ACTIVE READING--Avoid Being Hypnotised When You Read
The term "metacognition" literally means "big thinking." For example, when you think about what you do when you are reading, you are really thinking about the way your brain thinks and learns. When you become aware of the processes needed to comprehend, you become a more strategic reader and can become more efficient at understanding and remembering what you read.
If you ask yourself questions as you read; allow time for brain-work; and make links to the outside world, you are an active, not passive, reader. Passive readers often don't remember what they read and sometimes feel "dumb." They don't know that there are ways to get the information they read into their long term memories so that they can use it later. If you read and then don't remember it, your approach to reading is probably mechanical; you have learned to move your eyes across the page and you might know all the words. But, chances are that you get hypnotised while doing the repetitive eye movments and in that mind state, you can't process information.
By completing the Active Reader Checklist early in the quarter and at the end, you can examine your thinking process and improve your reading, moving from a passive to an active reader by intentionally intervening with strategies for making your brain work differently.
Reading tasks include decoding, vocabulary development, speed (fluency), and comprehension. Readers run into challenges with each of these tasks--they are not necessarily learned in a specific order, especially in adults; we continue to gain skills in all these areas throughout our lives.
The Active Reader Checklist is below. Ask yourself if you do these things--each is a a strategy that contributes to being a strong and effective reader.
Active Reading Checklist--How You Can Become a Better Reader
___1. I become part of a writer's audience by learning about the writer, the era, the anticipated audience.
___2. I prepare to read with an open mind, not expecting to be entertained but wanting to understand.
___3. I pre-read by skimming to getting ideas about the subject, ask myself what I already know about the subject, and form questions I hope might be answered as I read (preview).
___4. I concentrate on reading, completing an entire chapter or piece in one sitting without distractions--reading as slowly as the difficulty of the reading demands.
___5. I use strategies for understanding words apart from using the dictionary--searching for 'context clues' or taking the words apart to understand the pieces.
___6. I stop periodically as I read to review portions of what I have read (summary and paraphrase).
___7. I make notes in the margins as I read and underline important information (annotation).
___8. I look for the writer's purpose for writing a given piece and try to become aware of strategies he/she uses as part of this purpose.
___9. I keep a reading journal to record my personal responses, knowing this will increases my comprehension and writing skills.
___10. To help me remember, I immediately review what I have read and then go back and review it periodically (review and reflection).
___11. I reflect on what I have read to improve my comprehension and to connect it to other parts of my life because I know this is how I learn.
How many of these things do you do now? Do you see that using these strategies directly affect a person's reading skills? You can make improvements in reading comprehenstion and remembering; which strategies will you use to improve your reading?