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This page provides a brief summary in outline form of the much longer "Critical Reading" webpage. Feel free to print a copy of this page for your records. Click here if you wish to go back to the full text of the "Critical Reading" webpage. Click here to download a PDF handout of the same material below, or click here for a slightly expanded version of the same material.


OUTLINE AND SUMMARY:

I. PRE-READING
A. Preliminary Examination
Examine the Length
Examine the Title
Think about the Author
Preview the Introduction and Conclusion of the Essay
B. Classification
Classify the General Subject Matter in 2-3 words
Skim the Essay and Describe what Kind of Essay it is
C. "Seeing the Skeleton"
Spot Subdivisions:
Jot Down a Brief Outline of the Essay
Think about how parts of outline relate to the whole
Define the Basic Problem the Author discuss
Make Up a Few Questions About the Essay Before Reading
 
II. INTERPRETIVE READING
A. Look for the Important Words
Locate Recurring Words
Identify and Look-up Unknown Words
Identify Oddly Used Words
Identify Ambiguous Words
B. Paraphrase and Summarize
Paraphrase as you Read
Summarize What You've Just Read
C. Locate and Identify the Parts You do not Understand.
Mark Confusing Sections
Reread Confusing Sections
Talk it over with other Readers
Sleep on it and return later, if all else fails.
 
III. CRITICAL READING
A. Ask Questions
Talk Back to the Text
Question the Text
Question Your Own Attitude
Examine the Context
Look for Broader Implications
Figure out why it is important
B. Make your Mark
Make Notes in the Margin
Make Notes to Bring to Class
 
IV. SYNOPTIC or SYNTOPIC READING
A. Seek Confirmation
B. Seek Disagreement
C. Seek Synthesis
 
V. POST-READING
A. Review
Look again at the notes you took while reading
Double-check that you've answered your own questions.
B. Summarize
Restate the main argument and conclusion of the essay in a single sentence.
Summarize your own reaction to the essay.
C. Explain
Explain, in your own words, how the author reached his conclusion.
Explain why you found it convincing or not.

Click here if you wish to go back to the full text of the "Critical Reading" webpage.
Click here to download a PDF handout of the same material below.
Click here for a slightly expanded version of the same material.

 

 

 
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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2014. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated March 14, 2014. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.