Critical Reading Skills For Knowledge and Wisdom


By Jayaram V

Reading is an important aspect of personality development. Without this it is difficult to make progress. True, in the past people with little school education or reading ability made into history books. But in this information age one wonders whether it will still hold good. Reading is an important skill to cultivate and practice to be successful and well informed. Despite all the modern gadgets and the ubiquitous visual aids, reading is the best way to feed your mind and expand your mental faculties. The following suggestions may be helpful in improving your reading skills.

Serious Reading

1. Get an over view. Flip through the book quickly or go through the index to get an overall view of the subject matter of the book.

2. Establish your reading objectives. Before you begin reading the material, have a clear idea of what you intend to learn from it..

3. Review mentally what you already know about the subject and try to establish a connection between the two.

4. Start with the basic concepts and build your understanding of the subject around them.

5. Learn to read critically with an open mind, neither accepting nor rejecting the author's views, forming your own version of it as you read in your own terms.

6. Integrate the knowledge. Think about the subject in your own words and analyze it, if necessary,  based on your own experiences.

7. From time to time summarize what you have read in your own words.

8. Take rest in between and allow the mind to absorb the information.

9. Be your own teacher and explain to yourself or to a friend with identical interests what you are reading and what you've already known.

10. Revisit the subject or topic from time to time to strenthen your memory as well as your understanding of the subject.

11. Discuss with others and understand their views on the same subject.

12. Teach yourself or others what you have learned.

Light Reading

Follow these when you are reading a newspaper or magazine to grasp the current affairs or just keep yourself informed and entertained with tit bits of information.

1. Browse through the information gathering bits and pieces of important information.

2. Practice speed reading and reading to know the central theme or the general outline.

3. Look at the headlines or the sub titles or  the first few lines of a paragraph to get to the basic theme of the subject.