Raising Critical Readers

You can find anything on the internet. Because anyone can write it and put it on there. This is a lesson that many adults are learning, and one that librarians and grade school teachers are focusing on. You need to be a critical reader, looking closely and asking questions of the information you find. As more of our research and learning moves away from print sources we need to do more of the editing and vetting process.

This skill can start in early childhood education. We can teach very young children how to be thoughtful consumers of information. They have a head start, since they love asking questions!

When you read with them, ask them how the book makes them feel. Ask them if anyone is left out of the story, or how it might look from another character’s perspective. If they have a question about something that doesn’t seem right (“Why is the bear in “The Mitten” awake? He is supposed to be hibernating!”) work together to find out the answer. You can teach them about artistic license, like how animals in many books for kids talk, but treat their questions seriously.

Setting them up early on to not take what they read for granted and that it is ok to ask questions is an important skill. Not only will their future teachers be grateful, but it will make them better prepared to navigate the digital and media filled world tey are


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