Literal, Inferential and Critical Comprehensive Reading

Updated on June 14, 2016

©Copyright DRK 2012

Comprehension is understanding what is being said or read. When it comes to reading, It is an active process that must be developed if a learner is to become a proficient reader. Effective reading skill development is further accomplished when the learner becomes proficient in literal, inferential and critical comprehensive reading.

Literal

Literal comprehension involves what the author is actually saying. The reader needs to understand ideas and information explicitly stated in the reading material. Some of this information is in the form of recognizing and recalling facts, identifying the main idea, supporting details, categorizing, outlining, and summarizing. The reader is also locating information, using context clues to supply meaning, following specific directions, following a sequence, identifying stated conclusion, and identifying explicitly stated relationships and organizational patterns. These organizational patterns can include cause and effect as well as comparison and contrast. For example, some questions and activities may include:

What words state the main idea of the story?
How does the author summarize what she/he is saying?
Outlining the first paragraph of the story.
What happened first, second and last?
How are these things alike? How are they different?
What things belong together?

Inferential

Inferential comprehension deals with what the author means by what is said. The reader must simply read between the lines and make inferences about things not directly stated. Again these inferences are made in the main idea, supporting details, sequence, and cause and effect relationships. Inferential comprehension could also involve interpreting figurative language, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, determining the mood, and judging the author’s point of view. The following questions are usually asked:

What does the author value?
What is the theme?
What effect does this character/event have on the story?
How do you think this story will end?

Critical

Critical comprehension concerns itself with why the author says what he or she says. This high level of comprehension requires the reader to use some external criteria from his/her own experience in order to evaluate the quality, values of the writing, the author’s reasoning, simplifications, and generalizations. The reader will react emotionally and intellectually with the material. Because everyone's life experiences are varied, answers to some of the following questions will vary:

Could this possibly happen?
Is this argument logical?
What alternatives are there?
Is this a fact or an opinion?
Do you agree or disagree with the author?
What is the best solution to this problem?

To conclude, literal, inferential and critical comprehensive reading is what makes a skilled, strong reader. This skill must be learned and developed. It does not just happen. With that thought in mind, it has also been shown that strong readers make good writers. Sustained exposure to the English language does allow for an expanded vocabulary and knowledge of correct grammar usage. When this is combined with literal, inferential and critical reading experiences, it enables writers to better express themselves.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Azza El Khateeb 

        7 weeks ago

        Thank you to give me sharing your knowledge.May I get some information about critical reading skills,or critical reading levels,critical reading rubric

      • profile image

        Leo 

        4 months ago

        Hi! I found the article very informative and helpful. May I know the author's full name so I can cite him/her properly in my research? Thanks a lot!

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        4 months ago

        Darling:

        There is a theoretical basis for this idea. As an educator working in the classroom, I have discovered if students don't acquire literal, inferential, and critical comprehensive reading skills, they are not able to think their way "out of a paper bag." Comprehension, in and of itself, goes beyond just staring at a screen and being entertained all day. The ability to be able to think is essential.

      • profile image

        Darling 

        4 months ago

        Hello,

        I find this article very helpful in my research. Does it have a theoritical basis?

      • profile image

        lol 

        5 months ago

        this information is helpfull all the time

      • profile image

        Lingga 

        7 months ago

        may I know who is the full name of the author? I need it to write my thesis reference. this article is really help full for doing my thesis. thank you so much

      • profile image

        Ridha Latif 

        7 months ago

        The article was really useful... Thank you

      • profile image

        wenna mahinay 

        8 months ago

        how about creative levels?

      • profile image

        hutura 

        11 months ago

        Jeff the Deaf Chef:

        I am glad the article has helped your class.

        Thanks.

      • profile image

        Jeff The Deaf Chef Who Cooks Food For UNICEF 

        11 months ago

        This has helped my class a heap

      • profile image

        Jeff the Deaf Chef 

        11 months ago

        Really helpful

      • profile image

        Luisa Morton 

        13 months ago

        I need varied questions for critical comprehension

      • profile image

        wick 

        16 months ago

        what about creative thinking level? I was hoping to see examples of this because I have to create a Creative Thinking Level question :(

      • profile image

        Shayne 

        20 months ago

        helped me a lot and i found what i need and more!!! thanks Hutura!!!

      • profile image

        simangele makotore 

        21 months ago

        Very informative i am studying a first degree in english and communicatiom, zimbabwe, africa

      • profile image

        Krishna 

        21 months ago

        Education is only the only invaluable assets that keep us together and oneness with respect and care ... it's very help to me... thank you

      • profile image

        Nora Amowas 

        22 months ago

        Perfect informaton... Thank you so... much.

      • profile image

        hutura 

        22 months ago

        X44:

        Thanks for your interest in the topic. I hesitate of identify over the web, but you are free to use the information in your study. I will be removing the copyright symbol.

      • profile image

        X44 

        22 months ago

        Good Day Author Hutura! :) I find it helpful. May I know your complete name? I would like to include this on our Research paper. This really fits on the study we have. I hope you consider it. Thank you ! :)

      • profile image

        hutura 

        23 months ago

        Josh:

        This article is talking about Reading It does not relate to

        the creative Writing process in any way.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        Larry:

        The first sentence under each header gives a very simple explanation of what is being talked about. Everything is explained in simple language.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        larry 

        2 years ago

        what are there similarities and differences ?

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        illy:

        This article is as complete as it can be.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        Guiliana:

        Hutura is my name.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        Guiliana 

        2 years ago

        I need you name to quote it and take a reference in my thesis

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        Guiliana:

        As stated before, the article is based on my experience as an educator, research and professional development courses.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        I am the author of this article. I am an experienced English/ESOL educator in grades 7-12th. I have also worked with adult ESOL students. My knowledge comes from those experiences.

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        eellleen 

        2 years ago

        who are the authors please

      • profile image

        hutura 

        2 years ago

        Sara:

        I don't understand the comment. Do you need clarification on something?

      • profile image

        Sara 

        2 years ago

        (; theme on literal level? theme on figuarative level?

      • profile image

        raheem hall 

        2 years ago

        thanks for this

      • profile image

        dianamea alvia 

        2 years ago

        thank you for this..

      • profile image

        hutura 

        3 years ago

        che:

        Thank you for your kind remark.

      • profile image

        che 

        3 years ago

        i found this article very helpful and explanations are clearly expressed.

        thank you so much for sharing your knowledge it helped me a lot.

      • profile image

        hutura 

        3 years ago

        mnt:

        I am an educator who has experience in the classroom and from developmental seminars. My knowledge of the subject comes from those sources.

      • profile image

        mnt 

        3 years ago

        how cite this article?

        who is the writer?

      • profile image

        hutura 

        3 years ago

        alchris:

        Your positive comment is very much appreciated. Thanks.

      • profile image

        alchris 

        3 years ago

        It's a nice article. Thanks for the help.

      • profile image

        lloydie:P 

        3 years ago

        thank you for the advance topics..God bless ^_^

      • profile image

        Decency 

        3 years ago

        Nice one, God bless you for this, thanks.

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        4 years ago

        Mohemmad:

        I am glad this article was helpful to you.

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        4 years ago

        Nadine:

        This article is not rubbish. If you had the slightest idea about what education was about you would not even ask such an ignorant question. You have no idea what reading comprehension is or how to achieve it. As an educator, I see why the American school system is in such bad shape.

      • profile image

        nadine 

        4 years ago

        What is this ? Is this rubbish

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        4 years ago

        Rocky:

        It's obvious you are ignorant in the area of education.

        Thanks.

      • profile image

        rocky 

        4 years ago

        lack of information! you better improve your article!

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        4 years ago

        ABBY:

        It is always good to know someone is benefiting from my information.

        Thanks

      • profile image

        ABBY 

        4 years ago

        This information is very helpful

      • profile image

        gabby 

        5 years ago

        Thanks for the encouraging comment.

      • profile image

        gabby 

        5 years ago

        this is very useful information in english lanauage

      • hutura profile imageAUTHOR

        hutura 

        6 years ago

        Joan King:

        I am glad you found the article helpful.

      • Joan King profile image

        Joan King 

        6 years ago

        Very informative.

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