Elementary School: Learning to Read
High School: Reading Facts, Opinions, and Beliefs
College: Reading for Underlying Meaning
The Need to Improve Your Reading
Elementary School: Learning to ReadWe learn to read as children. As the years go by, we read simple material effortlessly, almost unconsciously. We seemingly strip meaning from the page, sentence by sentence, like tearing tape from a box. We don't necessarily know how we read, we just do it—as you are doing now!
As we go on in school, reading becomes more difficult. The vocabulary of
discussion becomes increasingly
technical. Sentence structure is
increasingly complex. Most people find reading no longer effortless. Others
continue to read effortlessly, but
fail to understand as much as they would like to—or are expected to.
Sometime around high school, our view of reading changes. Questions no longer
have single, or even simple, answers.
Authors draw finer and finer distinctions.
We must recognize
diverse perspectives, and distinguish between, social, political, and economic
factors, or between
personal, social, and institutional concerns. Whereas once we discussed
American Indians as a group, we now recognize the diversity of the cultures
and the individual concerns of the various tribes. Studying now involves a
deeper understanding. We must recognize and appreciate alternative
understandings and perspectives. We must distinguish between fact, opinion,
Many students make the transition from reading for facts to reading to interpret quite smoothly. Others can benefit from specific instruction. In either case, the more you know about how ideas are conveyed by the written word, the more you can apply those principles when the going gets tough. This site is dedicated to that effort.
The Need to Improve Your Writing
What Is Critical Reading?