Questions for Critical Reading
A critical reader constantly asks one big question as he reads:
AM I REALLY THINKING ABOUT WHAT I'M
Break that question apart into many other questions:
CONSIDERING THE SOURCE
- What kind of publication is this?
- What is the author's background in this subject?
- To whom is the author writing?
RECOGNIZING WHAT IS SAID
- Had the author really said what I think he said?
RECOGNIZING ASSUMPTIONS, IMPLICATIONS
- Does the author make inconsistent statements?
- What has the author assumed to be true? Which of these assumptions are
- Does a particular statement depend on context for its intended meaning?
- What does the author imply? insinuate?
RECOGNIZING INTENT, ATTITUDE, TONE, BIAS
- Why is the author writing this? motive? purpose
- What is the author's attitude? tone? biases?
- Does the author mean what he says or is he making his point in a
roundabout way through humor, satire, irony, or sarcasm?
- Are the author's words to be taken exactly as they appear, or are they
slang, idioms, or figures of speech?
- Which of the author's statements are facts? opinions?
- Does the author write emotionally? using sentiment? horror? name-calling?
- Which of the author's statements does he support? Which does he leave
- What conclusions does the author reach?
- Of the author's conclusions, which are justified? Which ones are not
A critical reader:
- does not believe everything he reads.
- questions everything which doesn't make sense to him.
- questions some things even though they do make sense to him.
- rereads when he thinks he may have missed something.
- considers the type of material he is reading before deciding how much
weight to give to it.
- admits that the effect on him of what the author says may be caused more
by the author's style of writing than by the facts presented.
- analyzes arguments.
- discounts arguments based on faulty reasoning.
- has good reasons for believing some things and disbelieving others - for
agreeing with some authors and disagreeing with others.