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Academic Coaching and Study Skills

Reading comprehension during COVID-19

Under different circumstances, your approach to reading text varies depending on the voice in which the material’s narrative is written. You may have a preferred approach that has worked well for you in the past. However, as more cases become confirmed, you may feel the stress of the news weigh more heavily on your mind.

You may be finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on assigned readings, because of the direction your mind is wandering in. You may find it is taking longer to figure out which lecture notes you need to write down to study from. It is normal to feel unmotivated and as though you are in a haze during these times. So, in addition to the strategies this blog post covers, we hope to impart the following tips (Ostrowski, 2020):

  • Find a quiet and comfortable spot in your house/apartment to read in

    • Try to limit distractions such as responding to incoming text messages or Instagram and Facebook notifications

    • Ask yourself pre-reading questions such as what the purpose behind being assigned the chapter is or what the topic is

  • Look for the main ideas that the chapter will be covering within the first one or two paragraphs

    • Concluding paragraphs or abstracts also hold this information

  • Write “fruit for thought” questions for yourself upon reading each section of the chapter

    • This is a form of self-testing, which allows you to assess your existing knowledge base and uncover what you still have to learn

  • Identify and define any terms you are unfamiliar with as you read

    • These moments are good self-guided learning opportunities on their own

  • Pace yourself by reading in short sittings

    • Break up the chapter into bite-sized amounts (e.g. two sections per hour)

    • Remember, it is a marathon, not a race

  • Be kind to yourself and lower your expectations for productivity

    • It is okay to schedule in reward breaks to stay on track with reading challenging material

Chelsey and Cody


Check out our blog on Reading Comprehension:

How Can I Get the Most out of My Textbook?



Ostrowski, J. (2020). Improving College Reading Skills: Expert Tips and Strategies. Retrieved from