Reading is a gift, not one that is given but one that is worked for. We started learning how to read when we were still kids and then we polish it through the years together with other skill like writing and speaking. Reading has so many functions in our lives. Almost all professional jobs require the ability to read effectively. We use reading as a way of getting information and knowledge. Just like what you’re doing now. There are so many other functions of reading that are as equally as important as the ones stated here.

Knowing how to read is an essential skill that one has to learn. It is even better if one has mastered reading effectively and critically. Critical reading does not only mean understanding what a text says, it also involves reflecting on what the text describes, and deeply analyzing what the text actually means. To be able to read critically means recognizing bias, assumptions, arguments, and the perspectives of the text. Here are some tips that may help you read more critically and effectively:

  • Read In Peace – Find a quiet place where you can read without being distracted by your environment. A peaceful place will lead to a peaceful mind which can be helpful when trying to read critically and effectively.
  • Identify Your Purpose – Before reading the text, ask yourself what your goal is. Is it to find data? To support an argument? To find a fact? Knowing your purpose will help you organize your reading and also how you can use what you read.
  • Take Your Time – Critical reading is not a fast process. Read at your own pace. Reading quickly may lead you to be confused on what you read. If you encounter an unfamiliar text or concept, make a mental note to remind yourself to go back after reading the whole text. Your confusion may be cleared up as you go along.
  • Commit Yourself To The Text – Remember or take note of words or concept that you don’t understand so you can look it up later. You can use a pencil to highlight the statements, points or arguments that you find interesting, confusing or which you agreed or disagreed with.
  • Need To Re-read – It’s not a bad thing to re-read the text especially if there is still confusion. It is an effective way in critical reading.
  • Outline and Summary – Identify the main idea of the text that you are reading. Try to explain the text in your own words, come up with arguments that may support or oppose the idea of the text.
  • Like What You Read – It is important to try to develop an interest to what you are reading as to not feel bored or obligated when reading the text.
  • Widen Your Vocabulary – Reading and listing unfamiliar words and then looking for its meaning in the dictionary may be helpful in widening one’s vocabulary. Knowing the meaning of complex words, concepts and ideas will be helpful in reading critically and effectively.

So the next time you read, try to utilize the tips stated above and I hope that the tips will help you read more critically and effectively. (Ruffa Maze C. Balmes)