Active Reading

writing literature review link

Active reading includes highlighting, annotating, summarizing and being able to state, in your own words, what you have just read; the goal is to improve your reading comprehension.  

How can I start to read actively? 

Split your reading time into steps: before, during and after reading. 

Before reading:  

Preview the material by reading headings/subheadings, introductions, conclusions, and chapter summaries. Review charts or graphs contained within the reading. Google the topic and come up with questions before you read. This type of “warm-up” will help you prepare for what you’re about to read and provide some background knowledge before you dive into the text. 

During reading: 

Highlight, annotate, take notes in a separate notebook, jot down questions, or create flash cards or concept maps.  One of the best strategies is paraphrasing by reading a paragraph or a page at a time and putting the content into your own words in a separate notebook. This may seem slow and tedious; however, the time invested will help you retain information, and the added bonus is that you are creating a study guide which will save you time when you’re preparing for a test. Read actively in much the same way that you study actively, setting a timer for a focused period of uninterrupted reading. 

After reading: 

Step away from the material. Pretend someone has just asked you what you read. Can you explain the material to that person? Are you able to explain some of the material but not all of it? Utilizing this strategy will help you identify what you understand and what you need to go back and review.  

Works Consulted

McGuire, S. Y. (2015). Teach students how to learn: Strategies you can incorporate into any course  to improve student metacognition, study skills, and motivation. Stylus Publishing, LLC.