What is critical reading?

Whenever you read something and you evaluate claims, seek definitions, judge information, demand proof, and question assumptions, you are thinking critically. This type of reading goes beyond passively understanding a text because you process the author’s words and make judgments after carefully considering the reading’s message.

But why should you read critically? Reading critically means you are thinking critically. This shows that you do not simply accept the message on the page. You bring to your reading your own experience and perspective and use these to separate yourself from the text and judge for yourself what you consider important, logical, or right.

This interaction between the text and the reader is necessary because reading results from the negotiation of meaning between the text and the reader. By reading critically, you find out the author’s views on something, ask questions, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s argument, and decide to agree or disagree with it. Thus, critical reading allows you to enter into a dialogue with the author—–and this deepens your understanding of the issue or topic discussed. Therefore, to arrive at a sufficient interpretation of the text, you need to become a critical and active reader.