ACTIVE OR PASSIVE? Are you an active or passive reader? Active readers use strategies aimed at building connections.* Passive readers learn in piecemeal fashion, one idea at a time.* (*Adapted from Kiewra, K. A., & Dubois, N. F. (1998). Learning to learn: Making the transition from student to lifelong learner. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.) How many of these sentences describe how you read? I grab my text and read. I start at page one and read until the end. I highlight all the important information in yellow. I read everything at the same speed. I believe everything I read. If I don’t understand something, I read it again. I read and then write notes on what is in the textbook. When I read, I try to memorize all the important information. Passive reading is ineffective and time-consuming. It can also lead to frustration and a lack of desire to continue reading. Active reading requires “will” and “skill” – you have to want to read, and you need to learn and use effective reading strategies. PRE-READING STRATEGIES (*Adapted from McWhorter, K. T. (1995). College reading and study skills. New York, NY: HarperCollins.) Survey the Chapter - Your goal is to become familiar with the material, and to activate your thinking: - Read the title and subtitle. - Read the introduction or first paragraph. - Read each major heading. - Read the first sentence under each heading. - Read the last paragraph or the summary. Budget Time - Now based on your survey, decide how much time you will need to read the chapter. - Consider the length of the text, its density, and its difficulty. - Schedule the time in so that when you read, your goal is to understand the material. Make a Map of the Chapter - On a “sticky note,” list headings, subheadings, and terms from the chapter. - Writing things down will reinforce what you’ve read. - You can also take the list to class for reference during the lecture. STRATEGIES DURING READING Use Visual Cues - Let the visual layout of the textbook help you decide what to read. - Often, examples are indented, separated, or in italics. - If you understand a concept, you may not need to read all the examples provided. - Decide for yourself which sections of the chapter are necessary to read. Give the Information a “Title” - When you’ve read a paragraph, a few paragraphs, half a page, or a whole page, and you aren’t clear on what you’ve covered, give the information a “title.” - Write your title down and go back to confirm that it matches the information provided. - Otherwise, you’ll be rereading and rereading without focus or purpose. Mark the Text - Read with a pencil in your hand and mark important information using symbols. - For example, draw a box around the main theme, underline the sub-themes, and circle the details. - This will assist you with maintaining concentration and attention. POST-READING STRATEGIES Many students take notes from the textbook after they have read the chapter. The key is not to make a second set of notes that you will need to study from. Consolidate the information from the textbook with the corresponding lecture notes – then, you’ll have a complete set of notes. You can do this by adding a page, writing in the margin, or on the back of the page. Generate Representations* - What structure does the information “lend” itself to? - Can you reorganize the information into a table, flowchart, timeline, diagram, etc.? Generate a Final Summary* - What conclusions can you draw about what you’ve just read? - List the main ideas of the chapter or write a short summary. Compile Questions* - Do you have any questions about what you’ve just read? - Are there any gaps in the information from your notes and the textbook?