Chapter 1: Reading Actively
Active Reading Skills, 2/e Kathleen McWhorter Brette McWhorter Sember PowerPoint by Gretchen Starks-Martin
Use Reading to Build Academic Success
Approach an assignment positively and confidently. Plan on spending time on assignments. Define the task before you begin reading. Set goals for yourself. Search for ideas you need to learn. Stick with an assignment, using different methods of reading if appropriate.
Control External Distractions
Choose a place to study that is relatively free from interruptions and distractions. Choose a time of day when you are mentally alert.
Increase Your Attention Span
Read with a purpose. Keep a distractions list as you read. Vary your reading by working on different assignments. Combine physical and mental activities such as highlighting, underlining and taking marginal notes. Take frequent breaks. Establish goals and time limits for each assignment.
Active versus Passive Reading
Active Readers Tailor their reading to suit each assignment. Analyze the purpose of an assignment. Adjust their speed to suit their purpose. Question ideas in the assignment. Compare and connect textbook material with lecture content. Passive Readers Read all assignments the same way. Read an assignment because it was assigned. Read everything at the same speed. Accept whatever is in print as true. Study lecture notes and textbook notes separately.
Active versus Passive Reading
Active Readers Skim headings to find out what an assignment is about before beginning to read. Make sure they understand what they are reading as they go along. Read with a pencil in hand, highlighting, jotting notes, and marking key vocabulary. Develop personalized strategies that are particularly effective. Passive Readers Check the length of an assignment and then begin reading. Read until the assignment is completed. Simply read. Follow routine, standard methods.
Preview Before Reading
Read the title and subtitle. Read the introduction or the first paragraph. Read each boldface (dark print) heading. Read the first sentence under each heading. Note any typographical aids such as italics, numbers, or letters. Note any graphic aids. Read the last paragraph or summary. Read quickly any end-of-chapter material such as references, study questions, discussion questions or vocabulary lists.
Making Predictions While Previewing
How difficult is the material? How is it organized? What is the overall subject and how is it approached? What type of material is it? (historical, case study, theoretical, practical?) Where are the logical breaking points where you might divide the assignment into sections? At what points should you stop and review? Why was this material assigned?
Use Guide Questions After you Preview
Turn each major heading into a series of questions. As you read a section, look for the answers to your questions. When you finish reading a section, stop and check to see whether you can recall the answers. Avoid asking questions that have one-word answers, like yes or no. Questions that begin with what, why or how are more useful.
Evaluating Your Progress
Use the “Active Reading Strategies—New Orleans” module in the Reading Skills section on the MyReadingLabWeb site at
For extra practice visit the Companion Web site.
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