. The reason for that is a natural effort to compare things with what you know in your native language. Since English has unique spelling and grammar rules, it also affects the order of words, which always confuses the reader. The trick here is to analyze the text first and pick all the important facts and bits that you can understand. If there are pictures or schemes included, focus on them as well as the visual examples will always help you out. Remember that your native language is never the same as English, which is why you should start thinking in English and predict what may come next as you connect the dots together.
4 Reading Comprehension Skills for ESL Learners
In basic terms, reading comprehension will include being able to summarize information as you compare and contrast what you have read, draw conclusions, solve certain challenges that are encountered, and apply your already existing knowledge. The purpose of reading comprehension is to identify the main idea and outline the important facts and details that may help you understand the text in a much better way. Approach each paragraph as if you have to explain it to a close friend.
Discuss Text With Your Friends.
One of the best ways to comprehend an English language text is by discussing what you’ve read with your friends. You can think about discussing key facts or coming up with some ideas that you could outline. You may also come up with a list of questions that help you understand the text, then exchange it with your friends as you seek certain answers for each other. It is one of the most apparent benefits of learning a foreign language because you can always share with your friends and master unknown concepts together. Reading belongs to one of these fun activities even with the most complex subjects.
Compare and Contrast What You Already Know.
It is an important skill that will always pay off when you join college or work with a group project because you will have to compare and contrast information by identifying those bits that are better and more meaningful for your objectives. It is also good to consider document translation services for those cases when you want to read something in your native language as well and compare it with the original text. You may also ask the linguist for a detailed glossary where all the unknown words will be included with an explanation. It is a great way to increase your reading comprehension.
Practice Reading Aloud.
While most English language learners do not feel comfortable or confident enough with reading aloud, it is one of those cases when you have to relax and read paragraph after paragraph to let your brain focus on how the foreign words sound. As a solution, you can practice singing and read along to foreign songs or watching movies with subtitles. Doing so will help you connect the visual aspect with the written text. It will improve your reading comprehension as you will approach text with much lesser pressure and anxiety.
Apply Summary Writing Techniques.
If you want to take a more complex approach, consider reading an English language text with subsequent analysis. Thankfully, it only sounds complex because you just have to practice writing short summaries based on what you have read. The trick is to write down it in bullet points by coming up with a thesis statement. You can do so both in your native language or in English, depending on what works best for you. It is especially helpful with STEM subjects when you have to get your facts straight and avoid various misconceptions that often get lost in translation.
Slideshow Presentations and Multimedia Elements
One of the best and most inspiring ways to improve your reading comprehension skills is approaching your text beyond the textbook. Combine writing, reading, and creative work as you create a special presentation related to a book you have read or a subject that you explore. For example, you may talk about your favorite athlete coming from Spain or Germany, which will help you to look up facts and compare different sources as you keep your information sorted. Your reading and comprehension skills will improve as well since you will be able to structure your text and read through it until it feels right. The educators will always appreciate such an approach and it will always pay off with the hours of fun and excitement.