Reading is a very important part of learning, as it helps us gather information converting the information in a book, journal, newspaper, etc. into a usable form. It helps you understand a topic of a particular area of study and through out it is how we understand the topic and it is when we start making our own judgment and opinion in the theme. This becomes more important through university, where your are studying a specific subject and you want to extend your knowledge as you are expected to read several sources which will give you different points of view in a particular topic.
When we are reading it is very important to remain as objective as possible on the information we are reading so we can understand the text and the information the author(s) is giving us and after a very thorough understanding of the text you may adopt a position agreeing or disagreeing with the point of view the author(s) is presenting you, this is also known as critical reading. This is a very delicate point as the student learns or believe what he or she thinks it’s more important from their point of view, so it is very important to remain as objective as possible in our reading and learning process.
Through out the years critical reading becomes more important and becomes a part of your every day life and it is an ability that you have to improve to achieve a better understanding in the different areas of study. But it becomes more important when you use critical reading on your professional life, as you need to have a complete and reliable understanding of the problem and be able to back it up with information, so you can use this information to make decisions.
To start explaining how we can use and why is critical reading plays a very important part in business environment, first we will have to explain what critical reading is and what does it seeks. Critical reading plays a very important role in understanding a text when we are researching about an specific topic, because “we receive only a limited amount of information about a particular event” (Cioffi, 1992) from different sources and through comparison is how we can adopt a position or create an opinion on the subject and the most important part is that you are able to back up your opinion with the information you gather.
But this is not as easy as it sounds as critical reading is a very detailed series of stages that help us understand and be more informed about the subject we are researching on. Several authors propose different ways to approach critical reading but most agree on three stages. The first one is when we select what we want to read and gather the information from a reliable source. The reading in this stage is very slow and detailed as we are looking on getting a general idea of the content in all the sources we are focusing on.
It is very important to accomplish a critical reading to read several sources and find the consistencies and discrepancies in those sources to have a more objective understanding of the real facts and to have a variety of perspectives in the theme (Rivers as cited in Cioffi, 1992, p. 49). The second stage is a little more complex as we already have a general idea of the theme but now we are looking for more precise information comparing and evaluating the sources. As Cioffi (1992) explains: “Once students recognize the discrepancies, they are in position to analyse the differences.
This second step involves looking at the sources or texts carefully and evaluating them”. The reading process in this stage is a little faster than in the first stage as you already know the source and you are only looking for the main points or ideas in the texts and compare them between the different sources. In this step we also have to start the process of evaluation where we start solving the discrepancies with the information the authors are giving us on the text and start asking us questions such as what really happened?
or which author is most likely to be true? and start looking for irregularities in their conclusions. The third and final stage is when we have a very good understanding of the texts or sources as we already read them thoroughly and we understand the differences between them, so what we are seeking on this third reading is the adoption of a perspective and an opinion in the subject, according to what we have read. The reading is faster on this stage as we are only checking and situating the relevant information in the source to the topic we are researching on.
As we can see critical reading help us in the understanding of texts by developing a critical line of thought trough out the process, questioning the authors ideas and making our own opinion of the topic once you have the “big picture”. If students do not follow these steps and they only obtain the information from a single source they won’t be able to have a full understanding of the topic and this might lead to wrong or inconsistent information of the subject. This is also known as a fallacy, which is the misconception of an argument or problem due to incorrect reasoning (Allen, 2008).
But this can also be a very intricate situation as the author may be misleading the reader on purpose to make a point or to show the importance of how information can be misinterpreted. Once we’ve understood what critical reading is and the stages that lead to a successful understanding of the text this give us the opportunity to use this information for whatever purpose we like, for example in university we may use it to write and essay or to satisfy our desires of learning but one of the most important uses of information nowadays is in professional life.
This when we can apply the knowledge we’ve gathered through critical reading in decision making and it is one of the most reliable ways you can take decisions as you have an objective and complete vision of the problem ahead of you and you are able to make a decision with the information you have analysed and interpreted converting it into an informed decision. Because of this is why critical reading is very important in business life as it help us understand the problems and understand what the real problem and start looking for a solution.
As Coe (1998) explains: “[I]f a reader reads something and understands all the words but gets a false message, in a critical sense that reader has failed to achieve the primary purpose for which she or he was reading. Helping students learn how to deconstruct doublespeak is one of the important ways we can help prepare them for life in societies manipulated through the mass media”. In the business environment it is really important to make wise and informed decisions as your actions are having effect in other people’s life, so it is crucial to make this decision as wisely and informed as possibly.
This is when we apply critical reading on business, as it is one of the most practical and best methods to approach a safe answer with information to rely on. It is very important to maintain an objective and informed decision in the business world as there are many factors that can affect our judgement and perspective of the problems and don’t be fooled by someone else’s rhetoric.
This is why critical reading is so important as it give us a clear vision of a topic or problem by gathering as much information as possible and analyze it to create an opinion, not just learn what the text is presenting us, we need to be judges of our own learning and question the information we receive everyday in order to create a more philosophical reasoning. Reference List Allen, S. (2008). Reading the Other: Ethics of Encounter. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40, 888-890. Bird, Michael D. (1989) Helping Students Think and Read More Critically [online submission].
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Salibrici, M. (1999). Dissonance and rhetorical inquiry: A Burkean model for critical reading and writing [online submission]. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 42, 628-638. Retrieved December 16, 2008, from ProQuest Database. Spencer, Brenda H. & Angus, K. B. (1998). Demonstrating knowledge: The use of presentations in the college classroom [online submission]. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 41, 628-638. Retrieved December 16, 2008, from ProQuest Database. Turner, K. , Ireland, L. , Krenus, B. & Pointon L. (2008). Essential Academic Skills. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.