Critical reading is a vital skill for anyone who seeks in-depth knowledge of a subject and who wants to become an expert in a particular field. Critical reading means that the reader does not take things at face value, but actually engages in a text by asking questions and analyzing it. The ability to read critically means the difference between recognizing the words written in the text and understanding their meaning and importance.
Critical reading is very important for students as numerous careers require this skill. The ability to read critically helps to get into college and move on in the career after graduation. Most important standardized tests include sections on critical reading.
Becoming an efficient critical reader requires some effort. Here are several pieces of advice that will help you to enhance this skill.
Read it Several Times
A single look through the text is usually not enough to read the article critically. Depending on how long and complex the article is, you may need read it for a couple of times or read it more slowly to actually understand the flow of writer’s mind. So, what you need is to take some time and read the text slowly and methodically and repeat reading if it is needed to ensure you understand it thoroughly. Each time, when you are reading the article, you will understand something new, create new connections and notice new facts, which you did not catch with your eye earlier. So, the first step to learn critical reading is giving an article a couple of readings.
You can make a copy of an article so that you can use a highlighter for singling out important points, underline, write down notes and questions in the margins. If you engage in the article this way, you can easily recognize main points and important facts. This strategy also forces a reader to pay attention to the material and read it more slowly and thoroughly than just skimming. Besides, it helps to make the further analysis.
Discuss it with Others
Involving friends or colleagues in a discussion about the text is a good way to increase your understanding of an article. The more thoughts and ideas you gather on a topic, the stronger comprehension of it you will get. Maybe your friends look at angles of this topic you had not considered earlier.
If you want to become a good critical reader, you have to be open-minded. You should not have any bias based on personal feelings about the topic of an article, as it will affect your ability to read it critically. You should stay objective while reading an article and criticizing it.