Reading And Writing For Critical Thinking

Box 5-1 describes the general process of critical thinking in academic settings.

This same process applies as well to reading critically (5c and 5d) and writing critically (5f).

People generally read for two reasons—for relaxation or for learning. Reading for college courses calls for you to understand material and remember it.

When you read to learn, you usually have to reread.

The judgments and interpretations you make of the texts you read are the first steps towards formulating your own approach.

To read critically is to make judgements about how a text is argued.The steps in the critical thinking process are somewhat fluid, just as are the steps in the WRITING PROCESS. Examine the material by breaking it into its component parts.Expect sometimes to combine steps, reverse their order, and return to parts of the process you thought you had completed. By seeing each part of the whole as a distinct unit, you discover how the parts interrelate.Avoid approaching a text by asking “What information can I get out of it? Thinking about thinking is the key to critical thinking.When reading or listening, notice how the reading or speaking style and the choice of words work together to create a TONE (1c.4). In this way, you create a new whole that reflects your newly acquired knowledge and insights combined with your prior knowledge. Resist the very common urge to evaluate before you summarize, analyze, and synthesize. QXD 5c 1/27/06 PM Page 74 CRITICAL THINKING, READING, AND WRITING 5c What is the reading process?Reading is an active process—a dynamic, meaning-making interaction between the page and your brain.Actually, you already engage in this process numerous times every day.For example, you’re thinking critically when you meet someone new and decide whether you like the person; when you read a book and form an opinion of it based on reasonable analysis; or when you interview for a job and then evaluate its requirements and your ability to fulfill them.Understanding the reading process helps people become critical thinkers.Making predictions is a major activity in the reading process.


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