Can Active Reading Actually Improve Your Grades?

Good writing is good reading,” said William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well. This notion is more relevant now than ever as we create blogs, marketing materials, and websites daily. But how can we ensure that what we write is good? Active reading involves not only being aware of the meaning of the words you are reading but also being conscious of the techniques used by authors to convey their meaning by paying attention to details (i.e., punctuation, word choice, etc.). Not only does this help you become better at reading, but it can also improve your writing ability.

What is Active Reading?

Active reading is a process of reading that involves more than just skimming the surface. It is a way of approaching a text with a specific purpose. Active reading aims to get the most out of each text you read. A good reader can gain new insight into the text, understand its meaning and use it as an effective tool to solve problems. Active reading requires you to do more than read what’s written on the page.

Techniques for Active Reading


Skimming is the process of quickly reading through a passage or article. Skimming is an effective way of getting the gist of a written piece without spending too much time reading it in detail. It is often used to help readers find specific information within a document.

Skim-reading is particularly useful online because it helps you find relevant information quickly and easily. Most websites have different sections which contain different types of information – for example, a news website might have a section for current events, one for entertainment, and another for sports. Skimming lets you quickly find these different areas to focus on your interests.

Critical reading

Critical reading is the process of understanding, analyzing, and evaluating written materials. It is a broad term that covers all kinds of academic readings, including literature, history, and text-based research. Critical reading involves judgments about the material being read, such as determining if it is well-written or poorly written. Critical reading also involves determining whether or not the material has merit and how it fits into the overall context of what has been read before it. For example, if you read a book on history that contradicted everything you knew about history, you would be able to recognize that something was wrong with the book and not accept anything in it as true.


Scanning is the first step of reading. It involves glancing at the page while reading only the first few words of each line. This helps you to get an idea of what the text is about and decide if it is worth reading or not.

Scanning is a useful strategy for students learning English as a second language. Students still developing their reading skills can benefit from this strategy because it allows them to quickly grasp what the text is about before deciding whether or not they want to read it in detail.

Scanning can also be used by native speakers when they encounter a text that has been written in a difficult style or contains unfamiliar vocabulary. Scanning helps them understand the main point of what has been written so that they can decide whether or not they want to read more closely or look for another source of information on the topic instead.

The SQ3R method

The SQ3R method is a learning technique that involves five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review. Francis Polydore Gammon developed the process to help students retain information in their minds. It is also known as the “Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review” method or simply “SQ3R”.

The purpose of SQ3R is to improve the retention of information by making it more meaningful.

The steps are:

  1. Survey (or overview): read the material quickly and write an overview of its main ideas
  2. Question: ask questions about what you have read
  3. Read: Read the material carefully and answer your questions
  4. Recite: say what you have learned so far out loud until it is fixed in your mind.
  5. Review: return to each lesson after some days or weeks to repeat it.

13 Tips for Active Reading

Here are some tips for active reading:

  1. Prepare yourself before starting to read.
  2. Ask questions about what you will read so that you can get answers and understand the topic better.
  3. Understand the main idea of what you will read so that it will be easier for you to remember it later. Make sure you don’t skip any parts or sections when reading any text; this will help you better understand what is being discussed in a particular piece of writing or speech.
  4. Try imagining yourself in a situation described in detail in a novel or short story by using your imagination skills and relating it with something that has happened in real life (if possible). This will help you understand better what exactly is being discussed by the author(s).
  5. Include a catchy title that has been researched and well thought out; this will help your readers to decide whether they want to read your blog or not based on the title alone.
  6. Include an eye-catching picture or graphic at the top of your article. This is a great way to draw people into reading further down your post and keep them engaged.
  7. Make sure that you give credit where credit is due; if you are referencing any other sources for information, make sure you include them at the bottom of your article with a link back to their website or blog so that people can find more information about what you are talking about if they want to learn more about it!
  8. Use bullet points when listing things such as steps, benefits, etc. This makes it easier for people to read and understand what you are saying without reading through lots of text.
  9. Highlight keywords and phrases or whole sentences that you find interesting or important with a highlighter, then write some notes about them in the book’s margin or on index cards (or both).
  10. Take notes on what you are reading; even if you don’t use them later, they will help you remember what you read and make connections between ideas.
  11. Write down questions that occur to you as you read, then look for answers later in the text or ask someone else who has read the book (a teacher or friend).
  12. Ask yourself how this new information fits with other information—especially information presented earlier in the text—and how it might change your understanding of things (i.e., compare-contrast).
  13. Do not be afraid to skip around in a book—you can always return to what interests you later on if needed! If something does not interest you now but may interest you later, mark it.

Why is Active Reading Important?

It helps you discover the world

Reading helps us understand human nature as we get an insight into different characters and their thoughts, feelings, ambitions, and desires. This can be very useful in understanding ourselves better, too, since we all have unique characteristics which may be similar or different from others around us. 

Develops your imagination and creativity

Active reading develops your imagination and creativity because it allows you to see beyond what is written on the surface. You can imagine what could happen before it happened in the story or how a particular character may feel about something that has already happened in the story. This helps you create a deeper connection with what you’re reading and develop your ideas about it.

Improves vocabulary and communication

Active reading improves your vocabulary by encouraging you to look up words you do not understand. You can also use dictionaries to improve your vocabulary. The process of actively seeking out new words also helps improve your vocabulary. It also improves your writing as you will be able to express yourself with more clarity, precision, and accurate language.

It helps with building a good self-image

When you read actively, you can understand and retain more information. This means that you will be able to use what you read in daily life. Instead of just reading the words on the page, imagine yourself there, as if you were experiencing what the author is describing. This will help you build a better self-image because it shows that your mind is functioning at its best.

Improves concentration and reduces stress

As you read, thoughts about what you’re reading will come into your mind. These thoughts are called “verbalized pauses” because they involve speaking aloud or thinking aloud about what’s being said in the passage or book being read. If this happens while reading aloud, these verbalized pauses can help others who are listening better understand what they hear.

Bottom Line

Active reading is the cornerstone of active learning. It builds your expertise in the subject you are studying and encourages you to ask questions, reflect on what you’ve read, and think about how the material fits together. Active learning has many benefits for students, including stronger memory of the information, greater critical thinking skills, and improved comprehension and performance. And as technology evolves and improves, this will only become more true.