Becoming an Effective Reader

I was born speaking the English language, so why is it so hard for me to read it? This

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is a question that many people as themselves. Understanding the information that you have read can be an extremely difficult task if you were never properly taught how to read effectively. This task can also be challenging for someone of any age, so the sooner you learn how to be an effective reader, the better you can be tomorrow.

Most teachers agree that the first step in becoming an effective reader is to develop and refine these six important skills:

  • Predicting
  • Visualizing
  • Connecting
  • Questioning
  • Clarifying
  • And evaluating.

These six simple skills, most effective when used in this order, helper to deepen your understanding when reading a book. Plus, when you better understand what you are reading about, it becomes more enjoyable and less of a job.


Predicting works by having the reader, essentially, guess what is going to happen based off of what they know or what they have read. Making predictions helps the reader to stay more engaged in what they are reading because they become interested in finding out if what they have guessed is going to happen actually takes place in the story. Predicting should be one of the first things that you do when you read, and soon you will realize that it begins to happen naturally.


puppy_editedDepending on what you are reading, visualizing can be extremely easy when reading a story that has vivid imagery. When visualizing your work, the reader is picturing in their head what they are reading. This act of mentally seeing what you are reading will help the information stick better in your head for later when you may need to recall on it. So, if you are reading a book about a purple-haired puppy riding on a skateboard, slow down for a second to picture the cute little puppy sliding around on a skateboard. After practicing this skill actively, this will also start to happen naturally for you; you start to notice yourself getting lost deeper in the story than you ever would have before.


This skill is when you connect something that you are reading to something from your life. As stated by The Cheeky Lit Teacher, “[c]onnecting relies on the previous learning and experiences of the reader.” This means that if you are reading a book about basketball you may think about the basketball team you played on in 5th grade, or if you are reading about sandwiches and you think of the wonderful sandwich you ate for lunch. This process of connecting what you are reading to things in your life may make the piece more interesting and relevant to you; this will keep you more engaged on what you are reading.


Questioning involves coming up with questions for whatever you are reading. Questioning can involve asking for further information about something in the text, like after reading about how George dropped out of school and asking, “I wonder how many male students drop out of high school?” Or, it can involve asking questions that may be answered later in the reading, like: “I wonder if Mike is actually dead, or if he is just faked his death and is going to come back for the wand at later?” Asking these types of questions will help to make sure that you are keeping up with what is happening in the book, and will keep you interested in what you are reading because you will want to see if your question is answered. Often, it can be extremely helpful to write down these questions as you read so you can look back at them if necessary.


This means that if you have a question about something in your reading that you are unsure of, you stop and take a moment from your reading to understand what you are confused about. This can be for when the writer uses an important word that you are unsure of, and you may need to stop to go look it up in a dictionary. This can also happen when the reader stops to reread a section of the writing to make sure they fully understand the importance of the particular section.


This typically takes place when you have finished your reading, whether for the section or for the entire reading. This means the reader takes time to come up with judgements and conclusions. It can involve looking back at your predictions, visualizations, questions, and other assumptions the reader may have made while reading. Evaluating helps you to take a moment to put all the puzzle pieces you have collected throughout your reading together, so you can grasp the complete meaning of what you have read.

These six skills discussed – predicting, visualizing, connecting, questioning, clarifying, and evaluating – will help you to become a more effective reader. These skills will assist you to better understand whatever text you read, whether it be from books, to newspaper articles, to emails, or to homework assignments.


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