What does it mean to read actively? Describe some of the things that you do when you are actively engaging with a text, versus reading passively.

Expert Answers
corinnedolci eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To read actively is to read with focus and determination to understand and evaluate a text. Many consider "active reading" to be a synonym of "studying."

Here are some examples of what active readers do:

  • Active readers read when they have high amounts of attention, patience, and energy.
  • Active readers silence their cell phones and read in an environment free of distractions.
  • Active readers understand why they are reading the text. They have identified specific goals or points of interest.
  • Active readers analyze the structure of the text before they begin reading by asking questions such as: Is this fiction or non-fiction? What is the title of this chapter? Is there a glossary?
  • Active readers use a system of post-it notes, underlines, highlights, and/or annotations to summarize and question the text as they read.
  • Active readers write down questions they have and make note of words they don't understand.
  • Active readers chat about the text with a friend to check their understanding and share questions and ideas.

On the other hand, when you read passively the attention you pay is less intense. You may passively read in bed before sleeping at night or when reading a novel while resting on a long car ride.