The benefits of active reading

img_-121A message by Murtaza Farjad, a senior instructor at Star Educational Society

The typical method used by Afghans especially Afghan students is to read a text and memorize the contents of the text. Moreover, teachers carelessly expect their students to memorize the exact contents of the books they read. What is more catastrophic is that the answers for the questions on the test papers should contain the same words from the book. If any students don’t use the same words from the text book, they will lose number. However, some of the teachers are aware of its destructive potentials. It seems that they are blind of the fact that demanding students to memorize the exact data given in the text book may weaken or even damage students’ creativity though the purpose of educating is to raise innovative minds. Nonetheless, we all know reading has three steps which can be categorized as reading, analyzing and giving feedback.

Making leaners passively memorize the content of a book can cause them grow passive thinkers, passive readers and inactive. Similarly, it kills students’ inner eternal essence and potential of being creative. This may hamper students’ awareness to the realm of the book and may snatch learners’ desire to move beyond the territory of what they read. Passive reading creates boundaries among real life ongoing events and book realities. This disables students to compare the facts given in the books to the real life issues. Passive reading also restrains students’ ability to fertilize their mind and utilize what they have learned.

Comparing to other countries in the world, Afghanistan has the lowest and most calamitous academic merit and qualification. This is not because Afghans are mentally backward, rather it is because our educational system is passive. There is no attempt to change the old educational system and move towards development and invention. The current educational system will only change students to data storage but not to a creative bunch of well-educated generation.

However, we all know that creativity is the result of contemplation and meditation. Where there is no sense of contemplation, there is no sign of creativity. Thus, I can say that contemplation and creativity are strongly correlated. Active reading can cause contemplation and meditation which may result in invention and creativity. As I stated before, active reading, which can cause active thinking, contains three steps. The first step is the usual style of reading any texts that can provide us an overall image of what we have read in the prospective book. The second step is analyzing the data you gain from the book and comparing and judging the data based on the clues you have. The last step is giving feedback which means stating your own opinion about what you have gotten from the book. This third step also may end up in developing new ideas.

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The above mentioned steps of reading can train students’ mind to be active and critical. Critical thinking can help us come up with new ideas and overcome our daily and serious problems professionally and practically. Critical reading and critical thinking simultaneously can hone our understanding of the subject and make us develop new theories. Moreover, the more educated we are, the more qualified and tactful we are. Active reading and thinking can enhance our personal skills and social awareness including relationships.

All phenomena in the world have a sort of conscious connections and these relations and tides can only be perceived by keen minds which are trained to be curious an sharp through many years of active reading and thinking. Nothing will appear when there is no desire for it. Similarly, information, facts and realities manifest when you are curious about and have tendency to grasp. Tendency and curiosity can flourish in one’s mind by practicing active and critical reading and thinking. Noble idea may exude like water from the peaks of one’s mind if he or she trains his or her mind to be active and critical.

It is all about how you read something. Your understanding of an issue, your idea about social life and personal skills and your attitude towards problems and new ideas can all reveal how well-educated you are. Not the one who reads many books is educated, but the one who reads actively and critically is undoubtedly well-educated. In other words, the number of books you read can’t determine your qualification and awareness, but how critically, productively and efficiently you read and think really matters.