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How to Make Your Readers Think

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If you survived English or literature classes in school, you’ve probably heard the term “critical reading.” Teachers want students to learn how to engage intellectually with the text they are reading, not just passively absorb it. Critical reading involves questioning a way of thought (whether someone else’s or your own), recognizing contradictions, and following foreign rationales. If you’re nerdy like me, you probably loved this aspect of assigned reading. While some people read to have their emotions tugged, I read primarily to have my thought patterns and beliefs challenged and grown. If you want to promote critical thinking for your readers, here are three ways to do it: ask open-ended questions, walk a character or two through a crisis of belief to a resolution (or use an anecdote), and show relationships between characters or people with beliefs that contradict. Ask Open-Ended Questions Open-ended questions are designed to provoke thought and help the reader internali