There are different reading strategies you can use:
You use this strategy before actually reading a text. In your native language you use this strategy automatically. One can think of buying a magazine. You look at the cover (headlines, pictures) and you predict what is going to be in the magazine. If you already know something about the subject, you can easily predict what the text is about. Click here for a prediction exercise.
This strategy is used for globally understanding a text. Details are not important. So, if you don't understand a few words in the text, you can still understand what the text is about in general. You can skim by reading the title, the first and last paragraph of the text. Most of the time it is not difficult to predict what is in the middle. The structure of a text consists of an introduction (first paragraph), several paragraphs (the middle) and a conclusion (last paragraph). Click here and here for a skimming exercise.
Scanning is used for quickly finding some detailed information. You don't have to read the whole text. This strategy saves you a lot of time. You can scan a text on, for instance, a date of birth. Instead of reading the entire text you just look for words like: August or 1978. Click here for a scanning exercise.
You might not know all the words in the text. If not, using context might be very useful. Read the entire paragraph the unfamiliar word is in. Through context you might be able to uncover the meaning of that word. Click here for a context exercise.
You can use the above mentioned reading strategies to improve your reading skills. Practise easy and short texts first, before reading longer and more difficult ones.You can practise your reading skills by clicking here