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Become an Active Reader... It’s Easier Than You Think!

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

What’s the difference between active and passive reading? Active readers think as they read so their comprehension is usually quite good. Passive readers, on the other hand, read without thinking, so they often struggle with comprehension. If you’ve ever gotten to the end of a paragraph or the bottom of a page and thought, “I have no idea what I just read,” you were probably reading passively.

Are active readers more intelligent than passive readers? No. One’s IQ has nothing to do with whether a person reads passively or actively. Reading passively is just a bad habit that can be changed. Many passive readers developed this habit when they first learned to read. They put ALL of their energy into sounding out words – their purpose was to read each word correctly. As their reading skills improved, they continued their habit of just reading words, without thinking about the ideas those words expressed. Perhaps they were even encouraged with comments like these: “You’re such a great reader. You read every word correctly. You didn’t make a single mistake on the entire passage!”

Why do some people enjoy reading and others find it boring? People who enjoy reading easily comprehend what they read because reading and comprehending is a single, unified task. For them, thinking as they read is an automatic process, a habit they likely developed when they first learned to read. Passive readers often lose interest in reading or never develop a desire to read because there is really no point in just reading a bunch of words.

Can passive readers become active readers? Is there a way to teach someone how to enjoy what they read? Yes! Passive reading is just an ineffective habit. Anyone can become an active reader; all one needs to do is learn a new habit. When a habit is repeated enough times, the action becomes automatic. Reading Comprehension: Books One, Two, and Three is a 3-book series that directly teaches students how to read and think at the same time. This series is NOT a traditional reading comprehension book that has students read passages and answer comprehension questions. At first glance, this series might appear to be an English grammar book. Students spend a lot of time in Book One finding the subject and verb in individual sentences because the subject and verb is the main idea of every sentence. When students master this skill – when they’ve repeated it enough times – they will automatically and unconsciously think about the subject and verb as they read each sentence. This is when the magic happens. This is how students systematically develop a new, effective way to read and comprehend. By the time students have completed all three books, their only reading challenge will be deciding which genre they enjoy reading the most!

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