Critical Reading: Everything You Need to Know

This describes a reader’s capability to check, evaluate and ask important questions concerning the truth of an author’s work, as well as how strong the arguments or points of view in the author’s book are. Thus, critical reading is a more active mode of reading where the reader forms a deeper and more complex engagement with the text.

There are some key differences between merely reading a text and reading it critically. For one, reading aims to get a basic grasp of the text, while critical reading involves forming judgment about how the text works. Second, simple reading involves just understanding and absorbing the text, while critical reading additionally involves interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating it. 

Third, in the case of reading, the focus is on what the text says, whereas critical reading emphasizes what the text means and does. Fourth, readers go with the text while reading it as they take everything that’s mentioned to be right. However, in critical reading, readers go against the text to question its arguments and assumptions, in addition to interpreting its meaning in context.

To read critically, students should be able to self-reflect. They should identify the assumptions, experiences, perspectives, and knowledge they bring to the text, the biases they have, and question if they can keep an open mind and take into account other (often conflicting) points of view.

Critical reading also needs that students read to understand. For this, students should check the text and its context by answering questions like who the author is, when and where the text was written, who the publisher is, and what type of text it is. Finding what the topic and key ideas are, in addition to resolving confusion by looking up a dictionary or using other reference materials to understand unfamiliar words and phrases, are also part of critical reading.  

When reading critically, students can keep a journal to regularly record their responses and thoughts that they may reflect upon or consult later. This habit of reading and writing in conjunction will help improve both skills.

Critical reading involves critical thinking. This means students should analyze, interpret, and assess the text. Each of these processes will let them interact with the text in different ways, including taking notes, highlighting the vital points and examples, brainstorming, evaluating answers to their questions, describing features of the text or argument, outlining, opposing the evidence or ideas presented, reflecting on their own thoughts and reading, etc.

Choose your Reaction!