Critical Reading Strategies
Movingfrom analysis to interpretationAdapted from D.Rosenwasserand Jill Stephen, Writing Analytically (2006)
Notice and Focus
Forces you to consider the data more carefully before respondingPrevents you fromgeneralizingor evaluatingtoo soon, before you truly understand the dataWill give you better ideas to write aboutWill inactivate yourlike/dislike—agree/ disagreeswitch
1. AnnotateSlow down; resist judgmentAsk yourself these questionsWhat do I notice?What do I find most interesting?What do I find most strange?What do I find most revealing?
List all of the details you noticeRank thedetails: Whichdetailsor specific features of the subject are most interesting (strange, revealing, significant)?Explainwhythe top three details are interesting (strange, revealing, significant)
Strands and Binaries
Attains the big picturePrevents overgeneralizingCan see what is the most important idea(s)Triggers ideasDigs into language to unearth the thinking behinda text’s organizingsimilarities and contrasts
List and numberexactrepetitions of substantive (meaning carrying) words (vs. a, the, is etc.)List repetitions ofsynonyms, e.g., polite, courteous, decorous (strands)List words that seem to be inopposition, e.g., kindly/unfriendly (binaries)
Lookfor exceptions (anomalies) to the patterns you have discerned; they usually can be part of a strand or opposition.Chooseonerepetition, strand, or binary as most important, interesting, etc. and explain why.
Sometimes a struggle among points of view demonstrates that a number of binaries appear to betheprimary organizing principleNo one “right” answer exists