Importance of critical reading
Critical reading is a very useful skill in the modern world, but it is increasingly becoming scarce amongst graduates from schools. Most people usually read texts and take what they read at face value, without analyzing it further. This is a weakness that people who do not have critical reading skills possess, and it is important that these people are taught these skills. Critical reading is different from passive reading and involves being skeptical about every text that is read, with a view of analyzing the content, so that one can know whether the author was objective when writing the text.
It is generally assumed that graduates and scholars possess this skill although this is not the case.
According to Dechant (2004), there are four levels of understanding text in critical thinking. The first level is the understanding of single words, and this involves analysis of the vocabulary used. The second level is the understanding of single sentences, and this involves the analysis of the grammatical accuracy of the text.
The third level is the understanding of the text compositions, genres and rhetoric, and this is done to acquire understanding of the overall text. Finally, the last level is the analysis of the whole text in totality, in order to reveal any ideological influences. Other people are of the view that critical reading involves three steps. The first is the analysis of what the text says. The next step is analyzing what it does, and finally the third is analyzing what it means.
Goals of critical reading.
According to Roberta (2008), there are three main goals of critical reading. The first is to recognize the purpose that the text served in conveying the message of the author. This is done through analysis of the language and content of the text. The second goal is to understand the persuasive elements and tone of the text. This is achieved through classifying the choice of language that is used by the author. The third goal of critical reading is to recognize bias, and this is achieved through classifying patterns of language and content choice.
An illustration of critical reading skills is given below; In history, a person who does not have critical reading skills might read texts in order to discover interpretation of an event, or learn new facts about situations. On the other hand, a person who possesses critical reading skills may learn how the author uses certain perspectives and facts, to make a reader understand the text from a particular dimension or point of view. In summary, critical thinking involves examining a text critically in order understand the relevance and values of assumptions made, as well as soundness of arguments. According to Malone (2004), it is very difficult to train people on critical reading skills especially if one is not a professional. Professionals such as professors, lecturers and scholars have the training and knowledge to teach this crucial skill.
Critical thinking in relation to critical reading.
According to Gallagher (2004), critical reading is closely linked to critical thinking, and cannot be separated from it. Critical thinking involves analysis, discernment and evaluation of intangible or tangible items, so that one might come up with solid judgments which reconcile common sense and scientific evidence. When critical reading is combined with critical thinking, the reader fully comprehends the mindset of the author in writing the text.
As earlier said, there is a large assumption that critical reading skills exists in majority of the University graduates. This is however not true, and this can be attributed to the low level of critical thinking skills that these graduates possess. According to Richard (2004), the educational curriculum is biased toward memorizing of facts and very little critical thinking. As a result, most students memorize facts so that they might use them to pass their exams, without knowing how and why the facts were generated. In the US, this is a major reason why despite the high levels of technology present, students still perform poorly in technical subjects, in comparison to countries like Japan.
Importance of critical reading skills in learning institutions.
According to Foorman and Torgesen (2001), critical reading skills are useful to university students since they help improve the literacy levels. Only through the acquisition of these skills are students empowered to acquire information that is beneficial to their future careers. This is because such students will be able to tell biased information from objective information. They will thus discard the biased information and make use of the objective information.
Importance of critical reading skills in the business world.
Critical reading skills are not only useful in learning institutions, but they are also useful in the business world. There are very many documents that are used in the business world that require critical reading skills, in order for the management or people who engage in business to make informed decisions. It is important that in order to be successful in any business, the stakeholders should combine critical thinking and reading skills.
According to Cameron (2008), one major use of critical reading skills in business is in the signing of contracts. There are many contracts that are used in business activities, and these include employment contracts, performance contracts, outsourcing contracts among other contracts. These contracts should be analyzed very carefully before signing and being bound by them. This is because they bind the parties either in the long or short term. Critical thinking skills are required to understand the actual requirements of such contracts in order to remove any unfavorable clauses, which might negatively affect individuals or business organizations. Reading such contracts without critically analyzing them might bind parties to agreements which are detrimental to their interests or goals.
Critical reading skills are also very useful when analyzing financial statements and other documents that the management uses to make decisions. According to Halpern (2003), such skills expose bias or other characteristics that the makers of these documents possess, and impart deeper insights to the people who rely on these documents. This helps such people to make informed decisions, which are based on full and objective information. There are very many people in the current business environment who are dishonest, and one can easily be exploited, if they do not have critical reading skills. The average reading skills are not enough to discern this dishonesty, which may take the form of bias or misrepresentation, especially if it is inherent in documentation. This is the reason why it is important to develop critical reading skills.
Since it was earlier explained that it is impossible to separate critical thinking and critical reading skills, it is imperative that all stakeholders of a business possess critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills help the employees tackle challenges that occur in the business environment. The management also uses these skills to enable the business to adapt to the modern competitive business environment. According to Vaughn and Thompson (2007), absence of critical thinking skills would make organizations face difficulties in adapting to the business environment, since successful businesses rely on ways of thinking that are different from the conventional ones. Most innovations are made by people who are perceived by the rest to be rebellious to societal norms, yet after they make their innovations, they are considered to be heroes by society.
Conclusion and recommendation.
It has been seen that critical reading skills are very useful, not just in the classroom situation but in the modern business environment. It has also been discussed that this skills are not very common especially among students, and this can be linked to the modern curriculum that stresses the need of memorizing facts as opposed to analyzing them. According to Paris (2005), it is very important that all the stakeholders in the education sector re-evaluate the value of education and take steps that will change the curriculum, toward focusing in the developing of critical reading and thinking skills. This is because critical reading skills are very useful in the business world, and graduates cannot be competitive in the modern business world if they lack these skills. Finally, parents, lecturers, the government and students should collaborate in order to ensure that critical thinking and critical reading skills are learned by all people.
Cameron, S. (2008). The MBA Handbook: Skills for Mastering Management. UK: Pearson Education.
Dechant, E. V. (2004). Understanding and Teaching Reading: An Interactive Model. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Foorman, B. R., Torgesen, J. (2001). Critical elements of classroom and small group instruction to promote reading success in all children. Learning Disabilities research & Practice. Blackwell Synergy.
Gallagher, K. (2004). Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts. Portland: Stenhouse Publishers.
Halpern, D. F. (2003). Thought & Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Malone, S. (2004). Better Exam Results: A Guide for Business and Accounting Students. New York: Elsevier.
Paris, S. G. (2005). Reiterating the development of reading skills. Reading Research Quarterly. IRA.
Richard K. (2004). Studying a Study and Testing a Test: How to Read the Medical Evidence. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Roberta, B. (2008). The Problem of Information Naïveté. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.
Vaughn, S., Thompson, S. V. (2007). Research-Based Methods of Reading Instruction for English Language Learners: Grades K-4. New Jersey: ASCD.
Cite this Importance of critical reading
Importance of critical reading. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/importance-of-critical-reading/