Reading Differently

On page thirty four of our assigned reading in the textbook Practical Argument we were told to:

“Read Critically.”

But what does that mean exactly? According to the book we have to look at an argument-based piece of writing, whether it be our own blogs, a scientific thesis, or our little brothers’ and sisters’ high school essays when they have no idea if they have done them right with an eye for the little things that no one else seems to care about. As readers we need to be a part of the reading process. We need to do more than simply enjoy a story or agree or disagree with the first few sentences after reading the title.

No, what the book says to do is immerse yourself in the piece you are examining. You must ask questions, consider the angle the writer is coming from, whether or not the facts are credible or just something convenient pulled out of a body part whose name I cannot write on a college blog. So after you do all that you then do the same for the other side of the paper all over again.

For many of us this is something that is quite foreign. Normally breaking down an argument is something that you would see on a debate team, Presidential Campaigns, or on talk shows where it ends up becoming a yelling contest. So what good does it do us? Well, from my own experience, we can look smarter than and embarrass people we don’t like. We can fully comprehend and see the bias in news reports, allowing us to pick it apart and find the real facts behind the bias. That way, we can draw our own conclusions instead of having them drawn for us. And that is really just the start of it.


One thought on “Reading Differently

  1. I love this topic…about how to read. I’ve been reading for years, but I think it is easy to forget how to read. And by forget how to read, I mean how to read well. How do we know when to read closely and when to skim? What are some practical reading strategies college students should use on a daily basis?

    I find it helpful to read things multiple times. The first time around, I’m mostly looking at the “shape” of the pages. I read photo captions and maybe headings. The second time around, I’ll read more closely but still might skim the paragraphs for main ideas. The third time, I will read the article closely. If I need to write about something then I need to know exactly what it says. It’s important to be an informed writer, and to do this, I need to be an informed reader.

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