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What are active reading strategies and why do we need them?

active reading

When students study at the college, they are usually required to read a lot of books on different disciplines. Needless to say, this takes a lot of time. For some students, it may be even hard or totally impossible to read everything, plus even if they try to read, it’s not easy to remember so much information. What to do in this situation? A good decision is using special strategies that will help you to understand and remember everything much quicker and easier. So, what is active reading and how it works? Active reading is just a simple reading information (book, newspaper, etc.) with an intention to learn and use something from it. Sounds pretty simple, isn’t it?

In this article, we are going to highlight the main steps of the process of active reading, review types of materials students read in the college, analyze why reading techniques are so important, and give you some examples of active reading strategies.

College reading materials

During studying, students are required to read various materials, such as:

  • Textbooks (academic books on various disciplines);
  • Articles (news and academic);
  • Literature books (drama, poetry, novels, etc.);
  • Nonfiction books (biography, history, etc.)
  • So, why academic reading is so important? Let’s figure out the main goals of reading all these resources:
  • Academic sources are written by experts and professionals, that’s why students get reliable and correct information they can use as a right opinion.
  • Students learn how to form their arguments. In all colleges, students are required to write many types of academic papers. They need to research a subject and read a lot of information before making their work.
  • Academic reading exposures different opinions and points of view. This is a good experience for students to learn new ways and understand how other points of view are different from their own.

Six active reading strategies: definition and use

We are going to provide our readers with six active reading strategies that will be helpful for you to understand and remember more data. Of course, you have to be patient because these techniques need time to learn. Developing of any skill requires practice. Now, read our list of reading strategies and try them!

  1. Mark new words when you read a text. Sometimes students just skip those words that are not very familiar with them, but this is a big mistake. Our advice is to take a minute and lurk into a dictionary to understand what a word or a phrase means. This is a great way to learn new words! And there are more things you can do here – during reading, take a pencil and underline all verbs or nouns you can’t replace with an acceptable synonym. Then you can write those words with synonyms and quiz yourself to remember them. Now, your vocabulary just got bigger!
  2. Always try to search the main idea. Sometimes you may be required to read some complex books where it’s hard to find a thesis or the main idea. It may be hidden inside the article but not given in the first sentence or paragraph. This is important to practice a lot. Over time, you will become a pro in searching the thesis of the book, article, or text you are reading.
  3. Before you start to read, create an outline. Take a couple of minutes and scan all pages of the article you need to read before you actually started. Look at the document’s structure to see its outline. This process reminds the reverse way of making outlines for your coursework or essay. This will help you to understand what the article is about, and figure out its content even before you start to read.
  4. Use a pencil instead of a highlighter. When you use a highlighter, this can turn your article into a colorful mess. That’s why we suggest underlining all the needed words and phrases by a pencil, plus you may use sticky colorful notes. With a pencil, you can underline or circle words. Later, it’s easier to remove them from the book to keep it neat, especially if this is a library book.
  5. Create visual maps and sketches. This is a great way to remember all important information quickly. All you need is to take a clean sheet of paper and make a visual draw of an article or text you are reading. It may seem hard, but it’s very easy! You will be amazed how quickly you will remember information with a visual sketch or diagram. In contrast to other active reading strategies, this method is more effective for visual learners.
  6. Making a short outline. This strategy requires making notes about a material you read. In other words, you have to rewrite all you are reading. Writing helps you to remember and understand information better. Of course, you need time to fulfill this technique but we want to assure you this strategy is very effective. Remember that you don’t have to rewrite just everything; after you have read a paragraph, think about the keyword that may represent it, and write the keyword down. This will help you to remember the content of the paragraph just by looking at the keyword.

We hope that our reading techniques were helpful. Of course, at the very beginning it may be hard for you to develop skills of active reading, but take your time, and everything will be fine. We also suggest having a printable list of reading strategies around, so at the first time, you could lurk into it to see what else you need to do.

Active reading and writing papers

Needless to say, active reading techniques can be used for writing papers. For example, when you are creating a research paper, you have to read a lot of sources, so your writing can be more effective with using active reading strategies handouts we put here.

For some students, writing papers can be a nightmare. If you have got problems with your academic assignments, a reliable writing service will help you to make successful and bright papers. Save your precious time, nerves, and money, and impress your teacher with a great work written by real professionals!

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