You have ever heard your teacher say these words: ‘Now children, I am giving you a test on reading comprehension’? What does that mean? If you look it up in a dictionary you will find that the meaning of COMPREHENSION is: capacity of the mind to perceive and understand; power to grasp ideas; ability to know.
When the teacher announced the test, your thoughts went to the earlier classes and you started remembering all that was taught. Even before that you understood that ‘test’ meant some kind of a process by which the teacher tries to know how much you have learnt. Again, by ‘reading comprehension’ you understood that the teacher is going to give a test which would include a written text and you would be required to answer questions on your understanding of the text. Here, the test is on what you have studied earlier to see if you have understood the lessons that the teacher taught you. However, once you are out of school and your text books then you are on your own!
Suppose your mother asks you to set up the new mobile phone she has purchased and you have to read the instruction booklet and use the information provided there to set up the phone. If your reading comprehension skills are inadequate you will not be able to follow the instructions. So, it is imperative that you understand all that you have studied and use it in situations which use language you are familiar with.
Remember that the person who writes English has studied the same grammar as you and, therefore, if you also studied and understood your lessons you should be able to easily comprehend what is written. You can see from all of this that when we hear or read words we gather meaning from, or comprehend, them. What, when, why and how are some of the words that quickly come to mind when you think of comprehension. Read the text that follows then test your levels of comprehension in the quiz which comes afterwards.
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