Carol Wood

The ability to understand what is read is one of the most important skills for a student to have to be successful in school. Since so much of what students learn is done so through reading textbooks, outside reading, notes, or written work, it is essential for them to perfect this skill!

There are several simple strategies that middle and high school students can be taught, then subsequently drilled and practiced, to improve their rate of reading, along with their comprehension. They are previewing, skimming, and clustering. (These strategies are appropriate for students whose levels of reading abilities are on or above their grade level in school.)



When the reading assignment is long and heavy and a student needs to have a general idea of the content, previewing is helpful. Students can obtain as much as half of the comprehension in less reading time. To preview, here is the technique: Read the entire first two paragraphs of the content. Then read only the first sentence of the next successive paragraphs, followed by entirely reading the last two paragraphs. Previewing gives a quick overall view of long unfamiliar material.

With sufficient practice of previewing, skimming and clustering, students will be able to handle more reading at school in less time, and perhaps, they may even begin to enjoy reading more!

Carol Wood is the Founder & CEO of Total Learning Concepts, Inc. Visit for information about their tutorial and test preparation services. For more information about Total Learning Concepts, Inc. please call 770-381-5958 or visit their website at