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Mastering the Art of Active Reading. Brooklyn Technical High School Freshman Composition Mr. Williams. Learning Objective: To learn how to strategically read for understanding and analysis Common Core Standards:

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Mastering the Art of Active Reading

Brooklyn Technical High School

Freshman Composition

Mr. Williams

Learning Objective:

To learn how to strategically read for understanding and analysis

Common Core Standards:

RL.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.9-10.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Motivational Activity: In your own words, write a summary of the passage from “Child and Adolescent Violence at the NIMH”.

Many students indicate that a single factor or a single defining situation does not cause child and adolescent antisocial behavior. Rather, multiple factors contribute to and shape antisocial behavior over the course of development. Some factors relate characteristics within the child, but many others relate to factors within the social environment (e.g., family, peers, school, neighborhood, and community contexts) that enable, shape, and maintain aggression, antisocial behavior, and related behavioral problems.

Motivational Activity: A summary of the passage from “Child and Adolescent Violence at the NIMH”.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that many factors---some within the child and some in his or her own environment---can work together to create antisocial behavior.

New Words

  • Vocabulary Words

  • Amenable

    • If you want to see a change in our school, then write a letter to our congresswoman. She is amenable to the demands of her public.

  • Amoral

    • Prefix a- means “without”

  • Spelling Words

  • Guidance

  • Hindrance

Beyond the Summary:In a summary, one just presents only the source’s ideas, not one’s own idea or opinion about the source.

  • Active Reading means Analyzing what you read.

  • Active Reading means reading for Content & Style

    • Primarily, we are taught to read for ideas, not for craftmanship.

    • Craftmanship refers to how a writer writes, why the writer uses the style, and the effects of that style

  • Active Reading means Committing Time, Effort, and Interest

    • Read a summary

    • Read about the author

    • Find out where and when the work was published

    • Identify the intended audience

    • Collect your thoughts on the subject in the selection

    • -Focus on Writing

    • Read the selection

    • Circle difficult words

    • Place question marks next to passages that are not clear

    • Re-read the selection

    • Don’t just highlight or underline

    • Write down important points and your responses or questions

    • -Models for Writers

    Annotation is a Skill:

    What does the writer want to say?

    What is the main point or thesis?

    Why does the writer want to make this point?

    How does the writer develop the points?

    How does the writer’s pattern of development suit the subject and purpose?

    How effective is the selection?

    Does the writer make his points clearly?

    -Models for Writers

    Annotation is a Skill:Ask the Right Questions

    Exercises in Annotation

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    Rachel Carson’s “A Fable for Tomorrow”

    Active Reading Exercise: SAS Curriculum Pathways

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    What is intelligence, anyway? When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me. (It didn’t mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP – kitchen police – as my highest duty.)

    Asks a question central to the essay and relates his army experience

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    All my life I’ve been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I’m highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too. Actually, though, don’t such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests – people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

    Questions the meaning of high test scores. What do I think they mean?

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles – and he always fixed my car.

    Auto repair example. Any relationship between test scores and ability to fix cars

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I’d prove myself a moron, and I’d be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

    Sees intelligence as functions of roles in society. Good point!

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    Consider my auto-repair man, again. He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me. One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: “Doc, a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand. “The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?”

    Mechanic’s joke about “deaf-and-dumb carpenter.”

    Isaac Asimov’s “What is Intelligence Anyway?

    Indulgently, I lifted by right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers. Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, “Why, you dumb jerk, He used his voice and asked for them.” Then he said smugly, “I’ve been trying that on all my customers today.” “Did you catch many?” I asked. “Quite a few,” he said, “but I knew for sure I’d catch you.” “Why is that?” I asked. “Because you’re so god damned educated, doc, I knew you couldn’t be very smart.”

    And I have an uneasy feeling he had something there.

    Traps writer with question about blind customer.

    What point did mechanic have?

    Brings up question, “Are all educated people smart?” Not in my experience

    Exercises in Annotation

    Active Reading Exercise: SAS Curriculum Pathways


    Review information about the active reading process.


    Read an article and practice the active reading process.


    Complete an active reading chart to respond to the article. Then write a paragraph on how the process affects your reading comprehension.

    Mastering the Art of Active Reading

    Active reading will help you think critically. Formulating questions about what you have read leads to analyzing purposes and assumptions. What is the intent or agenda of the author and his or her point of view? Ultimately, this process helps you to understand and retain what you read and assists you in mastering academic reading. This mastery leads to a successful college experience.   These skills will also serve you well in your future profession.

    Any time you seek information through active reading, you are applying critical thinking skills to collect data and process the information for retention. In essence, the process used in active reading is similar to conducting an interview. The difference is that you will be conducting an interview with yourself as you interact with the textual materials. Properly applied, active reading skills will enable you to recall and apply information you read. As you begin to apply active reading skills, even when just reading for entertainment, you may find your experience is richer.

    -iStudy for Success (Penn State University)