Not Just to Read, but to Read Critically

An illiterate world is not a good one, but a world where people unthinkingly believe and accept everything they read is not that much better. 

So it’s great that you’re teaching your kids to read, but are you teaching them to read critically?

They need to know: Authors can be wrong. Authors can be questioned. A book is not a one-way conversation. It’s a dialog between the reader and the writer. Show them how to take notes, how to disagree, how to question what they see on the page. 

They need to know: No one book is definitive. No one school or system has all the answers. Show them how to read books from opposing thinkers. Read one book together… then read something that presents a different point of view. Talk about the importance of debate, how to compare and contrast. 

We’ve talked about introducing them to the dangerous world of ideas. That’s going to mean showing them stuff you disagree with, too. It’s going to mean encouraging them when they have tastes and opinions that differ from yours. It’s going to mean going down rabbit holes that don’t interest you but that they find fascinating. 

Remember what Epictetus said: Just because someone spends time reading doesn’t mean they’re smart. It matters how and what they read. So start this practice earlier. Teach them to be more than a reader, teach them to be a wide-ranging, critical reader. A questioner. A reviewer. A thinker.

P.S. This was originally sent on November 10, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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