An Investigation of Critical Reading in Reading Textbooks: A Qualitative Analysis

  •  Reza Zabihi    
  •  Mojtaba Pordel    


As a technique for discovering and evaluating information within texts, critical reading might be a panacea for those learners whose voices and choices are muted and ignored. A crucial question is thus to ask whether and to what extent popular reading textbooks meet the criteria for the development of critical reading. To this end, the present article seeks to identify and investigate the presence of those items within reading textbooks which help promote critical reading. Based on the literature on critical thinking, the cornerstone of critical reading, a checklist is provided whose items are indicator of whether a particular text promotes critical reading or not. Moreover, it is recognized that autonomy and engagement are prerequisites for enhancement of critical reading and that they can be achieved through strategy instruction and task-based instruction, respectively. Three reading textbooks (Select Readings: Upper-intermediate, Active Skills for Reading: Book 4, and Mosaic Reading 2) are leveled against three criteria: Critical thinking items, the use of appropriate tasks, and strategic instruction. The results indicate that these textbooks meet the first criterion to some extent, but seriously lack the last two ones.

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