ADHD Reading: Tips To Improve Reading Comprehension

Those who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may face a number of difficulties. Among these can be reading comprehension issues brought on by typical symptoms like inattention and distractibility. Additionally, up to 45% of people with ADHD are thought to also have comorbid learning difficulties. Because of this, some people could struggle in both professional and academic contexts, and they might also find it difficult to read for pleasure. Continue reading to learn how reading comprehension and ADHD are related, as well as some helpful hints that may help those with ADHD better absorb what they read.

Signs of ADHD that may impact comprehension when reading A person’s reading abilities may be impacted by a number of typical symptoms of the many forms of ADHD, such as the following.

Lack of focus

Reading can be challenging for those with ADHD who struggle with inattention for a variety of reasons. For instance, after reading for a few minutes, they can find themselves near the bottom of the page and be unable to recall any crucial information. Additionally, this symptom may make it more difficult to ignore distractions, particularly if the material is something the person finds uninteresting.

Executive Dysfunction

Executive functioning—a category of cognitive capabilities that includes working memory, organizational skills, and task prioritization—may be impacted by ADHD. This may complicate a number of reading and comprehension-related tasks.


It may be challenging for people with ADHD to maintain focus and refrain from hopping around or multitasking while reading if they struggle with impulse control. They could get distracted from their reading by an irrational need to partake in other activities like munching or playing video games. Sitting still can be challenging for those with hyperactive or mixed presentations of ADHD in particular, which may make it more difficult for them to read and understand what they are supposed to.

Strategies to help people with ADHD understand what they read better

While there may not be a way to totally stop typical ADHD symptoms from affecting a person’s reading abilities, there are certain techniques that can help those who have the disorder improve their reading comprehension. Here are some strategies that might help with reading difficulties associated with ADHD.

Put the Pomodoro technique to use.

As a time-management tool, the Pomodoro technique divides more extended periods of concentrated work into manageable chunks, spaced out by brief pauses. Compared to self-regulated breaks, research indicates that planned, systematic breaks, such as those found in the Pomodoro technique, may have positive effects on efficiency and mood.

The following actions are involved in the original Pomodoro technique:

Select the task that you want to concentrate on.

Set a timer for twenty-five minutes, or whatever long you like.

Work on the assignment you have selected until the timer sounds.

Take a quick rest; five to ten minutes is the standard recommendation.

Reset your timer and go through steps three and four after your break is over.

The original method calls for a person to perform four sets of these steps and then take a lengthier rest period (20 to 30 minutes). Once they’ve finished their selected task, they repeat this process. People with ADHD may be able to improve their concentration and assimilate the information they are reading more effectively by employing the Pomodoro technique during reading sessions.

Think about taking an audiobook.

For people with ADHD, listening to an audiobook rather than reading a printed text may have certain advantages. Furthermore, research indicates that not having a physical text to look at is unlikely to have an impact on reading comprehension, despite what is commonly believed. Ninety-one participants in a study were divided into three groups and given the identical book. Three people received different instructions: one to read the printed book, another to listen to the audiobook, and a third to read and listen at the same time. The results show that there were no retention or comprehension differences between the three groups that were statistically significant.

While reading, make notes.

Taking notes could be an active way to actively engage with the subject and aid in reading comprehension. Take into account studies that indicate taking notes might enhance reading comprehension and focus. Taking notes while reading can also provide structure and stimulus, which can aid in keeping the person who are suffering with ADHD focused on their target.

A person may be able to highlight important elements that could clarify the content for them if they have a well-organized notes page with distinct parts. Writers with ADHD may also find it easier to avoid distractions and inattentiveness because the physical act of writing itself may be stimulating.

See a therapist for assistance.

Treating ADHD symptoms can enhance a person’s everyday functioning, job or academic success, and mental health, regardless of whether they are connected to reading comprehension or other areas. Attending therapy is one of the most widely advised ways to start the process of learning how to control ADHD symptoms. An individual with ADHD may benefit from the following services provided by a licensed therapist:

Providing advice that could enhance their capacity to focus on particular jobs

talking about and resolving issues that might be influencing their day-to-day activities or mental health

Assisting them in developing techniques like cognitive reframing and mindfulness could help them manage the emotional symptoms of ADHD

That being said, not every person with ADHD may be able to see a therapist in person. For instance, a shortage of providers in a particular location may lead to lengthy waitlists or a lack of service availability. Online treatment allows individuals with ADHD to interact with a certified therapist from the comfort of their home, as some find office settings to be overwhelming or distracting.

According to research, online treatment can typically be just as effective as traditional in-person therapy. One systematic review, for instance, examined the differences in therapeutic results between individuals receiving therapy online and those receiving it in-person, based on twelve randomized, controlled studies including a total of 931 participants. Online therapy may be a useful substitute for in-person care, as evidenced by the researchers’ lack of significant differences between the two treatment modes in a number of domains, including as symptom intensity, overall progress, function, working alliance, and client satisfaction.