Start by getting familiar with the basic parts and structure of the text:
- What kind of text are you reading? An essay? A web site?
- Every author has a purpose; find it.
- Who is the audience and how does the author try to appeal to them?
- What argument is the author making/question does the text try to answer?
- What evidence does the author provide?
- Are there any key terms the author defines?
As you’re reading, make note of anything that especially catches your attention:
- Is there a fact or point that challenged your assumptions?
- Any surprises?
- Did the author make a point or argument that you disagree with?
- Are there any inconsistencies in the text?
- Does the text contain anything (words, phrases, ideas) that you don’t understand?
After you’ve finished reading, read it again:
- Are there things you didn’t notice the first time reading the text?
- Does the text leave some questions open-ended?
- Imagine the author is sitting across from you: what would you ask them about the text? Why?
If the text is visual in nature, try these extra tips:
- What first strikes you about the image?
- Who/what is the main subject of the visual?
- What colors/textures dominate the visual?
- What objects/people are in the background/foreground?
- Do words or numbers play any role in the visual?
- When was the visual created?