Taking a critical approach to reading involves asking yourself questions, and the two questions you should start with when engaging a text are "what is the purpose of this essay, article, etc?" and "who is the intended audience?"


Knowing a writer's purpose is essential in order to evaluate the effectiveness of a reading.

  • Why was this text written?
  • What is the author trying to achieve?
  • Is he or she writing to entertain, to inform, to persuade, to explain, to express, etc?


The purpose and audience of a text are intrinsically linked and both help the reader understand how to approach a text.

  • Who was the text written for?
  • Is the writer targeting a specific type or group, for example, teenagers, industry professionals, shareholders, parents, etc?