To become fluent in English does not only mean the ability to speak like a native speaker and understand the spoken word, but as well as the capacity to understand written texts, and the competency to express our thoughts in written form.
If you have trouble understanding reading assignments or writing essays or papers in English, follow our blog, where you will learn – over the course of the following weeks - tips on how to become successful.
The topic of this blog will be "Critical Thinking Through Reading."
So, what does it mean to think critically? When you think critically, you examine ideas fully and logically, weigh multiple perspectives on issues, and draw reasonable conclusions. When reading a text, we must think critically about its content.
Reading is basic to writing; they are connected, and our own writing will improve once we have a better understanding of what good reading is.
So, how do we get the most out of reading? Easy; all reading assignments can be approached systematically. There are several reading strategies that can be used, one of them is called SQ3R: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review.
Let’s see how each step of the reading strategy works:
This step is to preview the material we are about to read. Try to identify the main ideas – they will be your reference point later. Look at the table of contents, pay attention to headings, chapter titles, graphs, maps, diagrams, illustration – and any other graphics that can help visually reinforce the key points of the material.
As you survey the material, begin to ask questions that you want answered as you read. Be thorough by asking: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? It will keep you actively thinking about the material you are reading.
As you read, take notes and annotations of any questions you might have and the answers to those questions. Read difficult parts slowly; reread them if necessary. Look up unfamiliar words, try to imagine what you are reading, and express agreement/disagreement – engage the text actively.
After finishing a page, section, or chapter, recite the key points aloud. Answering Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? is a good way to test your understanding of what you have read. This will test your comprehension and help you better remember the material.
As soon as you finish reading the material, try to answer the questions from when you surveyed the material. Can you answer them? You should have a good understanding of the material you read; however, you can keep your notes close and glance at them anytime you need to refresh your memory. Since they contain the main points from your reading they will also be useful when you review.
Hopefully, you will find reading assigned materials easier to deal with after reading this blog. Try to use this method to help you and follow the blog for other tips when reading and the next blog post on the writing process.