How to Improve Your English Critical Reading Skills

Don’t Be So Critical of Your English Critical Reading Skills!

Although it may seem like reading just involves picking up a book or newspaper, kicking your feet up, and relaxing on the sofa, there is a world to learn about critical reading and getting the most out of any text that you read.

Critical reading is a very active type of reading.  It takes practice and is not something that you can perfect overnight, so be patient and understand that your critical reading skills will improve as you become more comfortable with the language.

Start with short texts such as newspaper articles and work your way up to more advanced reading.  Begin each text by considering the title and taking a minute to consider the ideas you might encounter in this text.  Read through the text and identify any new words or phrases and look them up in a dictionary if you have the time.

Now consider the purpose and tone of the text.  Is the author trying to persuade the reader?  Is the text informative, entertaining, humorous, etc.?  Once you have decided the purpose/tone, think about what the author is not saying.  Sometimes an author makes assumptions about who will be reading the text and the existing knowledge they may have about the topic.  Also, an author may imply something.  He or she may be expressing an idea or sending a message but not writing this idea out clearly in exact words.  After you have evaluated the author’s ideas and arguments, take the time to consider the information and finally form your own opinion on the topic.

As you can see, there is a lot to critical reading that may be time consuming and a bit more difficult than switching on the television.  However, taking the time to improve your critical reading skills will allow you to understand much more of the world around you.