Resource Outreach: Top 10 Tips to Increase Reading Comprehension, Part I


Preface: if your daughter is reading for comprehension, she will be tested. There are two categories of reading for exams: literature and textbook. Your daughter should alter the way she reads according to the type of test she will take. This outreach focuses on strategies to use when reading literature. Please share this article with your daughter.

Author Credits: Mrs. Kirstein, Literature Department, Gina Courey 2019, and Jayliana Smith 2019.

Read for a reason. Brain Priming is a scientifically researched method for increasing learning and memory.  Ask questions before you read, and your brain will automatically begin searching for answers. Write these questions in before each chapter:

  • What is the setting?
  • Who are the major characters?
  • What is the most important event?
  • What character developments occur?
  • How do you connect this with your life?

Take time to answer these questions, in writing, before moving on to the next section.

Read with your eyes AND your ears. You can copy and paste any online document to NaturalReader, a free text to speech online program. You can check out audible novels at the library for free, buy audible books from Amazon, or get a membership to

Read with your eyes AND your mouth.  Reading aloud forces you to slow down, thus improving your comprehension.  You might also try reading aloud to determine if this is beneficial.

Read with your eyes AND your “inner eye”. Close your eyes after a descriptive passage and imagine the setting. Populate the setting with characters using physical descriptions. After a significant action, pause, then play the scene in your mind as if you are filming a movie.

Read a professional reader’s summary ( after every chapter. In this way, you can be sure you do not miss any major event in the story.  The online summaries ARE NOT a substitute for doing the reading, but they are incredibly helpful to check for comprehension after you read.

Per Mrs. Kirstein, “The goal of reading quizzes is to make sure that students don’t neglect the reading in favor of online summaries alone. I would suggest she focus her annotation work on marking important descriptions (of setting, physical appearance, ages, character developments/behaviors, etc.) so that prior to a reading quiz she can review her annotations.”  

Annotate.  Gina Courey, 2019, created a strategy for annotations. Tip: type your annotations on a Google Doc, and add to it during discussions, lecture, and after seminar. Annotating by Gina Courey, Class of 2019.

Use organizers. Jayliana Smith, 2019, suggests buying numbered sticky flags from Walmart to mark significant scenes. From these sticky flags, create a timeline of events.

Create a timeline of events. 1929 Whistletop Cafe: Sipsey, Ruth, Idgie Threadgood, Big George, and Onzell. 1985 Nursing Home: Evelyn Couch and NINNY THREADGOODE.

Take advantage of review sessions held by teachers prior to exams.  Per Mrs. Kirstein, “ I always give students an opportunity before a reading quiz to ask any questions they might have. She could always write down specific questions she has while reading so that she can have them answered in class.”

Comprehension questions are divided into 2 major categories: detail and quotes. Create your own practice test based upon the types of questions your teacher asked on the last test.

YOU will succeed!

(If you are not succeeding, see me in Room 314 before or after school.)

Mrs. Biller
Resource Specialist
Educational Achievement Specialist