Chapter 2: Reading and Comprehension

Reading Critically

Reading as a writer and reading critically are helpful when entering into a scholarly discussion with a text. It begins with learning to think critically. Check out the video below and consider: What new ideas were presented that will help you get more out of your assigned readings?

Watch this video about Critical Thinking [7:38]

Reading as a writer” means approaching a text with a variety of tools that help prepare you to write about it. Tools can include reviewing related assignments or lectures prior to reading, specific notetaking methods while reading, and ways of thinking about and organizing the information after completing the reading. You will learn to read through the writer’s eyes, seeking to understand the deeper, interwoven meanings layered within a text.

For example, how you read and the types of notes that you take will be influenced by whether you will be required to write a summary, or a critical analysis, or a personal reflection on a text after you read it. If your instructor asks you to write a personal reflection, it is important that you pay attention to how the text affects you as you read.

Sometimes you need to have a more critical eye as you read. When critically reading, you should grapple with and immerse yourself into the text to fully interact with it. You might do some or all of the following:

  • Analyze the structure of the piece. What kind of organization does it follow? Where is the thesis? What types of sentences and language are used? How are the paragraphs structured?
  • Analyze the text itself, exploring its content and its use of rhetoric, i.e., how it uses language to make its message effective.
  • Capture the text’s main points by summarizing its meaning.
  • Critique the text to assess its quality, believability, and effectiveness.
  • Reach conclusions (make inferences) about the text.
  • Combine your own ideas with the textual analysis to synthesize new ideas and insights.
  • Ask yourself how the text relates to what you are studying (or your clinical practice).

The next section shows you how to critique a text.


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Content from this page was remixed with our original content and revised and adapted from:

The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Download for free at:


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The Scholarship of Writing in Nursing Education: 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © 2019 by Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; Andy Tan; Arina Bogdan; Frances Dimaranan; Rachel Frantzke; and Nada Savicevic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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