Improving Reading Skills by Emma Xing In the words of famous author Stephen King, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Reading is key to knowledge and understanding the real world, and it is extremely important for students to further develop their reading skills. Overall, there are various techniques and habits to grow as a reader. It is important to constantly challenge yourself to read above and beyond your comfort zone. In my early elementary school years, I would spend a considerable portion of my free time in the library, going from shelf to shelf and exploring books above my school reading level. As long as a book piqued my interest, I would instantly devour it, and as I did, I improved my understanding of unfamiliar concepts and topics. New research encourages readers to explore a wide variety of texts. In other words, it is suggested to occasionally push yourself in order to learn. Another essential skill to improve reading is to read critically. In order to better comprehend the text, a reader should engage in active reading. For instance, as a reader goes through a book, it is important to ask themself questions such as: Which themes and symbols are in this text? Is the narrator reliable? What are the motives of the characters? In addition, other techniques include annotating, summarizing, and rereading. Reading deeply and analyzing the text can greatly improve a reader’s skill. Finally, a reader should read consistently. A reader should set goals and set aside time to read almost every day. In addition, keeping a reading list and discovering your favorite topics or genres can help make reading a more enjoyable experience. A person can take simple steps such as regularly visiting a bookstore, finding books online, or going to the library to find interesting materials to read. All in all, the experience should be pleasant as well as engaging and challenging. The importance of reading is undeniable. It holds countless benefits, such as an improved vocabulary, better comprehension, strengthened brain, and empathy. All students should strive to improve their reading skills, as it makes a big difference in their educational performance. It is never too late to read, learn, and grow.