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Reading Critically Between The Lines
Critical Reading
May, 2005, by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Staff

Reading is quite possibly the most important skill a student must acquire in order to succeed in school and in life. In this discussion, reading is not limited to the ability to recognize the words on the page. It includes the ability to understand and evaluate the meaning of a written passage as well as the ability to compare it to others the student has read. This is what is referred to by critical reading and it is at the core of the The Critical Thinking Co. philosophy.

The mission of The Critical Thinking Co. is to foster thinking skills in students so that they will comprehend learned material in a much deeper way. Education standards have been diluted to the point that a student needs only to pick the right answers on a standardized test in order to advance. This speaks not at all to the student's comprehension of what he or she has learned.

Critical reading requires a student to not only take the author's words into account but also the meaning behind the author's words. Critical reading teaches students to analyze and question what they have read and to compare it to their own understanding of the subject matter as well as to other things they may have read. In this way, students are engaged in active communication with the author.

This requirement to actively engage with subject matter is at the heart of higher order thinking and is at odds with the drill and memorize routine that turns so many students away from education. When a student's perceptions and opinions are given value in this way, they gain more respect for learning and more respect for themselves. At The Critical Thinking Co., we are dedicated to creating well-rounded students as well as improving test scores.