Outcome: Critical Reading and Thinking

This module will help you become familiar with steps you can take to better understand any assigned college reading.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand what is critical reading
  • Evaluate thesis statements in texts
  • Evaluate supporting claims in texts
  • Evaluate discursive structure in texts
  • Understand and evaluate the use of rhetorical modes
  • Evaluate arguments & appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos
  • Identify and analyze logical fallacies

Why should we identify academic reading strategies?

Reading is fundamental” — you may recall hearing this phrase as a child.  A series of somewhat cheesy television ads emphasizes this point, such as this one featuring basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal:

However, as college students, reading can often seem less like fun and more like work.  The purpose of it changes.  Instead of reading for enjoyment, we read for information, for deeper understanding, and for challenging what we thought we knew.

“Reading” in this course doesn’t only mean the act of putting letters together to make words, and words together to make sentences.  “Reading,” now, means a set of skills we can practice and deepen, to make our college experience both easier and more meaningful.

The following video addresses how academic reading is a key component of inter-related skills that demonstrate mastery of critical thinking.

As this video points out, as a reader in college you will be asked to embrace a “healthy skepticism” for every idea you come in contact with. This will take energy and work–it’s much easier to accept what others tell us on face value than to critically assess each idea that comes our way. However, education in the fullest sense means developing the tools for this critical response, building it into an automatic reflex that makes us thoughtful, engaged citizens of the world around us.