Dan Kurland's    www.criticalreading.com
Reading and Writing Ideas As Well As Words

Questions/ Comments      Home Page

How the Language Really Works:
The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing
Reading / Writing
Critical Reading
Ways to Read

Return to Steps Menu

The Goal or Assignment: How Will You Read?

We read differently for different purposes and different forms of accountability. [See: Three Ways to Read and Discuss Texts]

To know what to look for, you have to know what you want to find. Your reading should therefore be purposeful: you should know what you are doing, what you want to come away with, and how you intend to achieve that goal.

How much are you going to read?

  • Will you read a specific portion or simply read until you want to stop?
  • How many pages are involved?   You need to know how far you are going to pace yourself.

Is there a specific assignment?

  • Are you reading for entertainment, to memorize formulas and definitions, to gain a broad understanding of ideas, to answer questions, or to do exercises?
  • Do you need to prepare notes for a paper, memorize terms for a test, or achieve a general understanding for class discussion?

How will you be held accountable, by yourself and/or by others?

  • How will you test your understanding?
  • How will someone else test your understanding?

What schedule will you follow?

  • When will you work?
  • When will you take a break?
  • How will you divide the work to fit the allotted time?
  • How will you reward yourself along the way?
It is often hard to find time for even short assignments. Reading that you find difficult or boring may best be divided into a number of shorter periods. The amount of time available, or allotted, and how you pace yourself will influence the depth of your analysis.

What study techniques will you utilize?

How will you go about the reading process?
  • Will you underline, highlight, or make marginal notes?
  • Will you take notes, summarize, make diagrams, or do exercises?
Traditional study plans such as SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) and PQ4R (Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review) involve activities such as
  • scanning the Introductions and Prefaces
  • examining the Table of Contents or headings,
  • previewing sections,
  • reading abstracts or summaries first,
  • asking yourself questions,
  • reciting important passages, and
  • rereading or reviewing sections.
Activities to force or reinforce understanding include
  • preview/survey: scan the overall text to see the nature of the discussion and where it start and ends
  • restate main ideas
  • recite
  • write a synopsis
Study behaviors such as these alone will not enable you to read more critically, but they can help maximize your reading efforts. [See A Linguistic Approach To Reading and Writing]

Return to Steps Menu

Reading / Writing
Critical Reading
Ways to Read

Copyright © 2000 by Daniel J. Kurland.  All rights reserved.
This Web page may be linked to other Web pages. Please inform the author

Questions/ Comments   |   Homepage

Dan Kurland's    www.criticalreading.com