How To Actively Read | Alyssa J Cori: How To Actively Read

March 24, 2021

How To Actively Read

I love to read (surprise) and I love to track my reading. Each time I finish a book and rate it and review it, I get a little rush looking at the bar on Goodreads that shows how many pages I've read this year. Last year was a banner year for reading because it was one of the only safe activities I like to do, and I expected this year to be another record breaker. While I still think it's possible that I'll read even more this year than last, I've been realizing that reading more doesn't necessarily mean reading better. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out this post to learn how to actively engage with the material you're reading and get more value

Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, the main purpose of reading it enjoyment and learning. I certainly enjoy all of the books I've read, but I haven't been engaging as actively in learning and retaining as I could. By moving on quickly from one book to the next without reflecting and truly soaking up the lessons, I felt I was shortchanging myself and leaving value behind.

I've been making changes to the way I think about my reading goals and have a few new habits that have been helpful for getting more out of everything I read. Today, I wanted to share these shifts with you that will be useful if you've been feeling the same. 

More < Better

The first change has been mindset related. While it's great to pursue volume, I've become more focused on reading "better." For me that means instead of racing to finish a book so I can get to the next and mark it off on Goodreads, I'm instead savoring the book more and pausing to ask myself what the author is really trying to say. 


I find it's helpful to actively engage with a book by highlighting passages that stand out. In the moment you can reflect on why it's important and how it contributes to the overall message. Then when you're done you can review all of the highlights to see how they build on one another. Using my Kindle to do this has been super easy, and Goodreads will store all of your Kindle highlights for each book (even if it's a library book) so you can have them easily organized. 

Written reflection

I recently found out about the concept of a "commonplace book." It's essentially a place for you to collect all of your notes and ideas across different areas of your life. Because I'm a digital gal, I created a "Learnings" note divided into categories: Life, Mindset, and Sales. I've started copying my highlights into this running note and adding my own commentary. This helps you reflect during and after you've read a book, plus gives you a comprehensive place to come back to for a refresh. 

Taking action

Depending on the type of book the "action" can look different. When reading books about career or mindset, I've started pulling out the best tips and things I want to try and putting reminders in my calendar. Whether it's an action I can take at a specific time, or it's something I want to ask myself at the end of each week if I did, I'm using my calendar as a vehicle to keep it top of mind. 

I've also found that when you highlight and have written reflection, it's easier to bring up what you're learning in conversation and share what's interesting to you. This is another way to take action and reinforce the value of your reading. 

How do you actively engage with your reading? Any other tips for getting the most out of time spent learning?

-Alyssa J

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