Active Reading

Active Reading

Author: Sydney Bauer
This lesson gives an overview of active reading.
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Introduction to Psychology

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What is active reading?

Rather than passively absorbing the information from the book like a sponge, the reader hunts for the information, and actively tries to better their understanding of each piece of information as they read.


It’s when the reader actively participates in the reading process by

  • Reading with a purpose
  • Asking questions about what they’re reading
  • Visualizing what they read as they read it
  • Taking notes (whether in the margin of the book or on a separate sheet of paper)
  • Defining any unfamiliar terms or phrases, or looking up unfamiliar concepts/ideas
  • Taking a genuine interest in the text as a whole
  • Making connections between events/topics within the book, and making connections to other readings or experiences
  • Keeping an open mind as they read, and eventually forming their own opinions about the characters, events, plot, or information




What does active reading look like?

Active readers generally

  • Like to sit upright, in well-lit places
    • it’s easier to take notes, stay awake, and pay attention when you’re sitting up and can easily read what’s on the page
  • Use a pen or pencil to follow along the line as they read
    • it helps keep your eyes from wandering
    • it prevents you from skimming through longer paragraphs
    • it makes the reading process hands on!
  • Write notes, questions, or thoughts in the margins of the book or on a separate sheet of paper
    • it helps you keep track of your understanding of the book
    • it makes it easier to go back and answer questions about the book



Active Reading

  • Prepares you to think critically about the book
  • Prepares you to actively participate in discussions about the book (rather than just listening to your classmates discuss it)
  • Increases your understanding of the book
  • Makes you a stronger reader every time you do it (and the more often you actively read, the faster you’ll become at it!)