Reading Strategies

This is another post that is a retread of a previous one. 

This week we are looking at Active Reading skills. Basically, we want to look at how we read. I don't mean, "reading" in the sense of putting letters together to make words then putting words together to make sentences then putting sentences together to make paragraphs. Reading comprehension skills are important, but are not the point of the discussion this week. Rather, I am interested in focusing on the reading skills that allow us to get the main ideas/information from the material that we read. Also, I want you to look at some of the strategies related to marking in your textbook (or annotating) as a major feature in being "active" relates to being engaged with the text in a variety of ways.

Right now I would like to walk through a series of six strategies for Active Reading. I want to pay particular attention to the ways in which Active Reading strategies correlate to the principle of memory that we discussed previously in the semester.

Visualize: Describe the images you see as the author describes them. Use the details from the text to create the “movie in your mind.” This might be easier for the visual learner, but can easily be accomplished by relying on graphics and other tools within the textbook or other written material.

Clarify: STOP AND PAY ATTENTION. Summarize/explain what you have read. This is a great place to stop and check whether you understand the text. Read on (and sometimes even reread) and your understanding may change and develop. When you find the answers to any questions you have had, note them in the text. Summarizing the text could be done verbally or in writing. This means that you can speak out your explanation/summary to yourself or friend. Or you can write out your summary in a journal and use that to review/study.

Question: Ask questions about the text. What are you confused by? What is motivating the character(s)? Why are certain things happening? Questioning the text triggers certain areas of the brain for learning. Just like asking questions of a professor in a class benefits understanding, so does asking questions of an author of a textbook.

Predict: Try to figure out what will happen next and how the selection might end. Then read on to see how accurate your guesses are. Prediction is based on your ability to connect previous learning with what you expect to find. One of the ways that we are able to predict is based on pre-reading of a chapter and getting acquainted with various terms and concepts that are going to be covered in the lesson.

Connect: Connect personally with what you are reading. Think of similarities between the descriptions in the selection and what you have personally experienced, seen, and heard or read about. Also, connect to anything you may have already read or seen in media (movies, news broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, Internet). The ability to connect (or associate) with the material will affect our ability to memorize the material easier. Anytime we can connect personally to material we will be in a better position to learn and retain that information.

Evaluate: Form opinions about what you’ve read, both while you’re reading and after you’ve finished. Develop your own ideas about characters and events. Make a logical guess or come to a conclusion based from the story or text. Evaluation is the skill of the college student. Your ability to evaluate text and wrestle with information will lend itself to better understanding and comprehension.