Critical Reading among English Department’s Students in Learning

Bachelor Thesis, 2015

25 Pages


Table of Contents



The Problem and Its Background
Statement of the problem
Significance of the Study
Scope and Delimitation

Review of Related Literature

Critical Reading Definition

Critical Reading Strategies

Critical Reading Elements

Related studies


Research design

Participants and Setting

Research Instrument


Results and Discussion

Tasks as Class-Activities or Assignments

The Nature of Examination's Questions






This work would not be accomplished without the great help and the cooperation of the participants who played a vital role in this research.

A great thank to the teachers who shared me their knowledge and experience in this field; Mr. Abu Mustafa, Mr. Ali Al- Kerzab, Mr. Ibrahim Ellibidi, Ms. Asma Kurwad, Ms. Fuazia Dweni and Ms. Salma Janafi.

The words are not enough to describe the support, patience and the generosity of my supervisor, Mr. Fahmi Abusnaina.

Family, friends and relatives, without your endless support and encouragement, this work will not be able to see the light.

Above all, Allah the Almighty, I looked for the words to thank you but I could not find the words that gives your right.


Using (Critical Reading) in learning is as important as drinking water whenever you feel thirst. Using critical reading is the main focus of this paper and its aim is to check whether English Department’s students use critical reading as well as their teachers. This paper tested 40 respondents of English Department’s students and teachers of Faculty of Education (14 males – 26 females), the data of the questionnaires had been analysed by Microsoft Excel while the data of the interviews had been analysed by interpretation. The study found diversity in participants’ answers – between males and females and among selections themselves.

Chapter I The Problem and Its Background

Did one of your teachers ask you to “read between the lines”? Certainly, most of us heard that when we were students at primary schools, high schools, even at the college right! Nevertheless, what that means? This is what linguists call “Critical reading” (CR). In fact, CR is used daily life. For instance, when we watch a TV movie or a series, in the first episode or from the beginning of a movie, the director puts the too much excitement such as, killing, at the beginning. Therefore, they keep people watching until the end such as “Prison Break.” In the first episode, Michael, who is a successful person entered the prison and before that. He had tattooed his body, but for what? And- why? That is the question. Well, CR is not a process of passive consumption, but one of interaction and engagement between the reader and the text.

In this study, the researcher is going to attempt to find out a way to apply CR in learning. However, when we read, we do not wait until the authors tell the words.CR plays a vital role in educational process. Therefore, students do not reach to this level without a motivation. That is only happen when the teacher knows what interest students – what they like and what they dislike. Furthermore, the centre of learning is the teacher who is a knowledge provider as well as a facilitator. In addition, the teacher has to encourage students to be critical readers ,whether doing that directly or indirectly such as giving them the structures- how to do? And- how can be done? Moreover, knowing that critical reader has the same work as a detective who looks for assumptions, justifications and every detail is important, it may lead to another thing, precisely; he does not accept anything without questioning. CR had been defined as a process of reading that goes behind literal meaning, (Massey University, 2014). i.e. CR is not a process of reading only words and knowing their meanings, it is a process of gaining the hidden messages in the text.

The objectives of the study are aimed to overcome the causes of getting inadequate knowledge, which these causes are a problem in educational process. The following objectives are:

1. Finding out an approach which can help to gain permanent knowledge.
2. Changing the way of making exams.
3. Motivating learner’s brainpower.

These objectives are set to change the principles of teaching.

This study has been conducted among English Department’s students and teachers at Faculty of Education to check why students read only to get high marks, instead of learning and adding something new to their lives, and how teachers control class- activities and assignments.

Statement of the problem

Most of the students memorize to get high marks rather than understanding the curriculum. In other words, they do not pay attention to the meaning of what has been read, only about how the curriculum could be memorized and how it could be written in the exams as well. Moreover, students use some techniques wrongly, for instance, writing the sentences more than one time to memorize, and this technique is used with new words to check the spelling. Therefore, this is a problem in the educational process that needs to be solved.


Upon personal observation, the following hypotheses were formulated:

1. Most of English Department’s students of Faculty of Education obtain poor knowledge because of the lack in practising critical reading.
2. Some of English Department’s teachers do not challenge the students to be critical readers.

Significance of the Study

The findings of the study are significant to:

The students. The research enhances the capability of better understanding to English Department’s students of Faculty of Education. Those students will not accept the information without reasoning and they will look for a support in each text has been read.

The teacher. This research might be beneficial to English teachers and it will change their way of making examinations and the way of teaching inside the classroom.

Scope and Delimitation

There are two Departments of English Language, one in Faculty of Arts and the other is in Faculty of Education, which this study is concerned with. The students who participated in this study, were chosen not from one semester, the number of students who responded is 35 (10 males and 25 females). It was a bit difficult to do interviews with teachers because of their schedules and only four teachers who responded to this study. This study is intended to describe the way of student's reading and learning.

Chapter II Review of Related Literature

Critical Reading Definition

Many studies have been conducted about CR in the last decade. CR has to be one of the controversial topics, which cannot be applied without practice and motivation. Also many scholars tried to define CR.

“It is reading actively with the goals of identifying arguments, weighing the evidence, evaluating sources, looking for conflicts of interest, questioning underlying assumption.”(Berkeley University, 2014, p. 5)

Wallace and Wary (2011) defined CR as, “… You can see more in a text than is presented on the surface… you are looking for a hidden agenda, the author's real purpose.” (p. 4)

While Lewis, Macgregor and Jones (2007) indicated, “Critical reading is not close and careful reading. To read critically, one must actively recognise and analyse evidence upon the page.” (p. 5)

Spears (2003) explained that critical reading stands for judging and weighing author’s ideas.

That means CR is a different dimension among reading skills, which is looking further than what has been presented on paper to get the real purpose of what has been written.

Critical Reading Strategies

According to one website (Otang, no date), CR has processes, which may help to enhance reading comprehension:

1. Interpretation. It is used to find out the meaning of the text and to draw the conclusions from various messages, which the text contains, during interpreting the text; the processes analysis and synthesis are used with.
2. Analysis. This process is used to examine how the ideas fit together to convey the whole meaning of the text by checking the assumptions of the writer, checking the construction of argument whether inductive or deductive, in addition, checking the relationship between the evidences whether these evidences support the argument or not.
3. Synthesis. Usually this occurs in a connection with analysis strategy, which includes drawing the result together of the analysis strategy into conclusion, which is at the base of interpretation.
4. Evaluation. This is a high order process which involves the other processes; interpretation, analysis, and synthesis. By doing this process, the value of the text establishes.

These are the strategies of CR, which are used to provide an easy way to the reader to gain more information from the context.

Critical Reading Elements

Elements of critical reading vary from a scholar to another, the following were suggested by Wallace and Wary (2011):

1. Attempt to find out what the authors are aiming to accomplish.
2. Attempt to find out the form of the argument.
3. Try to find the main claims made.
4. Check if the claims are supported with appropriate evidence.
5. Check the support for any generalization made.
6. Check how the authors define the key words and if they are used statically.
7. Think of the underlying values, which guide the authors and influence their claims.
8. Be an open-minded and willing to be convinced.
9. Search for examples, which are not related or repel the syllabus and look for the necessary syllabus, which are not present.
10. Check some literature sources, which are used by the authors (they might need to follow up with the students).


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Critical Reading among English Department’s Students in Learning
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critical, reading, english, department’s, students, learning
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Amna Emhemmed (Author), 2015, Critical Reading among English Department’s Students in Learning, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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