Step 1: Read (first pass)
Take a quick look around and preview your text before reading all the way through. Take notice of any headings and the layout. Skim through your text and see how many pages there are. Look over any images that may be displayed.
Take a moment to read the title and began to read your text for the first time from beginning to end.
Step 2: Reflect (think about what you read)
The mind improves it’s thinking with practical application. Close your eyes and reflect upon what you read. How did it make you feel? The lens you are reading through is your own unique personal view. Your feelings, thoughts, and connections to what you read, will be accented by where you live, what you know, and your values.
To read critically, you need to recognize the differences of your values and feelings, in comparison with those in the text that you are reflecting upon.
Step 3: Re-read (read it again after a few hours at the minimum)
Reading your text for the second time will be richer than the first reading. You know what is up ahead so you can focus more on the patterns of the elements of the text instead of rushing ahead to see what’s around the next curve. As you re-read you will need to be connecting the dots of the identifying elements- information, language usage, values, and assumptions, to bring logic and meaning to the whole text.
Step 4: Compose (draft thoughts)
Ask the 5 questions of-when, where, how, why, and what. How are you viewing the text? What is the evidence for the text foundation? When & Where did it take place? Why is it important? Or maybe you find it unimportant. Why?
Write out your questions and answer them from your own perspective. Go over steps 1-3 again focusing on the parts of text that your questions are arising from. Write down all your thoughts with the realization that they all don’t have to be known-unless you decide to reveal them.
Step 5: Share (bring to class and share thoughts)
Setting up a safe classroom environment for philosophical discussions is a number one task to having students interested in their educations. Being able to apply what they are being taught in their everyday environment sharpens their critical thinking skills.
Students feel valued and learn it is okay to “agree to disagree” without violence or bad feelings toward others. They also learn that there are others that share the same thoughts and feelings as they do. Which eliminates the feelings of isolation. An atmosphere that allows students to build each other up is an amazing learning center.
Step 6: Discuss (group discussion about everyone’s thoughts)
Teachers can have students create their own discussion questions and allow students to lead the discussion in an orderly fashion. By creating their own questions, the student’s will study the text pertaining to their questions in a much deeper way.
Being able to justify their arguments is empowering to students and a lesson well learned in critical thinking skills.
Step 7: Finalize (execute the paper and refine thoughts)
Now at step 7 you will execute the final paper. By following steps 1-6 you have made yourself familiar with the text by reading, reflecting, and discussion. You have the text view, your view, and the view of your peers to help refine your thoughts.
Write your first draft straight through. At this time don’t worry about format or grammatical errors. Set aside for a few hours or a day if time allows.
Read your first draft out loud- with pen in hand (or mouse)-use your critical thinking skills and listen for places in your paper that bring pause. Rearrange paragraphs if needed, add, and eliminate thoughts as needed.
Edit final paper for errors. Read out loud again to make sure your paper is expressing what you wanted to say.