Active Reading Strategies
Reader Reception Theory emphasizes that the reader actively interprets the text based on his or her particular cultural background and life experiences.
Annotating Outlining Paraphrasing Summarizing Synthesizing Contextualizing Exploring the significance of figurative language Looking for patterns of opposition Reflecting on challenges to your beliefs and values Evaluating logic Recognizing manipulation Judging the writer’s credibility Active reading involves
Annotations Your own marks or writings in a text are called annotations. They represent your reactions, questions, key points, outlines, summaries, evaluations—in effect, a conversation you have as a reader with the writer through the medium of the text.
Suggestions for Annotating • Circle words to be defined in the margin. • Underline key words and phrases. • Bracket important sentences and passages. • Use lines and arrows to connect ideas or words.
Annotations in the Margins • Number and summarize each paragraph • Define unfamiliar words • Note responses and questions • Identify writing strategies • Point out patterns
Take an Inventory Look for patterns and repetitions such as recurring themes or images, stylistic features, repeated words and phrases, repeated forms, examples, or illustrations, and use of specific writing strategies.
Outlining Paraphrasing & Summarizing
Outlining • Formal outlining helps you to distinguish between main ideas and supporting materials such as examples, quotations, comparisons, and reasons. • Scratch outlining helps to quickly summarize material and is sufficient for most critical reading.
Paraphrasing Translate the reading into your own words, putting quotation marks around any words or phrases you quote from the original.
Summarizing To summarize, write a paragraph or more that presents the writer’s main ideas largely in your own words. Be sure to fill in the connections between ideas to indicate the writer’s purposes and strategies.
synthecizing and Contextualizing
Synthesizing Synthesizing blends your readings from two or more sources. Look for patterns among your sources, possibly supporting or refuting your ideas, and write a paragraph that presents the relationships you find. Use quotation, paraphrase, and summary to present what the sources say about the topic.
Describe the historical and cultural situation as presented in the reading. Compare this to your own historical and cultural situation. Consider how your understanding is affected by your own context. Contextualizing
Exploring the Significance Of Figurative Language
Exploring Figurative Language Figurative language—simile, metaphor, and symbolism—enhances literal meaning by conveying ideas in vivid images and evoking feelings and associations.
Simile compares two different things by using like or as to signal the relationship between the two. Metaphor makes a more direct comparison by identifying two different things. Symbolism compares two things by making one stand for the other. Exploring Figurative Language
Exploring Figurative Language • Annotate all figures of speech. • Group figures that express related feelings and attitudes. • Explore what these patterns tell you about the text.
Looking for Patterns Of Opposition
Looking for Patterns of Opposition • Annotate for words or phrases that indicate opposition. • List the pairs in opposition. • For each pair of opposites, indicate which one the writer prefers. • Explore what the patterns of opposition tell you about the reading.
Reflecting on Challenges To Your Own Beliefs and Values
Reflecting on challenges • Annotate places in the text where you feel your values and beliefs are being opposed, criticized, or unfairly characterized • Reflect on why you feel challenged. • Analyze your feelings to see where they come from.
Evaluating The Logic of an Argument
Evaluating logic Test for appropriateness by checking that the reasons and support are clearly and directly related to the thesis. Test for believability by deciding if you can accept the reasons and support as true. Test for consistency and completeness by deciding if the argument has contradictions and whether any important objections or opposing arguments have been ignored.
Recognizing Emotional Manipulation
False or exaggerated emotional appeals • Are overly sentimental • Use alarming statistics • Use frightening anecdotes • Demonize others • Identify with revered authorities • Use emotionally loaded symbols and words
Recognizing emotional manipulation • Annotate places in the text where you sense emotional appeals are being used. • Assess whether these are unfair or manipulative.
Judging the Writer’s Credibility
Judging credibility Test for knowledge by examining the facts and statistics the writers present, the sources they rely on, and the depth of their understanding. Test for common grounds by assessing if the writers’ base their reasoning on shared beliefs and values. Test for fairness by analyzing how writers handle opposing arguments and objections.
Judging credibility • Annotate for writer’s knowledge of the subject, how well common ground is established, and how the writer meets and handles objections and opposing positions. • Decide what you find credible and what you question.