Critical Reading


This course will explain:

  • Reading for understanding
  • Recognizing arguments
  • Understanding an author’s main idea (or position) and supporting details (or evidence)
  • Evaluating an author’s use of evidence to support a position
  • Determining the reliability of sources.


After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify an author’s position in a piece of writing
  • Recognize the author’s use of evidence to support the position
  • Understand the difference between major supporting details and minor supporting details
  • Evaluate the strength of the author’s use of evidence to support a position
  • Evaluate the credibility of sources you consult.


When you are a critical reader, you do much more than remember an author’s ideas. You should understand the author’s main idea (or position) about a subject, see the author’s opinions, and analyze the author’s decisions about using major supporting details and minor ones as evidence to support the author’s position. In other words, critical readers can understand how ideas fit together to make the author’s point, or argument, and evaluate if the argument is believable. Whether you are reading an academic essay or a newspaper editorial, critical reading allows you to draw your own conclusions logically about what an author says. This course will show you, as a reader, how to recognize positions and evidence and to evaluate what you read. It will also show you ways to evaluate the credibility of written sources.

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