AcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial SciencesSTEM

Literal, Inferential and Critical Comprehensive Reading

Updated on June 14, 2016

Joined: 5 years agoFollowers: 6Articles: 4

©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 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 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 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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Joan King profile image

      Joan King 4 years ago

      Very informative.

    • hutura profile image

      hutura 4 years ago

      Joan King:

      I am glad you found the article helpful.

    • gabby 3 years ago

      this is very useful information in english lanauage

    • gabby 3 years ago

      Thanks for the encouraging comment.

    • ABBY 2 years ago

      This information is very helpful

    • hutura profile image

      hutura 2 years ago


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


    • rocky 2 years ago

      lack of information! you better improve your article!

    • hutura profile image

      hutura 2 years ago


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


    • nadine 2 years ago

      What is this ? Is this rubbish

    • hutura profile image

      hutura 2 years ago


      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.

    • hutura profile image

      hutura 2 years ago


      I am glad this article was helpful to you.

    • Decency 19 months ago

      Nice one, God bless you for this, thanks.

    • lloydie:P 18 months ago

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

    • alchris 17 months ago

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

    • hutura 17 months ago


      Your positive comment is very much appreciated. Thanks.

    • mnt 17 months ago

      how cite this article?

      who is the writer?

    • hutura 17 months ago


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

    • che 17 months 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.

    • hutura 17 months ago


      Thank you for your kind remark.

    • dianamea alvia 5 months ago

      thank you for this..

    • raheem hall 4 months ago

      thanks for this

    • Sara 3 months ago

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

    • hutura 3 months ago


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

    • eellleen 2 months ago

      who are the authors please

    • hutura 2 months 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.

    • Guiliana 2 months ago

      Please a need the names and lastanames of this author

    • Guiliana 2 months ago

      I need the name and lastname of this author

    • hutura 2 months ago


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

      Thank you.

    • Guiliana 2 months ago

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

    • Guiliana 2 months ago

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

    • hutura 2 months ago


      Hutura is my name.

      Thank you.

    • illy 8 weeks ago

      I wish you could add information in the applied part almost perfect just lacking one

    • hutura 8 weeks ago


      This article is as complete as it can be.

      Thank you.

    • larry 39 hours ago

      what are there similarities and differences ?

    • hutura 33 hours ago


      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.

    Click to Rate This Article