Reading is the fundamental subject in school. A student must be able to read in order to be successful in other subjects such as science, history or math. However, there are various purposes and goals for reading. An assignment may require a student to skim just to find specific information. A novel may be read just for entertainment. But, reading for comprehension involves the exercise of more in-depth skills.


Comprehension reading is reading with complete understanding of the text. It involves knowledge of vocabulary, understanding of sentence structure and syntax, and ability to interpret the intentions of the writer.

Importance of Comprehension

Reading for comprehension requires more attention than just reading for enjoyment. When a student is learning new information or studying for a test, he must be aware of the writer's intent and meaning. Without comprehension skills, a student will struggle with recall of information and total understanding of concepts.

Related Articles

Preparing for Comprehension

The reader can prepare for comprehension before reading the story or article. She should think about what she already knows about the topic. This will help her relate the new information to familiar concepts.

She should skim through the article or passage to get a general idea of the organization of ideas. This will help her follow the author's ideas and build on what she has read previously.

Reading for Comprehension

As the student reads, he can facilitate comprehension by taking notes or marking important words or phrases. It may help to draw a Venn diagram or a story map to organize the writer's ideas in a way that can be visualized.

Reading aloud can enhance understanding. Stopping every few pages and asking questions are also strategies for increasing comprehension.

Comprehending Difficult Passages

When a reader is dealing with a difficult passage, she can use several strategies. She can re-read the passage more slowly, she can keep reading and look for explanation, or she can go to another source for clarification. If the vocabulary is unfamiliar, she can consult the glossary or the dictionary. If the concept is new, she can consult another book, a website or a teacher. Once the reader thinks that she is beginning to understand, she should attempt to restate the difficult sentence or concept in her own words to aid recall.

Researching Comprehension Strategies

There are many resources available for those who want to increase reading comprehension. It is beneficial to research these strategies to build skills that will be used in all areas of life.

About the Author

Debbie Flowers holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education in elementary education and has extensive experience as a teacher--in the traditional classroom as well as homeschool and piano studio and private lessons. She also has worked as an English tutor and helped develop an online writing service on a college campus.