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What Are Reading Skills?

Reading is important. That message doesn't need to be repeated for its impact to be felt. Reading is present in many, many aspects of our lives. If we can read with better understanding - and faster - we can make our lives much more enjoyable. But how can we improve our reading skills?

Let's break down that task of improving skills. "Reading skills" include:

  • speed - how fast we can read. The faster we can read text, the more time we can spend on other tasks. In other words, we can get more done.
  • comprehension - how much of what we read we understand. There is little point in reading something very quickly if we don't understand it.
  • revisit rate - how often we have to reread a particular portion of text. If we read something quickly, but need to revisit it a number of times before it sinks in, we waste time. We might even get bored.
  • the ability to make sense of new words. This skill is more useful for beginning readers than experienced readers - depending on the reading material. Being able to work out the meaning of a new word is a fantastic skill, especially when a dictionary isn't handy.
  • the ability to pinpoint the pertinent information and skip over irrelevant content. If you are in a hurry to find information about a particular subject in a verbose document, focusing in quickly on "target" information is a boon.

In a nutshell, reading skills enable us to turn writing into meaning. The more quickly and accurately we can do that, the more time we can spend with out feet up with a cup of hot chocolate.