Top 5 Tips to Help You Become an Active Reader
Being an active reader is vital for being a successful student. There are two main ways in which you can be an active reader. The first way involves the following steps: Survey, in which you skim the text to get a basic idea of what is being discussed; Question, in which you ask questions about what you think the section is about; Read, which is the step in which you read the section; Review, where you go back later and reread the material to ensure comprehension; as well as Recite, in which you verbally speak about the content you are reading. Another useful strategy is to create a question and answer sheet for the section. Create questions for yourself based on definitions, examples, section headings, as well as causes and effects found within the section.
Be an Active Reader
Being an active reader is vital both in terms of comprehension and retention. There are two approaches to being an active reader that I have written up here on the board. Both are fine, it’s just a matter of preference as to which one you choose. So I want to take a brief look at those two ways to be an active reader.
In the first approach, you start out by surveying. This means you briefly skim the chapter you’re about to read, and get an idea of what it’s going to be about. Then ask yourself, What do I think this chapter is going to be about? What do I think the author’s main points are going to be?
Then, of course, you actually read the chapter. Make sure you are comprehending what you are reading. If you have any questions about concepts or vocabulary words that are in the chapter you are reading, be sure to write those down and research and find the answers when you get finished. Now this may sound silly, but continue to review what you have read. About twice a week you need to go back and skim the chapters again and look at the main points.
Also, recite what you read. Now again, this might sound silly, but make sure you are actually saying these concepts out loud, because oftentimes we just employ the use of sight in trying to remember concepts. But when you actually say something, you’re employing the use of sight, speech, and hearing, all to be able to understand that concept so that you can retain it longer. The second approach is when you create a question and answer sheet for yourself. As you are reading, you formulate questions you think might be on the test and then you write down the answers to those questions. So as you are reading, look for bold words and then write down the definitions and examples.
Also, look at chapter and section headings, and draw questions from that, and then write down the answers so that you can review yourself. Always be looking for cause and effect. Any time you see a cause and effect, write down the question so that it’s a cause, and then write down the answer as the effect. In other words, you’re saying, when this happens, what happens as a result of it? And so be continually looking at that question and answer sheet to prepare yourself for the test.
So that’s a brief look at the two ways to be an active reader.