Teaching critical reading skills is only possible when you inspire your readers and help them find the meaning between the lines. No matter what type of content you are planning to approach or what book genre is in question, one has to use a combination of strategic thinking, analysis, and creativity. You have to help your students become a part of the writer’s audience and join the mental journey with the help of different critical reading techniques. While you may not have to force your vision on others, help others to find the main meaning and inspire them to use imagination for the rest of the mental work.
- Make Your Critical Reading Objectives Clear.
Start by explaining the reading objectives. It means that you must provide your students with a specific subject or problem they must address. It mostly means that you have to narrow things down and avoid spending your time with a “surface” type of reading where a person just becomes introduced to a given content. If you find this part too challenging, consider academized as a solution to create accessible and clear prompts. Make clarity your top priority, as the main aspect is understanding what is necessary to find!
- Explain What You Expect From Your Students.
Even if you have provided students with a prompt and a book to read, critical reading must have a plan or an outline. In other words, explain what should be done and how exactly. When a student finds symbolism in the book, it can be done as a reflective assignment or as a list, or even a drawing that reflects it with the quotes or presentations. When you provide a critical reading task, tell what you expect to receive.
- Provide a List of Prompt Questions.
Teaching critical reading skills is always easier when you narrow things down to a list of prompt questions. Do your best to outline the problem or an issue that is brought up by the book author(s). It will help your readers see how to shape their thoughts and help to become more focused. A prompt question can include some quotes from the book, so students can see the origins and use the original text from the book as a starting point.
- Show How to Use Topic Sentences and Thesis.
When a book is written correctly, an author will use specific topic sentences for each paragraph that will help to identify the main idea or a change in setting, set an event, and more. Focus on the use of dialogues and the inner thinking of the characters. The same is true for the evaluation of the thesis statement that is made by the book’s author. When the topic sentences are connected and brought together, it becomes easier to apply critical analysis and read books in a different way. Provide examples, and remember to use the templates to provide helpful examples!
- Provide Various Reading Models.
While there is no universal teaching formula to critical reading as every person will differ (as well as the book), provide students with diverse reading models. You can use the same text for modeling. Some models may include argumentative reading, compare-and-contrast reading, seeking the strong and weak sides, evaluation of the critical flow, and the importance of a certain subject. Likewise, one can read a book based on a single character by focusing on that alone. It means that a reader has to address the evolution of a book character to see what changes are being made by the author.
Learn How to Take Notes While Reading
If you want to take your critical reading skills to another level, you must teach your students how to take notes when reading a book or a short passage from the book. Start by setting a list of reading objectives to narrow things down. This way, you can find out the symbolism in the book or address the character traits of the main protagonist. The same is true for the use of metaphors in literature or the weaknesses of the author when you have a certain question or a given prompt.