When approaching a piece of literature I think that it's wise to break up and enhance reading comprehension by looking at your reading in the following ways:
1. Making Predictions
-Predictions encourage active reading and keep you interested, whether or not the predictions are correct. Incorrect predictions can signal a misunderstanding that needs to be revisited. You should...
* Look at the pictures, table of contents, chapter headings, chapter titles, maps, diagrams, and features of the text you are reading. What subjects are in the book?
* Write down predictions about the text. During reading, look for words or phrases from those predictions.
* While reading, revise the predictions or make new ones.
2. Visualize What You Read
-Imagine a story taking place as if it were a movie. Imagine the characters' features. Picture the plot in time and space. Draw these on a piece of paper.
* Imagine processes and explanations happening visually. Use nouns, verbs, and adjectives to create pictures, diagrams, or other mental images.
* Use graphic organizers to lay out information. Make sketches or diagrams on scrap paper. Graphic organizers are helpful with keeping track of characters, the plot, the setting, and many other elements of your reading.
3. Constantly Ask and Answer Questions
-Form your very own questions about the text you are reading. This is called 'active reading' and keeps you alert and critically thinking at all times.
* Before reading, think about the subject based on the title, chapter heads, and visual information. Make note of anything you are curious about.
* While reading, pause and write down any questions. Be sure to ask questions if there is confusion.
* Look for the answers while reading. Pause and write down the answers.
* Were all the questions answered? Could the answers come from other sources?
4. Retell and be Able to Summarize in Own Words
-Retelling challenges you to aim for complete retention of the material read. Summarization allows you to discriminate between main ideas and minor details.
* During reading, note the main ideas or events. Put a check mark in the book or write a note to point out a main idea.
* At the ends of chapters or sections, review the information or story. Note main ideas or events and the details that support them.
* After reading, retell or summarize the text. Focus on the important points, and support them with relevant details.
* Refer to the book to check the retelling or summarization.
5. Connect to Real Life Experiences
-Personalize the information you are dealing with by connecting it to your very own life!
* Is the subject familiar? Do the characters resemble familiar people? Have you learned about the concept from school, home, or other experiences?
* Is the style or genre familiar? Does it resemble other texts? Television shows, movies, and games can be considered "texts."
* Write down similarities between the current text and experiences, knowledge, or other texts.
Bam... you're a pro at reading comprehension now =) Go read, read, read!!!