Developing Critical Reading Skills

Edition: 9th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2012-05-18
Publisher(s): McGraw-Hill Education
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Although the world has changed a lot since the first edition, the underlying premise of Developing Critical Reading Skillshas not. The premise of the text is that good reading and clear thinking go hand in hand. For this reason, it emphasizes practice in sustained, analytical reading. Students first work with high-quality short passages before moving on to more substantive pieces of greater complexity. The readings explore diverse subjects: anthropology, sports, human behavior, politics, social policy, education, ethics, autobiography, personal reminiscence, the minority and immigrant experience, humor, satire, and so forth. The passages also reflect diverse writing styles, thereby giving students the experience of reading high-level prose by its best practitioners. This book succeeds when students become more self-assured about their reading and when they recognize that reading wellwith confidence, fluency, and enjoymentis a significant part of their emotional and academic lives. As the book's epigram by Tobias Wolff says: "A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life." Students will feel genuine excitement when they encounter a writer who shows them a new way of looking at their lives and at the world. It is this feelingthis inspirationthat Deanne Spears imparts.

Table of Contents


Preface to the Student

An Overview of the Text

Sequence of Skills

The Characteristics of Good Readers

Online Learning Centers

Becoming a First-Rate Reader

College Reading Assignments

How to Read This Textbook (and other Textbooks)

Getting the Most out of This Text

*Some Thoughts on E-Readers

Part I reading for Understanding: Practice in Basic Comprehension Skills

Chapter 1 Building a Foundation: Vocabulary, Annotating, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Improving Your Vocabulary

Vocabulary in Perspective

Daily Reading and Vocabulary Improvement- A Personal Sidenote

Further Suggestions for Vocabulary Improvement

Using the Dictionary

Using Context Clues

Annotating- Reading with a Pencil in Your Hand

Writing Paraphrases

Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Michele Simon, from Appetite for Profit

Selection 2: Steven Shapiro, “Cancer World”

Selection 3: Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Practice Essay: Laura Hillendbrand, from Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Writing Summaries

Chapter 2 Reading for the Main Idea and Author’s Purpose

Main Idea in Paragraphs

Main Idea and Controlling Idea

Placement of the Main Idea

Implied Main Ideas

Levels of Support—Major and Minor Supporting Details

The Author’s Purpose and Modes of Discourse





Mixed Modes of Discourse

Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American


Selection 2: David Orr, “Verbicide”

Selection 3: Tim Butcher, from Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Practice Essay: Bill Buford,"Among the Thugs"

On the Web


Chapter 3 Reading Between the Lines: Making Accurate Inferences

Facts and Inferences

Definition of Inferences

Inferences in the Real World

Problems with Inferences

Using Evidence to Make Inferences

Making Open-Ended Inferences

Making Inferences in Literature

Making Inference with Visual Material


Graphs and Charts

Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: “Good Idea” Utne

Selection 2: Jan Yoors, The Gypsies

Selection 3: Diane Ackerman, The Natural History of the Senses

Practice Essay: Gregory David Roberts, "The Standing Babas" from Shantaram

Practice Short Story: Edward P. Jones, “The First Day”

Part 2 Discovering Meaning: The Importance of Form

Chapter 4 Methods of Paragraph Development

Modes of Discourse and Methods of Development Compared

Methods of Paragraph Development—The First Group

Facts and Statistics

Examples and Illustration


Comparison and Contrast

Contrast in Textbooks

Methods of Paragraph Development—The Second Group

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect Relationships in Visual Material

Analysis and Classification

Analysis in Textbooks


Definition in Textbooks


Combination of Methods

Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Sam Harris, The End of Faith

Selection 2: Daniel Duane, Caught Inside: A Surfer’s year on the California Coast

Selection 3: James E. Rosenbaum, “It’s Time to Tell the Kids: If Youd Don’t Do

Well in High School, You Won’t Do Well in College (or on the Job)”

Practice Essay: Richard Selzer, “The Pen and the Scalpel”

In the Library

Chapter 5 Patterns of Paragraph Organization

Patterns of Organization Defined

Chronological Order

Spatial Order

Deductive Order

Inductive Order

Coherence in Paragraphs

Achieving Coherence: Transitions

Achieving Coherence: Repetition of Key Words and Phrases

Achieving Coherence: Pronouns

Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Greg Critser, Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in

the World

Selection 2: Barry Glassner, from “What Made America Fat?” The Gospel of Food

Selection 3: Edward O. Wilson, “The Power of Story”

Practice Essay: : Henry Petroski, “Design Rising”

On the Web

Part 3 Discovering Meaning: The Importance of Language

Chapter 6 Language and Its Effects on the Reader

Denotation and Connotation

Connotation and Synonyms

Connotation and Levels of Language

Connotation in Reading

How Denotation and Connotation Work Together

Denotation and Connotation in Nonfiction Prose

Connotation in Fiction

Figurative Language

Metaphors and Similes

Figurative Language and the Imagination

Figurative Language and Inferences

Uses of Metaphors and Similes


*Figurative Language and Poetry

*Figurative Language and Politics

Connotation and Our Perception of the Issues

How Word Choice Influences Our Perceptions—The Media

Language Misused and Abused


Code Words



Politically-Correct Language

Sneer Words


Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Mark Spragg, from Where Rivers Change Direction

Selection 2: H.G. Bissinger, “Sisters” Friday Night Lights

Selection 3: Margaret Atwood, “The View from the Backyard”

Practice Essay: Brian Doyle, “Joyas Voladoras”

On the Web

Practice Short Story: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”

Chapter 7 Tone, Point of View, and Allusions

Point of View

An Overview of Tone

Common Varieties of Tone

Tone in Textbooks

A Special Case: Sentimentality

Tone in Nonfiction Prose

Tone and Mood in Fiction

Tone Continue: More Difficult Varieties








Chapter Exercises

Selection 1: Sissela Bok, Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation

Selection 2: Gerald Durrell, “The Life and Death of Cholmondeley”

Selection 3: Ian Frazier, from On the Rez

Practice Essay: Kurt Wiesenfeld, “Making the Grade”

*Practice Short Story: Paul Theroux, “Eulogies for Mr. Concannon”

Practice Poem: Alexandra Teague, “Adjectives of Order”

Part 4 Reading Critically

Chapter 8 Elements of Critical Reading- Analyzing Arguments

A Definition of Critical Reading

The Reader’s Responsibilities

Developing a Worldview

Two World Maps—Two Worldviews

Analyzing the Structure of Arguments

The Test of a Good Argument

Taking Arguments Apart

The Question of Authority

Identifying Claims

Identifying Claims in Editorials

Unstated Assumptions

The Importance of Definition in Arguments

Evaluating Evidence

The Refutation

Analyzing Visual Images

Charts and Graphs


Chapter Exercises: Evaluating Editorials

Selection 1: Arthur Levine, “College—More Than Serving Time”

Selection 2: Alvaro Huerta, “More Than a Village”

Selection 3: Ruben Navarrette, Jr., “Don’t Surrender Your Dream”

Selection 4: Naomi Schaefer Riley, “Not By Tuition Breaks Alone”

Chapter 9 Problems in Critical Reading—Evaluating Arguments

Two Types of Reasoning

Inductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning

Analyzing the Component Parts of Arguments

Analyzing the Component Parts of Arguments

Analyzing a Current Issue—The Problem with Plastic Shopping Bags

Putting It All Together: Analyzing an Opinion Piece

Problems with Arguments

Hasty or Unqualified Generalizations and Stereotyping

Incorrect Sampling

Appeals in Arguments

Emotional Appeals

Appeal to Authority

Appeal to Fear

Appeal to Patriotism

Appeal to Pity or Sympathy

Appeal to Prejudice

Appeal to Tradition

Other Manipulative Appeals

Bandwagon Appeal


Just Plain Folks

Name Calling




Legitimate Appeals in Arguments

Logical Fallacies: Part I

Ad Hominem Argument

Begging the Question

Cause-Effect Fallacies

Either Or Fallacy


Logical Fallacies: Part 2

False Analogy



Red Herring

Slippery Slope

Two Wrongs Make a Right

Summary of Emotional Appeals and Logical Fallacies

Detecting Bias

Bias or Point of View—What’s Acceptable and What’s Not

Identifying Point of View in Two Editorials

Paul Krugman, Against Learned Helplessness

Kathleen Parker, Eat, Drink and Watch Out

Constructing a Worldview of Your Own


*Selection 1: Bob Herbert, How Many Deaths Are Enough?

*Selection 2: Michelle Malkin, “ ‘Undocumented’ Folly: A Liberal Reporter’s Illegal Alien Sob Story

*Selection 3: Bill McKibben, A Link between Climate Change and Joplin Tornadoes? Never!

*Selection 4: Elizabeth Bernstein, How Facebook Ruins Friendships

Chapter 10 Practical Applications in Evaluating Arguments

Analyzing Advertisement

Analyzing Public Service Announcements

Analyzing Editorial Cartoons

Evaluating Political Speeches

Barack Obama’s Political Stump Speech

*Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream”

Evaluating Websites

Reading Blogs

Chapter Exercises: Evaluating EditorialsShould American Youth Be Required to Perform National Service?

Selection 1 YES

*William A. Galston, Compulsory National Service Would Strengthen American Citizenship

Selection 2 NO

*Matthew Spalding, “Compulsory National Service Would Undermine the American Character.”

How to Fix Our Broken Prison System—Corporal Punishment

Selection 3*Jeff Jacoby, “Bring Back Flogging”

Selection 4

Peter Moskos, “In Lieu of Prison, Bring Back the Lash”

Part 5 Reading Essays and Articles

Introduction to Reading Essays

Why Read Essays in the First Place

The Characteristics of an Essay

The Parts of an Essay

How to Read an Essay

Analyzing Essay: Questions to Ask

Practice Essay: A Review of Analysis, Paraphrasing, and Summary—Steven Jay Gould, Preposterous: What Has Happened to the Rhinoceros Is as Hard to Fathom as the Beast Itself

Twelve Essays and Articles for Further Practice

Selection 1: Luis Alberto Urrea, “Uno: They,” from “Borderland Blues: Six Impressions

*Selection 2: Mark Spragg, “A Boy’s Work,” from Where Rivers Change Direction

Selection 3: Barack Obama, “Race,” from The Audacity of Hope

Selection 4: Isak Dinesen, “The Iguana”

*Selection 5: Sherry Turkle, “Connectivity and Its Discontents,” from Alone Together.

*Selection 6: David Westin, “The Truth About TV News”

*Selection 7: Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid”?

Selection 8: Wendell Berry, “In Defense of Literacy”

*Selection 9: Mary Roach, “Discomfort Food: When Vets Make Dinner, and Other Tales of Woe from Aerospace Test Kitchens,” from Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void*Selection 10: Joyce Carol Oates, “They All Just Went Away”*Selection 11: John N. Bleibtreu, “The Moment of Being”Selection 12: John McPhee, “Los Angeles Against the Mountains”

Part 6 Reading Short Stories

Questions about Plot

Questions about Characters

Questions about Theme

*Selection 1: J. Robert Lennon, “The Cement Mailbox”

Selection 2: Geoff Dyer, “White Sands”

*Selection 3: Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants”

Selection 4: Saki (H. H. Munro), “The Open Window”

*Selection 5: Katherine Mansfield, “Miss Brill”

Permissions Acknowledgments


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