7 Active Reading Techniques for Students
Active reading strategies can help students in focusing on and retaining information. But you need to make some effort and some time to develop this skill. You can follow these active reading techniques to get started.
Identify Unfamiliar Words
Many times we tend to skip words that we do not know very well. While you are reading, observe unfamiliar words. Underline every verb or noun for which you are not able to write a synonym.
Open a logbook and write down all these words and their definitions in it. Revisit it many times and learn all the meanings.
Look for the Thesis or Main Idea
As the reading levels increase, the reading materials are likely to become more complex. The initial sentence may not contain the main idea. You may find the thesis in the next paragraph or page two. Every time you read an article or text, you should try to find the main idea.
Sketch and Draw
You can create Venn diagrams, timelines, mind maps, or sketches to represent whatever material you are reading. They can be useful for you, especially if you are a visual learner. Take a plain paper and represent the chapter or book you are reading in a visual form. You will be surprised to see the amount of difference this makes in remembering details and retaining information.
Make a Preliminary Outline
If you are about to read a difficult chapter or book, first look at the subtitles or transition words between the paragraphs. Use this information to create an outline. It will help you to grasp the information in a better manner.
Create a Shrinking Outline
To make this type of outline, you will have to re-write the material that you see. This exercise needs a lot of time. Write some paragraphs then find one keyword for each paragraph that can convey the message of that paragraph. Note down the keywords in the margins.
After that, read all the keywords and try to recollect the content of each paragraph. If you cannot do it, read it once again and find a more appropriate keyword for it.
If the text is large, you can make clumps of keywords and use one acronym or word to represent them.
Use Sticky Notes and a Pencil While Reading
Some students like to use highlighters while reading. But they make the material untidy and messy by using plenty of colors. Instead of this, sticky notes and a pencil are more useful. You can underline and circle the words with a pencil or write their definitions in the margin. If you are using a book that you have borrowed from the library, you can mark pages with sticky notes and write notes with a pencil.
Read Several Times
According to scientific findings, a person retains more if they read the material repeatedly. So you can read the material once to understand the information it contains. Then read it at least once more to grasp and retain the information.
What did we miss?