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Become a more active reader

active readerDo you struggle to remember things after reading them? If so, this may be because you’re not reading actively.

Active reading involves being focused on what you want to learn from something.

Once you’ve learned the tricks for active reading, it should help you remember things more easily, saving you time and frustration in the long run.

Check out these active reading tips and try them out.

1: Highlighting key words

A useful way to help you read more actively is to highlight separate key words in a text using different colours. For example, you could highlight references to people with a red pen, references to places in green, facts and figures in blue, quotations in yellow and dates in orange. When you’ve finished read the article again and list the key points you've highlighted.

2: Make notes in the margins of what you’re reading

Do this to summarise points, raise questions or challenge what you’ve read.

3: Be critical when you read

Ask questions of the text: who wrote it? When? Who is the intended audience? Does it link with other material you’ve studied in the course?

4: Make notes from your reading on index cards

You can use them to keep track of themes or collect examples to back up an argument.

5: Use sticky notes if you don’t want to leave marks on the text

Jot down some notes and make sure the note sticks out so that you can easily flip to the right page.

6: Test yourself

Read for half an hour, then put the text away and write down the key points you can remember. Then go back to the text and fill in the gaps.

7: Look for key words and phrases to help you understand the text

Phrases like ‘most importantly’, ‘in contrast’ and ‘on the other hand’ show where an important point is being made that you shouldn’t miss. This is useful if you don’t have much time to read a text thoroughly.

8: Explain what you’ve read to someone else

9: Record yourself reading the course material or your notes and listen to the recording while you’re travelling

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