Monday, February 17, 2014

Active reading

Last semester, I was enrolled in a very intense college reading and writing course. We read many difficult essays and wrote about them. The course encouraged active, engaged reading. The type of reading that causes one to really dig into a piece, and work with it.

I consider myself an active, engaged reader. This is the fun of reading—it's a game of give and take, active, not passive, reading. Reading where you contribute much to the meaning and interpretation of the piece. This type of reading means the engagement with a text is a unique experience—every reader will have a different encounter with a text.

Strong reading is not just reading—it's also thinking and writing. The best writing invites this collaboration. As a collaborator, I take the text as a starting point, and spin off into my own ideas, related or unrelated to the text. Reading in this way is an active act of creation.

I often find that I write to get my own thoughts out, to work out my own thoughts about a text. The process of writing helps me digest the information. Writing is often a process of discovery. I'm often surprised by what I write, and I often learn interesting things about what I think about something, and how my mind works.

Reading enriches our lives. Ultimately, this kind of reading changes us. We become better, sharper, deeper thinkers through strong, active reading of challenging works. And this will help us in every endeavor in life.


Dave Roel.
I'm a big fan of pretension. It means trying to exceed your grasp. Which is how things grow.
- Warren Ellis

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