Reading and thinking critically

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Reading across the Curriculum

Reading and Thinking CriticallyArts & HumanitiesBusinessEducationSciencesSocial Sciences

Did you know?The 2015 ACTs High School Profile Report noted only 46% of students who took the ACT were ready for college-level reading requirements (ACT Profile Report - National)

What is Reading Critically?It is NOT arguing with every idea encountered

It isCommentingQuestioningAnalyzingAssessing

Become an Active ReaderYou must become a critical reader to be an effective scholarly reader.The first step to becoming a critical reader is to engage with the reading by being an active reader (Smith & Smith 59).

PreviewHighlightAnnotateRead CloselyEngage

College-Level ReadingRead to deepen what you already know above your level of knowledge what makes you uncomfortable (opposition) against the grain (critically) slowly visuallyAnnotate what you read

What is Thinking Critically?It is NOT just accepting ideas at face value

QuestioningAnalyzingChallenging assumptionsForming independent judgmentsIt is

Using Critical Thinking SkillsThink in terms of claims and reasonsThink in terms of premises and assumptionsThink in terms of evidenceAnticipate objectionsAvoid logical fallacies (see the list in your textbook)


Writing a critical response essay Putting it into Practice:

A Critical Response EssayAsks you to read critically

Asks you to respond to what you read with your own analysis of the text

The text can beDiscursive:Knowledge obtained by reason and argument rather than by intuition (e.g. a scholarly essay, a journalistic story)

Non-discursive:Knowledge obtained by intuition rather than by reason and argument (e.g. a visual text, a commercial advertisement)

Journal: Critical Response PrewritingRead the text at least twice

Annotate the text

List the texts main and underlying ideas

List your ideas about the text

Critical Response PlanningProvide a summary statement.

Formulate some initial personal responses and jot down questions you may have about the text and its content.

Does the text support (illustrate or exemplify) its thesis (theme or topic) effectively?

Does the text persuade or not and why?

Does the text show obvious biases, flawed logic, or false arguments and how so?

Critical Response Planning

Critical Response PlanningWrite a position statementyour thesisthat you can use to center your response.

Make a list of arguments you consider (potentially) useful to make your point.

Select your strongest arguments, and arrange them into a logical order.

Critical Response DraftingOpening Paragraph(s):Include a brief summary of the text, your position statement, and the main points you plan to raise to make your case.

Critical Response DraftingBody Paragraphs:Follow the order of the various arguments you have listed.

Critical Response DraftingConcluding Paragraph:Include a reference to the text, a consolidation of the points you have raised, and the result of the reasoning you have applied.

Critical Response RevisingCheck to make sure that opening, body, and conclusion form a logical and coherent whole.

Look out for transition problems.

Read, revise, and edit again to take out grammar, mechanics, and stylistic errors. DONE!

Works CitedACT Profile Report National: Class of 2015. ACT. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology, 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2014. Print.

Ruszkiewicz, John J. and Jay T. Dolmage. How to Write Anything: A Guide and Reference, 2nd ed. NY: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. Print.

Smith, Trixie G. and Allison D. Smith. Building Bridges through Writing. Southlake (TX): Fountainhead Press, 2014. Print.