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Do you find yourself reading the same passage of text over and over again, only to feel it fly right over you?
If so, then you might need help with your reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension adds meaning to what you are reading. Without it, the ideas, concepts, and thoughts you read on a page are just meaningless words. With proper comprehension, reading becomes informative, fun, and enjoyable.
Reading comprehension is a skill that you need to succeed in life. It’s also a skill you should learn whether or not you’re still in school. In fact, reading comprehension is a skill that requires continuous improvements throughout our lives.
One strategy that can help is to set and achieve SMART goals related to reading comprehension.
So with that in mind, let’s briefly define the SMART goals concept and then we’ll cover eight examples you can use to improve your reading comprehension.
What You Will Learn
- What are SMART Goals?
- Why Are SMART Goals Important for Reading Comprehension?
- 8 SMART Goals Examples for Reading Comprehension
- Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Reading Comprehension
What are SMART Goals?
Goals motivate us whenever we are running low. Having a goal gives us a direction to work towards in both personal and professional lives. They push us forward and repeatedly remind us of what we want to achieve.
Humans have been setting objectives and achieving them throughout history. In the 19th century, philosophers began to notice that many people were failing in achieving their objectives. They did not fail because they lacked energy or motivation, but rather because they could not keep themselves focused on their objectives.
But it was not until November 1981 that the term “SMART goals” was coined by George T. Doran. SMART goals enabled us to define our objectives in a more meaningful and organized manner, which helped us focus on what we wanted to achieve. With a narrowed-down focus on our objectives, our chances of achieving them increased multifold.
SMART is an acronym that claims that every goal we set should have five characteristics:
- Specific: The objective has to be narrowed down and clearly defined. It should focus on a specific and small area for improvement.
- Measurable: The goal must be linked to measurable criteria, which means there should be some indicator to indicate your progress towards the goal.
- Attainable: The goal must be something that we can achieve. The bar should not be set too high, and someone must have accomplished something similar in the past.
- Relevant: The goal must have a significant value in your life, and you should have a burning desire to achieve it.
- Time-Bound: The goal must be linked to a deadline, such as a date when you want to see yourself as having accomplished the goal.
Setting SMART goals is not too complicated, especially when you know the necessary tricks and tools. Our Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals is an excellent guide to get you started and makes setting and achieving your goals much easier.
Why Are SMART Goals Important for Reading Comprehension?
Countless studies and research have shown that we spend most of our lives on auto-pilot mode, hopping from task to task, every day, every night. We remain busy throughout the day and yet feel less and less accomplished every day. We never seem to have enough time and yet feel we are not doing enough.
Unfortunately, most of us like to live in our comfort zone, even if that means NOT planning or setting goals for the future. Statistics show that more than 80% of us don't even bother to define our goals. We often wish we had something or reached some position but never actually work towards it.
Most of us don't set goals simply because we are lazy. Others, because they are so pessimistic, doubt their capabilities to achieve what they are striving for.
A major reason for not achieving what you desire is failing to establish it as a goal. Once you have set your objective, only then can you begin to work towards it. If you don't have a direction, you will go in all directions and reach nowhere.
Those who fail after setting a goal have often set a goal that is too vague, unrealistic, or sometimes even irrelevant to them. Goals such as “I want to be better at reading comprehension” are vague and do not define the direction you want to take to achieve it. Since the goal is unclear, it will probably end up in the drawer and on the “things I hope to do someday” list.
Setting SMART goals for reading comprehension will help you define your ideas and objectives beforehand. Once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you will find staying focused on the goal much easier.
We all have to deal with multiple tasks daily, and it is easy to forget about working on improving our reading comprehension on a daily basis. However, a SMART goal can be broken down into smaller tasks to allow you to set and achieve a milestone every single day.
SMART goals for reading comprehension will give you direction and allow you to focus on your objective. You can keep your daily milestones in mind whenever you read something throughout the day.
So let’s review those eight examples…
8 SMART Goals Examples for Reading Comprehension
1. Improve Vocabulary
I want to improve my vocabulary to better understand what I am reading. I will try to learn five new words every day. Whenever I come across a word, I will look up its definition and then use it in a sentence to understand its meaning.
Specific: Improve vocabulary by learning five words daily
Measurable: Five words daily allows you to measure your progress daily
Attainable: The goal is achievable if the steps of searching for a definition and using it in a sentence are followed
Relevant: I want to better understand what I am reading, and vocabulary is a crucial factor in reading
Time-Bound: One day is the deadline for five words
2. Break Text Up into Chunks
I will take a break of two minutes after every fifteen minutes of reading. Instead of going on continuously, I will give my mind some time to absorb the information I have read. I will gradually increase my continuous reading time from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes in the next fifteen days by adding one or two minutes every day.
Specific: Break up large bodies of text into smaller passages to understand them better, and increase continuous reading time to thirty minutes
Measurable: A break of two minutes after every fifteen minutes. Increase reading time to thirty minutes
Attainable: The goal is achievable because I am making small improvements every day
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and giving myself breaks will allow my mind to refresh and grasp information better
Time-Bound: The deadline for taking a break is fifteen minutes initially. This will be increased to thirty minutes over fifteen days.
3. Information Overload
To keep myself focused on what I read, I will limit myself to reading 5,000 words per day. I will gradually increase the word count to 15,000 words per day over the next 30 days.
Specific: I want to read 5000 words per day to keep myself focused
Measurable: A daily goal of 5000-15000 words will allow me to measure my progress
Attainable: Allowing myself to build the habit of reading gradually will make me better at understanding what I read
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and reading too much can cause me to lose concentration.
Time-Bound: The deadline for reading 5000-15000 words is one day, and for building the habit is 30 days.
I will summarize whatever I read. I will write a 50-100 words summary after reading approximately 2000 words or after every fifteen minutes. I will consciously practice this for 30 days, and it will help me build a habit of focusing on what I am reading.
Specific: Write a summary to make sure that I understand what I am reading
Measurable: I will write 50-100 words after every 2000 words
Attainable: The goal is achievable as writing a summary should not be too difficult after reading
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and summarizing the passage will ensure that
Time-Bound: The deadline for starting a summary is fifteen minutes, and for building the habit is 30 days.
5. Skim and Prepare
I will skim through the headings and the passage before reading to understand what I am about to read. I will write down three questions that I am looking to get answered from the text before I begin reading. I will practice this habit for the next 30 days.
Specific: Write questions regarding expectations from the text
Measurable: I will derive three questions from the passage I am about to read and will continue skimming until I get three questions
Attainable: The goal is achievable as skimming through the text will give me an idea of the context and what I am going to read about
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and having questions beforehand will keep me more focused because I will be searching for answers
Time-Bound: The deadline for building this habit is 30 days
6. Reading Aloud
I will practice reading at least 1500 words aloud every day. This will help me slow down and break my habit of skipping over words. I will carry on this practice for 15 days.
Specific: Read 1500 words aloud every day
Measurable: 1500 words aloud per day
Attainable: The goal is achievable because reading aloud will stop me from skipping words
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and reading each word can help me understand what I am reading
Time-Bound: The deadline for 1500 words is one day, and for breaking the habit of skipping words is 15 days
7. Ask Questions
I will practice taking a break after reading for 15 minutes, ask myself questions like “What did I read about?” and try to define what I read in my own words.
Specific: Ask a question about what I read after every fifteen minutes
Measurable: One question for every fifteen minutes of reading
Attainable: The goal is achievable because recalling 15 minutes' worth of reading should be challenging but not impossible
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and asking questions will ensure that I understand what I am reading
Time-Bound: The deadline for one question is fifteen minutes
I will try to recall at least three ideas from what I read during the day. Thinking about what I read will help me retain the text and will help me understand it better. I will build a habit of this over the next 15 days.
Specific: Recall three ideas from what I read after a few hours
Measurable: If I am unable to recall at least three ideas, it means that I will have to reread the text
Attainable: The goal is achievable because recalling three ideas should not be too difficult if I understood what I read
Relevant: I want to make sure that I understand what I am reading, and pondering over what I read will ensure that I understand it better and retain it longer
Time-Bound: The deadline for three ideas is one day, and for building the habit is 15 days
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Reading Comprehension
Reading is not about going over the words. It is about learning, thinking, and reflecting on what you read. Passages of texts can transform into thoughts and ideas when read with proper comprehension; otherwise, they are mere chunks of the alphabet.
The key to accomplishing SMART goals for reading comprehension is to have them written down and revisit them every day. So if you want to take immediate action on this concept, then be sure to check out our 13-step process for setting SMART goals and also download the worksheet that we link to on this page.