Reading Comprehension Tips

Reading comprehension is extremely important. Oftentimes, you will be tested for what you read, so it’s important that you understand what you are reading. I have some simple reading comprehension tips written up here on the board that I want to go over.

The first is reading when you’re not tired. This is different times of day for different people, but for the most part, this means: do not read at night, because you’re going to be tired from the day’s activity.

The next lesson: Summarizing Text, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

Oftentimes, people cannot read in the morning either, because they are groggy from just having woken up. So, make sure you read at a time when you are very alert.

Read for short time intervals. Don’t try to read for an hour or two at a time, because you’re going to get tired of reading, and not retaining what you read. Try to read for 30-45 minutes, take a break, and then read again.

Read in a distraction-free environment. Get somewhere where your eyes and ears are not distracted. This means somewhere where there is not a lot of activity, and where it is quiet so that you can solely focus on reading.

Comprehend what you read. It’s very easy to read a page, and for your eyes to move down a page, but for your thoughts to be elsewhere. Stop and ask yourself as you’re reading, “what am I reading?”, and why is this important? Because you wouldn’t want to get to the end of a book, and not have understood anything of the book. You’d have to reread it. So, make sure you’re comprehending the book as you read it.

Skim what you’re about to read first. This means skimming the chapter. Reading a title page, reading the preface and introduction, reading a chapter summary, and then reading the chapter in its entirety.

Take advantage of the way a textbook is structured. Oftentimes, a textbook will have major headings, italicized words, and words in bold. These are important points that you should take note of. Oftentimes, chapters will have a list of important points at the end, and a chapter summary. Read those as well, as those reemphasize the important points of the chapter.

So, next time you read, remember these reading comprehension tips, so that you can retain more of what you read.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.
1. Read the passage below and answer the question that follows it.

Anastasia sat by the fountain in the park with her head in her palms. She was weeping mournfully and wearing all black. In between gasps and sobs, Anastasia cried out, “Oh... John…” And then her cell phone beeped. Her hand dived into her purse and her heart skipped a beat. It was a text message from John! She opened up the message and read the few stark words, “I need to get my jacket back from you.” Anastasia threw her head onto her arms and resumed sobbing.

1. Why is Anastasia crying?
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Question 1 of 43

2. 'Students should be allowed to look at their textbooks during examinations. After all, surgeons have X-rays to guide them during an operation; lawyers have briefs to guide them during a trial; carpenters have blueprints to guide them when they are building a house. Why, then, shouldn't students be allowed to look at their textbooks during an examination?”

1. Which of the following best explains the problem with the analogy above?
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Question 2 of 43

3. Efforts to ban chlordane assailed

WASHINGTON (AP)--The only exterminator in Congress told his colleagues Wednesday that it would be a short- sighted move to ban use of chlordane and related termiticides that cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Supporters of the bill, however, claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency was 'dragging its feet' on a chemical that could cause 300,000 cancers in the American population in 70 years.

'This bill reminds me of legislation that ought to be introduced to outlaw automobiles' on the grounds that cars kill people, said Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who owns an exterminating business.

EPA banned use of the chemicals on crops in 1974, but permitted use against termites because the agency did not believe humans were exposed. Chlordane does not kill termites but rather drives them away.

Source: Associated Press, June 25th, 1987

2. Representative DeLay is comparing banning the use of the pesticide chlordane to banning the use of automobiles.
Which of the following differences makes this a weak or false analogy?
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Question 3 of 43

4. Conclusions that are stated directlyThe following is the final paragraph from an essay. Read it carefully; then answer the question that follows it.

[1] The evidence is overwhelming: the cost of driving a vehicle, both monetarily and environmentally, is outweighing the benefits. [2] We can no longer in good faith support something that is so destructive of the environment. [3] At almost five dollars per gallon in some places, we need to ask ourselves if our dependence on cars is merely a result of our own laziness.

1. Which sentence contains the writer’s conclusion?
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Question 4 of 43

5. Read the following paragraph and locate the writer’s conclusion.

[1] Though Columbus Day’s original intent was to celebrate Christopher Columbus’s historic landing in the New World, many groups feel that it should instead be a day of remembrance for the millions of natives who died as a result of colonization. [2] Despite the contentious nature of the holiday, did Columbus play an integral role in the creation of what we know now as the United States of America? [3]Yes, and his voyages facilitated a massive exchange of goods between the New World and the Old that continues to this day. [4] Regardless of how one feels about the holiday, Columbus had a huge impact on history, and the world wouldn’t look the same today without him.

The writer’s conclusion is stated directly in …
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Question 5 of 43

6. ContextUsing the context clues, choose the best definition for the underlined word.

1. The homes on the north side of the tracks were poor and shabby, but those on the south side were obviously affluent.
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Question 6 of 43

7. 2. It is a fact that a large number of small businesses fail because the owner hasn’t enough capital to tide him over slack periods and emergencies that is, it takes a certain amount of working money to keep a business going.
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Question 7 of 43

8. Denotative and Connotative Meanings1. Which of the words below has the most negative connotation:
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Question 8 of 43

9.
  1. Which of the following words has the most positive connotation:
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Question 9 of 43

10. Determining Word Meanings [structural analysis]Look at the parts of the following words; then choose the best definition.

1.  immobile
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Question 10 of 43

11. 2.  hydroponic
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Question 11 of 43

12. False Dichotomy1. Which of the following sentences presents a false dichotomy?
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Question 12 of 43

13. 2. Darth Vader in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith told Obi-Wan Kenobi 'If you're not with me, then you're my enemy'.
Why is this statement a false dichotomy?
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Question 13 of 43

14. Historical Context 
  1. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing to the Northland. [Jack London]
 

Use the context clues to determine when this story is happening.
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Question 14 of 43

15. 2. The door opened, and some men-at-arms appeared. The leader said: 'The stake is ready. Come!'

The stake! The strength went out of me, and I almost fell down. It is hard to get one's breath at such a time, such lumps come into one's throat, and such gaspings; but as soon as I could speak, I said:

'But this is a mistake—the execution is to-morrow.'
'Order changed; been set forward a day. Haste thee!' [Mark Twain]

Use the context clues to determine when this story takes place.
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Question 15 of 43

16. Text EvidenceRead the passage carefully. Then answer the questions that follow.

[1] In the depths of the Arctic Ocean, buried deep in the sediment, an ancient creature waited for over a million years to be discovered. [2] Paul Valentich-Scott, from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (California), and three scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS, Menlo Park, California), Charles L. Powell, Brian D. Edwards, and Thomas D. Lorenson were up to the challenge. [3] Each with different expertise, they were able to collect, analyze, and identify a new genus and new species of bivalve mollusk.

[4] The path to discovery is seldom simple or easy. [5] This discovery is no exception. [6] Brian Edwards was the chief scientist on a joint US-Canadian icebreaker expedition aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the summer of 2010. [7] The primary purpose of the expedition was to map the Arctic seafloor and the sediments beneath. [8] Dr. Edwards took deep sediment core samples to further understand the geology of the region including the unusual seafloor mound where these samples were collected. [9] In several of these cores he uncovered bivalve seashells buried nearly 15 feet (4.5 m) below the seafloor surface.

[10] When examining these ancient shell specimens, Valentich-Scott was fairly certain that they were new to science. [11] The hunt to validate the potential new species was on. [12] Paul contacted a number of thyasirid bivalve specialists around the world and all gave it a ‘thumbs up’ as a new species.

Which sentences provide descriptive support for the text?
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Question 16 of 43

17. Where can you find factual support in the text?
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Question 17 of 43

18. Textual Evidence for PredictionsUse the clues in the text to answer the questions.

1. The driver reached for his sunglasses as he turned left into the late afternoon sun.

What direction was the driver going before he turned?
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Question 18 of 43

19. 2. There were only two Americans staying at the hotel.

Where’s the hotel?
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Question 19 of 43

20. Textual Support for InterpretationRead the following student essay. Then answer the questions that follow it.

Internet Plagiarism[1] Not all thieves lurk in dark alleys and parks. Some sit with their faces lit by the glow of their computer monitors, copying, pasting, and printing.

[2] It may seem like just another helpful source of information, but the Internet has taken the theft of “intellectual property” to a new level. Part of the problem is that most students don’t really know the exact definition of plagiarism or its consequences. Some say that using someone else’s ideas without attributing them is a form of theft, but most people don’t think of it as a serious crime.

[3] For teachers, Internet plagiarism has been especially problematic compared to “theft” from other sources. This is because it is so easy to copy and paste from the Internet. To counter student plagiarism, services designed to detect copied material have emerged to aid teachers. One company, TurnItIn.com, has developed a system for detecting material plagiarized from the Internet. Teachers can upload student works onto the site, which searches for similarities to material from all over the Web. The teachers receive an “originality report” within a few days.

[4] “The threat of using [these programs] will stop a lot of students. They will be afraid they’ll be caught. Unfortunately, fear is what works,” English teacher Judy Grear said.

[5] A main concern is not only the use of a few plagiarized sentences, but of entire papers. “Paper mills” like SchoolSucks.com and Evil House of Cheat are some of the most popular sources for pirated papers.

[6] In addition to such blatant “cut and paste” plagiarism, most teachers agree that students must be wary of the theft of ideas. One plagiarism-detection program, Word Check, asserts through their Web site, “Whether you agree or disagree on how information should be used or reused in digital form, one thing is clear: protecting intellectual property from theft and infringement is the number one security issue.”

[7] By some definitions, it seems like everyone plagiarizes. But for many students who feel that they might unknowingly plagiarize, programs like TurnItIn.com are intimidating. The detection system on TurnItIn.com, which is a part of plagiarism.org, claims to detect plagiarism down to the eight-word level, which many fear could include accidental lifting of words.

[8] The thieves are out there, and they aren’t wearing stocking caps. They’re not robbing banks; they’re stealing words.

[Dan, from The Write Source web site, sample essay]
  1. Where is the best location to add this quotation?
“I think that the idea is good,” Chris M., a senior, said. “But it might be a little extreme because some phrases are common enough that they might be in more than one essay.”
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Question 20 of 43

21. 2. Which paragraph would benefit from the details given in the following sentence?

Sites like these, which have achieved fame and notoriety among slackers everywhere, were the motivation for TurnItIn.com and similar sites.
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Question 21 of 43

22. Identifying a Logical Conclusion1. Read the following short newspaper article:

As most readers are aware, our city has been struggling over the last several years to keep downtown businesses thriving. Locals often report that access issues prevent them from shopping downtown. Last week the city of Clarion reported in their local newspaper that the addition of two new parking lots in their downtown area increased the surrounding business revenue by 7% in the last year. It is also well known that Moville and Clarion are similar in terms of population and city characteristics. Moville is currently looking for ways to increase downtown revenue and is open to the public for suggestions.

What’s the logical conclusion to this paragraph?
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Question 22 of 43

23. 2. Read the following report:

Agent Smith is in charge of all of the canine teams in his sector. Fifteen canine teams are stationed in his sector. Most of the canine teams are located at stations along the border. Several canine teams are located away from the border in large urban areas. All of the teams must be available to travel to any duty station within the sector.

What’s the most logical conclusion to draw from this information?
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Question 23 of 43

24. Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

1. Choose the answer(s) which correctly complete(s) the sentence.

Inductive reasoning, or ‘bottom-up logic’, …
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Question 24 of 43

25. 2. Choose the answer which incorrectly completes the sentence.

Deductive reasoning, or ‘top-down’ logic …

 
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Question 25 of 43

26. Interpretation of Expository or Literary Text1. To interpret expository text, you need to ..
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Question 26 of 43

27.
  1. To interpret literary text, you need to …
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Question 27 of 43

28. Overgeneralization1. Which of the following are overgeneralizations?
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Question 28 of 43

29. 2. Overgeneralization is used to …
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Question 29 of 43

30. True or false?

1. You should always skim or scan the material before reading it.

Question 30 of 43

31. True or false?

2. Background noise can help you focus.

Question 31 of 43

32. True or false?

3. Read as much as you can in one sitting. You’ll remember it better.

Question 32 of 43

33. True or false?

4. Do regular self-checks on your comprehension before continuing.

Question 33 of 43

34. Purpose of an Author1. What’s the author’s purpose in the following selection?

The giant panda is a bearlike animal that has thick white fur with black markings on its ears, limbs, shoulders, and around its eyes. The giant panda feeds on bamboo forests at high altitudes in western China. It also eats bulbs, roots, eggs, and some small mammals. The cubs are born in late winter. The giant panda is an endangered species and is protected by the Chinese government.
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Question 34 of 43

35. 2. What’s the author’s purpose in the following selection?

Everyone should have a pet. Pets are very loving and affectionate. They help children learn responsibility. Pets give you unconditional love. Having a pet is a wonderful experience that everyone should know.
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Question 35 of 43

36. Summarizing Text1. Which of the following does NOT belong in a summary?
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Question 36 of 43

37. 2. Generally, how long should a summary be?
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Question 37 of 43

38. Supporting Details1. What are supporting details?
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Question 38 of 43

39. 2. Supporting details are required in what kinds of texts?
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Question 39 of 43

40. Synthesizing Text1. Synthesizing text is also called …
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Question 40 of 43

41. 2. When you synthesize a text, you …
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Question 41 of 43

42. Idiomatic Usage1. What’s an idiom?
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Question 42 of 43

43. 2. Which of the following does NOT contain an idiom?
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Question 43 of 43


 

The next lesson: Summarizing Text, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

reading-comprehension-tips