Reading critically involves more than simply understanding the information that the text conveys. That is the first step. But reading critically requires reading actively, in constant conversation with the text as you discern not only what it says, but how it says it. In the end, according to Dan Kurkland, you want to know three things:
To help you do this, take notes as you are reading. The goals is to give yourself ways to find patterns and key moments in the text. This is your initial conversation with the author.
Make notes that:
In the example to the left, the student has used red pen to mark structural elements and blue pen to make notes about and ask questions of the content.
Not only will annotations help you find patterns in the texts, they'll also help you remember what you read. So always read with a pencil (or its digital equivalent)!
Here is an example of reading notes taken in Evernote, with citation and page numbers noted as well as quotation marks for direct quotes and brackets around the reader's own thoughts.
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