The Teachers' Mousepad

What is Active Reading?


What is Reading?


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Active means doing something. Active readers are always doing something.
They predict, make inferences, and draw conclusions. They compare and contrast.
They evaluate and make decisions. Active readers are always doing something!
Active Readers and Good Readers. 
So if you want to be a good reader you have to get busy!

PREDICTING means to make a guess on what will happen. Predicting is a skill. Remember to develop a skill you have to practice. Predicting can be fun. You can make a guess based on what you know and what you have previewed (remember you do this before you start reading). Your predictions might be right or they might be wrong. Good readers stop often and check their predictions as they read.  If your prediction isn't right you can always change it! How cool is that! As you read, you gather information. As you gather information your brain is busy evaluating, making connections, checking predictions, and adjusting predictions if needed.

MAKING INFERENCES is another reading skill that active readers practice every time they read.  Making inferences might sound like a scary thing to do but it really isn't! It means taking something you know and connecting it with something you already know. Now, that's not hard is it?   You make inferences everyday! Your mom is happy when you give her your report card.  You know your mom likes good grades, so infer that your report card will make her happy.

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS and making inferences are a lot alike. When you make inferences you put information together to figure things out. When you make conclusions you are putting all the information together to decide what the story means.  You take all the facts you have read and make a conclusions. Here is an example-

Fact 1- The puppy is crying.
Fact 2- The puppy pushes at his bowl.
Fact 3-The puppy's bowl is empty.
CONCLUSION- The puppy is probably is hungry.

COMPARE and CONTRASTING helps you understand things better as you read.  Things to compare and contrast as you read are characters, setting, events or ideas.  You may have to take notes or create a Venn diagram to help you see the similarities and differences. 

EVALUATING means to give your opinion on something. You decide if something you read is good or bad.  Movie critics evaluate movies and let people know if a certain show is worth viewing. They back their opinions with facts from the movie.  Sometimes teachers will ask you to evaluate a story you read. When you give your opinion make sure you give the reasons why you feel that way.  I find it helpful to take notes as I read so I have my facts ready to back my opinion.

If you own the book or can make a copy of a reading passage you can take notes as you read write in the book. You can underline or highlight important words and sentences.

If you can't mark in the book, try using fun little sticky notes to mark
sections that are important.

Keeping a reading journal is another good way to take notes.  I like to add the page numbers I found the information on. That way if I need to go back and look for more information I know exactly where to go.

For example in my journal I might write:
Page 9 -The storm lasted for three days and many people lost power.

Keep a journal handy to list words that may be unfamiliar. Then ask a friend, use a dictionary, check the book's glossary, ask the teacher... what these words mean.

Active readers also react to what they read. "Wow, that was really funny!" or "My mom says the same thing!" By reacting to the story you will remember more!

Active readers ask questions as they read.  "I wonder where they dog will go?"  or "How long will it take them to reach the cave?"

Active readers create pictures in their minds as they read. This is especially good to do as you read books with less pictures.  This is known as visualizing. Use the clues the author provides to create a picture or series of pictures, like a movie.
Some things to keep an eye out for are...

  • Similes- using the words "like" or "as" to compare two objects- Her eyes glistened like diamonds in the sun.
  • Metaphors-comparing two objects without using the words "like" or "as"
  • Personification-giving an inanimate object human characteristics

  • Onomatopoeia-words used to represent the sound they make- VROOOM or BAM!
  • Vivid Verbs- verbs that show- you can see the action in your mind
  • Adjectives- words that describe objects

You might even want to draw what you see in your mind.  This will help you remember
more of what you read and provide you with a resource to use to recall events when
you are all done reading. 

Active readers stop often to check for understanding. Every so often stop and think about what you have read. Did you understand it all? If not reread.
Remember GOOD readers reread!