Every student knows they need to perform critical reading, but not everyone knows how to master it. Still, it is crucial skill while seeking for in-depth knowledge of any issue or subject. What does it stand for, exactly? It is a kind of reading that prevents the text from getting into your brain, as an indifferent list of proven facts. It requires you to look deep into the text, ask questions and analyze the information given. In studies, it helps you to get better grades on tests and complete papers of high quality. In the professional world, critical reading will discover the possibility to understand the big picture of activities or research in your field and allow you to weigh benefits and risks with greater accuracy. So, how to improve this valuable skill?
Read the Text a Few Times
Reading something once lets you catch the basic idea and only few details, but it is not enough for a deep understanding of the author’s ideas. Look through it once in a normal pace, and then reread the article a little slower, making sure you understand everything. You will be surprised by the amount of underlayers of sense you have missed for the first time.
Reading actively means actually working with the text by printing out the copy of the article and highlighting the main points, most important facts, unclear pieces, doublespeak and so on. Feel free to make notes on the copy, as well. You may also write down any questions you have or anything that requires some research.
Write a Summary
In order to have a finished picture of the article you want to write a critical summary about, include not only main points and the author’s name but also the main goal of the piece. You want to see if the goal was achieved or not, and what could be done to improve the article. Does it lack evidence, or the supportive arguments were too weak? Was the language too complicated or too simple for the reader to comprehend the text accordingly? All of this will help you to not only pay attention to the sense, but to the way of delivering it, as well.
Recall What You Remember
After all the work is done, take the article away and write notes of what you remember down. What draws your attention most? What are the names, places and dates that stayed in your memory? What was new to you? After this, read the article again and check if you remember everything correctly, also fill in the gaps in the notes with the pen of a different color, so you can see how much you have missed.
Discuss the Article
If you have a chance to talk about the paper you have read critically, go for it. Not only it will let you use the knowledge gained, but it may also show you the situation from a different perspective. Notice the points you have missed or didn’t pay attention to, and check them later.