Chapter 9

Getting to the Heart of the (Reading) Matter

In This Chapter

arrow Identifying initial clues from texts

arrow Extracting the deeper golden nuggets

arrow Using time-saving techniques

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

John Locke (As quoted in ‘Hand Book: Caution and Counsels’ in The Common School Journal Vol. 5, No. 24 (1843) by Horace Mann)

Critical Thinking is fed and nurtured by great books, which firmly places Critical Reading skills at the heart of good learning. Critical Readers do not accept passively what they read — they read actively, constantly weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of the author's case. As I explain in this chapter, they move beyond meekly bowing down before presented facts and instead question and assess all the evidence, whether it's stated openly or submerged deeply within.

Of course, Critical Reading is about discovering ideas and information — but that's no use if you can't remember much of what you've read afterwards, if you have trouble getting your hands on the specific bits you need or you're short of time. For this reason, I offer some practical tips on note-taking and skim-reading ...

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