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Reading and Writing Ideas As Well As Words

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How the Language Really Works:
The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing
Reading / Writing
Critical Reading
Inference
Choices
Ways to Read
Grammar

Principles of Critical Reading and Writing

The following excerpts are presented as links.
As such, they offer an alternative table of contents for entering the discussion

The goal of reading is not simply to see what is said, but to understand the bias, assumptions, and perspectives underlying the discussion.

Writing...involves an understanding of how ideas can be pieced together to convey broader meaning. And while we can learn much from experience and contact with good examples, we cannot consciously improve our writing without knowing how the language works to convey ideas to readers.

In the end, readers must take control of the text, not just repeat its assertions. At its core, critical reading involves becoming the author of one's own understanding.

All written texts have three authors.

Critical reading is not simply close and careful reading. To read critically, one must actively recognize and analyze evidence upon the page.

If we think about it, we have been told a lot in general about how to approach reading a text, and surprisingly little about how exactly to find meaning in a text.

The language we learned first, the spoken language, remains our base throughout life. We use the model of spoken communication as the basis for much of our inferences when we read.

To write better, you must learn to read better...reading is primary.

Critical reading thus relies on an analysis of choices of content, language, and structure.

...the choice of content both determines and reflects the overall perspective and understanding.

Probably the single greatest key to critical reading is the realization that critical reading is not concerned with what the examples are , as with what the examples are examples of.

Just as authors must choose what to say, they must choose how to say it

To make sense of the whole, we try to break it into more manageable, and hopefully more meaningful, parts.

Much of what we understandówhether when listening or readingówe understand indirectly, by inference.

All communication is based on shared knowledge. Writers rely on their readers to recall information and ideas and to draw on that knowledge to infer unstated meanings.

Reading is an act of inquiry, a search for meaning. Each reader is the author, in the sense of creator, of his or her own understanding of a text.

Readers draw on prior knowledge and past experience to infer the appropriate meaning.†

How we discuss a text is directly related to how we read that text.

The reader's eye may scan the page, but the reader's mind ranges up, down, and sideways, piecing together evidence to make sense of the presentation as a whole.†

Meaning is contained not so much in individual words as in collections of words conveying broader or more specific ideas.

Readers read punctuation as well as words. Punctuation reflects an author's analysis of a sentence.

We read with attention to both the content and the structure of the sentences, to both the thought expressed and the grammatical structure. Each informs the other.

Reading / Writing
Critical Reading
Inference
Choices
Ways to Read
Grammar

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Dan Kurland's    www.criticalreading.com