Quick Write

What problem or issue are you thinking of writing about? What do you know about the topic and what do you have to research?


According to our textbook, to think critically, you must question not only the beliefs and assumptions of others, but also one’s own beliefs and assumptions (5).

“Most of us assume whatever we believe to be “right.” Though we were taught much of what we believe before we could critically analyze our beliefs, we nevertheless defend out beliefs as the truth” (Elder and Paul).


Ignorance – lack of knowledge or information.

Intellectual Arrogance – the tendency to confidently assert as true what you do not in fact know to be true.

Intellectual Humility – awareness of the extent of your ignorance.

People with a high degree of intellectual humility understand that there is far more that they will never know that they will ever know (Elder and Paul).

  • Acknowledge that you may be wrong, until you find sufficient evidence to prove your belief.
  • Notice when you argue if you are justifying your beliefs. Do you have evidence?
  • Question your beliefs, especially religious, cultural, or political.
  • Research from multiple perspectives.
  • Explore new beliefs.

Issue: Education

  • What is the purpose of education?
  • Select the level.
  • What should be taught?
  • How is it taught?

Chp. 2 Critical Reading

Active Reading


  • Author: You can discern information from the author or the author bio.
  • Place of Publication: may reveal subject, style, and approach.
  • Title: May give an idea about the text.
  • Context: Consider the situational conditions the text was produced.
    • Context of production
    • Content of consumption
  • Skimming: Pay close attention to headings and subheadings. Look for the Thesis.
  • Thesis: The main point or major claim

The First and Last Rule

Authors place main points of emphasis at the beginning and ending of essays, paragraphs, and sentences.

Reading with a Careful Eye

Underline, highlight, or annotate the text. Read for the main points, or important points. Do not highlight everything.

Read with a purpose. Read to understand, question, and analyze the text.

“This; Therefore, That”

To arrive at a coherent thought or series of thoughts that will lead to a reasonable conclusion. Follow the text you are readings thoughts as well as your own before reaching a conclusion.

Define Terms and Concepts

Read carefully to how the terms and concepts are used in the argument. Define words and concepts.

Summarizing and Paraphrase

Summary: Say briefly what the whole adds up to.

Paraphrase: a word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase rewording of a text. A translation of the author’s language into your own.

Why summary and paraphrase?

  • validate the basis of your argument.
  • clarify the complex ideas contained in a text.
  • support your argument
  • lend authority to your voice
  • help you build new ideas from existing ideas on the topic.

Paraphrase, Patchwriting, and Plagiarism

Quoting: Copy word for word

Paraphrase: reword a point or idea.

Summarize: the main idea of a text.

Patchwriting: produce a medley of borrowed words and original words.

Plagiarism: Submitting the work of others intentionally or unintentionally as your own.

To avoid plagiarism, carefully track your notes, paraphrases, and summaries.

Strategies for Summarizing

Summarize paragraphs so you can follow the threads of the argument.

A summary can be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page long. Depends on how much room you have and how much you need to include.

Summary does not include your own thoughts.

Summaries can be for reading comprehension, but in essay writing the point is to assist your own argument.

Remember when writing a summary you are putting yourself into the author’s shoes.

Critical Summary

A longer summary that you intent to integrate into your own argument, and with your own ideas interjected.

  1. Introduce the summary.
  2. Explain the major point the source makes.
  3. Exemplify by offering one or more representative examples.
  4. Problematize by placing your assessment, analysis, and questions in the summary.
  5. Extend by tying the summary to your argument.

Issue: Bullying

You work in a school where there was a serious bullying incident. The school is being sued because of it. Your team is tasked with coming up with a solution to the issue. The principal is waiting for your proposal.

  • Define the problem as you see it.
  • How does the audience understand the problem?
  • How can this audience act to create change?
  • What does the audience already know? What would it need to know?
  • How is the audience usually addressed? What tone or medium to best deliver your message.
  • What gets their attention?