Active reading is not about the number of words you read, but the amount of information you retain from the material. The improvement of reading comprehension doesn’t mean coping with a page faster, but creating a mental framework to process information more productively. The tips given below can help you to become an active reader.
Understand the structure
Try to recognize the structure of an article, for example, introduction, body and conclusion. Analyze the titles and subtitles. The reasons why it is important are next:
- Getting the general idea of a text and deciding whether it is worth reading (in case it is not assigned by your teacher).
- Definition of the purpose. Aimless reading isn’t so beneficial as compared to the planned one. It can be done in the form of questions. Decide on the answers you want to find in the text. Thus, you won’t miss any valuable information and will be able to drop out the irrelevant data.
- Finding the main idea (thesis). In this way, you will focus only on the important information while reading. It will help you not to get into a muddle even when the material is difficult.
Read with tools
Use a pencil to underline keywords, mark essential paragraphs, or make some notes in the margins of the book without any damage to a library book.
Use a highlighter while working with your own book or a scanned copy of some text. Mark passages that bear sense and specify why they interest you. Next time you won’t have to read a whole article again to find the necessary part of the text. Be selective and try not to end up with a multicolored mess.
Use sticky notes to write your own specific comments, impressions or questions arising in the course of reading.
Expand your vocabulary
You probably meet unknown words sometimes. Don’t pass over them. Get a separate notebook to write down the words and their definitions and visit it often enough to memorize them. If you find the used language familiar, look through the text again and pick up the words you cannot replace with a synonym.
Compress information and organize it in a preferable way. Make notes using the Cornell or Mind Mapping style. Be creative: draw a sketch, a diagram, a flowchart or any other visual representation of the text. The methods your mind relates to can improve learning, retaining and retrieving information.
Teachers advise their students to read materials several times. Scientists claim that learners who read something repeatedly remember it better. Read the material twice. The first time you get a general understanding of a text. The second time you get a deep insight into the meaning of presented information. Practice makes perfect. Everybody can learn to derive the maximum information out in the minimum time.