How to Read Literature Critically

Reading Different Literatures
Joan V. Advincula
Austin Community College, Round Rock

For most of my academic career, reading different literatures always had one speed, one style, one method. I never knew that there are distinct ways of reading certain things and different techniques in doing so. This is a very helpful resource and one that will help every English student out there.

So much reading!
Nichole Davisson, College Freshman
Sierra College, Rocklin, California

It was great to see all the different strategies for reading different pieces of literature laid out in such a concise way. Since so much of our time at college is spent reading, I found it very useful for learning how to weed through the textbooks and assigned reading to maximize retention and learning while honoring the short amount of time we may have to dedicate to the task at hand.

Kate Simmons, HS Junior
Round Rock High School, Austin, Texas

My English teacher would've absolutely hated this website, because it would've made English easier than he would want. I didn't know it would be easier for me if I just read it for pleasure, then notes... it wouldn't have been so boring!!!

Critical Reading - how to
Mariana Tsanakas, College Freshman
Canada College, Redwood City, CA

Do you need to figure out what critical reading is and how to do it? Do you have thousands of pages to read but not the time to do it? This handout goes into depth on the types and ways you can get into critical reading. Techniques, practices, you name it they have it in a decently short handout. Then, they continue on with the art of speed reading. Name one student who has not had too much reading to do, and not enough time to do it in. The handout covers the way to master the art, but of course reminds you there is practice involved. Overall a good informational tool.

The Necessity of Literary Criticism
Maggie Slover
Sierra College, Rocklin, Ca

I appreciated how the format of the website was broken down into questions and straightforward answers, namely, “what is it?” and “how is it done?” Every single English class I have ever taken has required its students to read literature through a certain “lens” or “worldview”, which can seem daunting from the outside, especially if you are assigned a viewpoint, such as “cultural” or “Marxist”.

This site actually breaks the process of reading critically into six succinct steps which would help considerably in demystifying the term for most students. While some might argue that the ability to read critically is optional, I am convinced that there is no such thing as a true writer reading anything passively. Learning to train oneself to view a written work through a structured perspective is not only useful, but imperative to writing well, or to studying anything for that matter with success.

If there were anything amiss on this site, I would say that this particular page might have been a bit too simplistic in its delineation of the terms and definitions of literary criticism. For a more complete understanding, it would be wise for the student to follow the links included in the page. Otherwise, I would recommend it wholeheartedly to any student.


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