Steps to becoming a critical reader

It is important to understand the basic structure and content of the text you are reading.

  • Consider the purpose for reading, like gathering information.
  • Think about the title. What does it tell you about what the book or essay is about?
  • Reflect on what you already know about the topic. Do you have a preconceived idea of what to expect?
  • Skim the opening sentence of each paragraph under the headings.
  • Read carefully, marking the places you find confusing or significant.
  • Identify key arguments the author makes, along with important terms and interesting ideas.
  • Make notes in the margin or on a separate sheet of paper.
  • Question the sources cited by the author.
  • What is the one question you would like to ask the author?
  • What did you like best about the work as a whole? What bothered you?



Become a Critical Reading Pro With These Tips

  • Reading critically can aid you when studying for a test, preparing for a discussion, and more.
  • If you have unanswered questions about the text, ask your professor or discuss the text with others.
  • Consider keeping a reading log to help you track your perceptions about reading.



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