Online College Courses for Credit

Active Reading How to Read with a Purpose

Active Reading How to Read with a Purpose

Author: Kristina Jacobs

To offer tips on how to stay active when reading assignments.

How to stay active while reading. Active reading versus passive reading.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

46 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


What is your reading PURPOSE?

 Thinking dog


“I’m reading…”

[] to understand the material

[] to get a good grade in the class

[] to pass the test

[] to get information for my research paper

[] for pleasure

[] because I’m bored

[] to understand tomorrow’s lecture

[] to get ready for tomorrow’s lab

[] to prepare my presentation

[] because my professor requires me to

[] to  fall asleep

[] to understand the topic better

Source: Kristina Blasen, Image from

Active Reading Tips (Click Play)

This is a 6 minute lecture on active reading with tips on how to be an active reader vs. a passive reader.

Source: Kristina Blasen

“Active Reading” - How to Read with a Purpose


Reading is not just reading the words on the page.  When you read, it is important to first know why you are reading – to have a purpose. Without a purpose, students reading for an assignment tend to go on auto-pilot, skimming the pages with no recall of the information.


Pleasure reading is not the same as reading for an assignment. When you read for pleasure you read for the main ideas and for the storyline. You remember only what interests you. When you read for an assignment you are reading to absorb information, this type of reading requires a higher level of focus and takes more time. In essence, active reading is LEARNING the material and not just reading the assigned pages!


A passive reading approach would be sitting down after dinner and starting on the first page of an assigned chapter and reading straight through to the end. Lots of students do this with highlighter in hand, but then the page ends up almost completely highlighted and the reader doesn’t know what is important!


 “Active” readers approach reading assignments with a purpose and develop a plan for assignments that increases comprehension and retention while reducing their time and effort to complete the assignment (Slattery, 2005).

Source: Kristina Blasen, University of Minnesota Student Academic Success Services (SASS), Scott Slattery (2005)

Active Reading

Active Reading PowerPoint slide show.

Source: Kristina Blasen, University of Minnesota Student Academic Success Center (SASS)