Outcome: Critical Reading and Analysis

Although understanding is the foundation of all reading experiences, it is not the ultimate goal of most college reading assignments. Your professors want you to read critically, which means moving beyond what the text says to asking questions about the how and why of the text’s meaning. Reading critically means reading skeptically, not accepting everything a text says at face value, but wondering why a particular author made a particular argument in a particular way.

Proficient readers often ask “what if?” questions to help them read more critically:

  • What if the essay had started a different way?
  • What if the author had included different evidence?
  • What if the author had drawn a different conclusion?

The skills we use to for critical reading and writing are related to the skills we use for critical thinking.

Review “The Power of Critical Thinking” by Maria Mamah and consider the following:

  • What did you think about the video?
  • Did you watch it with a critical mind?
  • Did you question it?
  • Did you accept everything the woman said or did you wonder about why she made her arguments the way she did?

Learning Goals

In this chapter, you will

  • explore questions critical readers ask as they read
  • explore questions to ask while reading rhetorically
  • analyze a writer’s effectiveness in achieving the intended purpose.
  • learn how to develop a critical/rhetorical analysis of a text.