When reading it is important to think about why you are reading first before you think about what is important within the reading. If I am reading a text book for class then I pick out the important details that have to do with class, the chapter, or what a test might be over. When reading for class, I think about what we have been discussing in class and how the reading might be relevant to our discussions. Also I read the chapter title and ask myself as I read what is important in this text that relates to the title of the chapter. I like to highlight the important stuff so I can easily scan later when studying for a test. I am always asking myself questions as I read. Sometimes I ask myself if I have prior knowledge about a certain subject or term, or whether I understand something. When there are things that I do not understand then I write it out on a post it note so I can look it up later. Then when I reread for test or papers then I know what that concept, or whatever, means.
If I am reading for pleasure then I pick out main characters and what each person does in the story. I am always thinking in my head as I read for pleasure. Some of the books that I read have complicated plots and characters, so I have to think about which character feels or does certain things. My favorite author uses characters across his books even though they are completely different stories and I often have to think back about what important details were in the other stories that are significant in my new story.
I think it is really important to have an inner dialogue because if you are just reading then you may not be taking in all the information the way you should. If you do not question yourself about what you are reading it is almost like you did not even read. If you consciously ask yourself questions about what you just read then you have a deeper meaning associated with what you are reading. It will be easier to recall information later on if you put meaning to it. Otherwise when you are in class and the teacher ask what you thought about a certain term, you may remember the term but may not have anything attached to it for it to be meaningful.