Are you active while you are reading? I think surely you are most active because when you are reading your brain is working, your senses are working. You are interacting with a book or magazine or anything else that you read realizing the idea. There are more proven reasons why is reading considered an active process that I am going to describe in detail in this post.
Reading is an active process where the reader forms meaning from a text. We construct a meaning based on our prior knowledge and experience when reading. Each reader will create a different interpretation of a text as readers bring different experiences and knowledge to the reading experience.
Readers need to take an active position in their reading, asking questions and looking for points of agreement or disagreement with the author as they read. Therefore, there is no doubt to say that reading is an active process.
Why is Reading Considered an Active Process?
The term “Active” reading stands for asking questions, making connections, tracking down important information, inferring or predicting, visualizing, evaluating, and synthesizing.
Reading refers to the complex cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning. Reading is the action or skill of reading written or printed matter silently or aloud.
Simply, active reading means the reading of something with determination and with full concentration to understand and evaluate it for its relevance to your needs.
When we read, we communicate with the text and try to understand the meaning. Then we write down notes of important points. We think deeply and ask questions ourselves in order to understand an idea. When we do so we are active in reading that signifies reading is an active process indeed.
I will now dive deeper into why reading is considered an active process.
Communicating with the Text
We make an active communication with the text when we read. We make sense of the meaning of the text with our previous experience and knowledge. You become actively engaged in the reading process to make a connection with the reading material. Pull from your past experiences or those of others that you may have heard about and connect them to the material.
We communicate and connect with text in a variety of ways. For example, Text to Text Communication by comparing to pieces of written materials. We establish Text to Self Communication by interacting with the reading materials. Then Text to World Communication we make by realizing meaning in a practical context as a whole.
We ask questions ourselves as we read. If you read The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama, you will find the following lines in that book.
“I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.” –
The question that may arise in your mind here what is evolution? What is a scientific inquiry or why global warming is a big concern for Barack Obama?
Once you ask questions, your mind will seek to answer them and help you gain clarity. The main questions to ask what is your purpose for reading this book and what do you want to know after reading the book?
Whenever we read a book or a magazine or a text we track down the important information. In fact, we read all these to know facts or information or to acquire knowledge. In order to track down important information, at first, we make clear on purpose for reading. Then we understanding internal and external text structures. The internal text structure is the way in which a piece of writing is organized. The external text structure is how the text is set up. We highlight all information that considers important or worthy.
You are active when you are cracking down on information of the text. So these are reasons why is reading considered an active process.
Visualizing the Text
Reading is an active process because we visualize what we read. When you are entirely engaged in reading, an image may take place in your mind about what you are reading. For instance, if you read a text on building a career in Data Science, you should visualize data. This is called visualizing. These mental images are connected to your past experiences. Reading will become three-dimensional, and it will help you preserve information long after you encounter the content. It helps with guessing. You need to use your five senses to visualize.
We try to visualize the content maximum while reading something because the more we can visualize the text, the better we understand properly. The work of this visualization is an active process and therefore reading is considered an active process.
Evaluation and Synthesis
The final factual thing for why is reading considered an active process is that we are evaluating and synthesizing a text while reading.
We apply reasoning to what we read and the conclusions that we draw. Then locate the facts and opinions, summarize the information. We add our own thoughts to what we summarized from the new material. Analyzing the content. If we find the text challenging, take more thinking time to process meaning.
We make our own opinion about why we do agree or disagree with the information. And why?
The point is very clear to us now that reading is an active process. For the very reasons that we connect to the text, ask questions in order to understand the content that the author means. Read between the lines. Link ideas and draw conclusions. Visualize and develop a mental image as we read.
How to Become an Active Reader?
You can follow the following techniques in order to make you an active reader.
- Highlight keywords and phrases as you read.
- Make annotations in the margin to summarize points and raise questions.
- Read critically by asking questions of the text. Who wrote it? When? Who is the intended audience?
- Challenge yourself by reading for half an hour, putting the text away, and noting down the key points from memory.
- Share what you’ve read to someone else.