Developing Critical Reading Skills at a Young Age and Why It is so Important at the Secondary Level




            There are different types of reading, including skimming and critical reading. In the first type of reading students just to find specific details or facts without necessarily understanding the bigger picture. In skimming , students may get the main idea but not understand the entire concept. In critical reading, however, students read for deeper meaning. This involves many strategies that students must learn and develop over time. While reading students must ask questions, make connections to their prior knowledge, generate new ideas, and interact with the text. They may need to use context clues to figure out word meanings as well as understand point of view, context, figurative language and symbolism.


Students should be encouraged to highlight words they do not know, box sentences that seem central to the theme, and take notes in the margins. While watching a movie or reading a book with a young child, a parent can ask them what connections they see to other books or movies. This can help them make connections at a young age. Parents should also discuss bias and point of view to help students evaluate information. They can discuss types of bias such as religious, political, economic and cultural. Talking about the author’s purpose with young children can also get students thinking at a young age about author’s intent. It is not too early to discuss symbols in books or movies as well. To help your child use context clues have your child underline the word they do not know and circle keywords in the sentences that give “clues” to the word meaning.


Finally, when your child reaches middle as well as high school, I believe it is crucial to buy the books that they are require to read because when it comes time for the essay if they have spent the time using critical reading strategies, the essay will be so much easier. From many years of tutoring, once a child finishes a book that they have not underlined and taken notes while reading they have to go back to find important quotes and passages which can be very time consuming and overwhelming for any child.