What is active reading : Becoming the master.
Now that you’ve learned all about getting your gear into action with the ‘tips and tricks of reading fast ‘, you are ready to employ that information in learning active reading. Active reading? Huh? ‘What is active reading? Glad you asked or we wouldn’t have an article would we now?
Hold on tight to your coffee and enjoy the ride… We’ re gonna explore active reading today.
Becoming an active reader is about your own relationship with the information. What do you do before you read? What takes place while reading and what is the outcome of that reading?
Preparing yourself before hand is as useful a step in active reading as is thinking about the reading after it has taken place.
Being aware of the steps in the reading process will help you to become more efficient as a reader. What is your role in this reading and what can you do to make the information you are receiving more powerful.
What can active reading do for you as a reader?
Why would we want to spend extra effort reading when reading seems these days enough effort as it is, finding time and energy to do amidst everything else we have going on. I mean some people can just focus on the material and get a pretty ok grade in an exam right?
You are right about that. You CAN still get a great grade in your exams. I even knew a really smart guy back in high school who used to study for an entire 2 years of GCSE exams in 3 nights and get ‘A’ on his exams at the end. But there are some outstanding reasons why this end is not the whole picture and we will tell you why.
Firstly, when you finish your studies and want to apply for a job, how much of that material is going to actually benefit you if all you did was memorize it? Active reading allows the material to actually become processed while it becomes digested. That steady climb for knowledge and learning something well, only comes with steady, deep processing and this requires questioning, note taking and looking at the material from different angles. This itself leads to critical thinking.
Critical thinking comes from a real analysis of the material you are reading from different dimensions and angles. You will not only grow in your understanding of the material taught and be able to discuss more intelligently and critically but will actually learn the SKILL of critical thinking. Critical thinking requires asking real questions about the information presented to us and finding answers from different points of view. You begin to change the way in which you think and that is like the level of the ‘Zen’ of speed reading that you saw in our article ‘The importance of speed reading’. The natural way in which we learn to read at a philosophical level. Who doesn’t want that? It is not that it is more difficult but that it takes a little discipline in regularity.
Active reading leads to good writing skills
Good writing skills come from knowing a subject well enough that it can be broken down into a logical process. Memorization alone, reading by absorbing alone will not lead to this end goal – quickly. The goal may EVENTUALLY be met yes, but why draw out this journey when we can cut the process down with good habits over a relatively short period of time. Just the process of asking questions, analyzing topics, concepts and ideas is the skill that good writers need – whether in academics or alternatively in prose reading. In prose reading also, you learn through analyzing the writing of an author to develop your own method to write your own prose.
Good speaking skills
One who can write well has learned how to think well, and one who can do both can speak well because he has developed many connections in every topic. In order to speak well, those connections only need to be tapped into and retrieved, but they are already there. Great speech writers have spent time writing their speech and this requires thinking about the subject first – EVEN in politics.
Expertise in any field
If you really want to excel and become a master of what you are studying or reading, you need to approach your reading actively. Once you can do this – You have earned and now own the subject. Why would we discount this process if we are reading the material anyway?
In this article, we introduced you to active reading as a novel approach for reading a text. Although most people think that active reading is only applicable to studying for exams or academic type learning, there is also a creative use – the implementation of active reading in the reading of prose. If this is of interest to you, keep checking in at readingjump and we will show you how to do just that. Until then read actively!