Active Reading Strategies: How to Understand & Remember as You Read
- Use pre-reading questions
- What is the topic?
- What do you already know about it?
- Why should I care about the topic?
- Put terms on index cards.
- Highlight the main idea or thesis (usually in the introduction or opening paragraphs). Use a separate highlighting color to indicate other main points and a third color for lesser points or examples. Fourth color can be used for key terms.
- Make outlines, tables,flow charts or diagrams to see things visually.
- After each paragraph, determine “what it means” or what is the main idea AND “what it does” such as “introduces an opposing view” or “provides evidence to support argument.”
- Summarize sections and chapters in your own words, even if the book does it for you.
- Keep a standing list of questions- some you may be in a position to answer yourself after you conclude a section or chapter, others can be saved for class discussion. Has the added bonus of demonstrating that you have prepared for class.
- Try to form assent or protest arguments when opinions are expressed.
- Attempt to define key words that are undefined.
- Take the sections headings and make them questions. Section heading “The Gas Laws of Boyle, Charles and Avogadro” might become “What are the gas laws of Boyle, Charles and Avogadro?”
- Write your own exam question based on the reading or answer end-of-chapter questions that were not assigned.
- Teach what you have learned to someone else. Student Success Center study groups are always a good place to do this.
SKETCH OF A READING'S ARGUMENTATIVE STRUCTURE