Facing a text is not always easy. We must know if it is a rigorous text, what type, what it wants to tell us … And the amount of information that must be faced today, with the rise of the internet and new technologies, is much more enormous than In the past, it is more important than ever that students learn to discriminate and correctly interpret the information they handle.




In this sense, Dr. Daniel Cassany , a graduate in Catalan Philology and Language Didactics and professor at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, affirms that not having the basic skills to read and extract information is a new form of illiteracy , therefore that we must equip ourselves with all the necessary tools and guidelines that exist so that this is not a problem and that new technologies, as well as the usual books, are well used and serve for a profitable learning .

For this reason, in line with all this, below, we will reflect on Cassany’s proposals as well as on what tools we have when dealing with a text and information.


Steps to learn to interpret texts


  • Critical appraisal of a text

In the first place, it is necessary that, as parents and teachers, we teach that all written text has a background of interest that its own author pursues. Any text is loaded with a degree of partial veracity, since the absolute truth does not exist. Partial truth, in particular, is built on the experiences and beliefs of the person who transmits it. For this reason, whoever reads a text must critically assess it to understand the thinking and environment of its author . But how do we do it? Some basic questions that every reader should ask when trying to interpret a text are, who is the author? What does the author intend with his text?


  • The reliability of text data

Some people are active researchers of the topics they deal with, and this is easy to tell from their professional careers, their published books, etc. These types of people also usually make lectures, interviews or statements based on facts or certain research, and rely on concepts from other researchers that are cited and interpreted by the author with data and reputable sources. In this same sense, to know that a text is not for research, but for dissemination, we can look at the professional career (if it is known or not) , if the work is based on that of other authors or well-known figures, if they are presented sources of the data provided … When the answer to these questions is no, it is possible that they are texts of personal opinion or advice, which does not mean that they are necessarily bad, but that they will not have a formal or scientific nature.




  • What is hidden in the text?

What is not said in the text is also information. Skillful writers, as well as commercial writers, may be tempted to disclose only what is meant for or against a theme. But what generates controversy about the purpose of a text, can also be hidden. Therefore, the task of a critical reader is to try to understand what has not been said and, in any case, to seek the opposite opinion to what is stated in the text read to make an own interpretation of the subject.


  • What is your opinion?

Interpreting a text does not mean agreeing with its author. Interpreting a text is extracting the complete information that the author seeks to convey , and this is something very important in high school grades especially, and especially when it comes to dealing with historical and / or academic articles. Once that information is extracted, it is up to the reader to ask himself certain questions: Do you agree with the author? Do you like the author’s way of expressing himself on the subject? How could you better explain what was said? On what points are there discrepancies with the author?

If after these tips you still have doubts, try to read naturally and with respect all the authors of texts you see, as you do when you talk with a good friend that you meet or have not seen for a long time. But do not forget to pass the “interpretation filter”, since it is necessary to understand well what is read and what is written before recording, transmitting or absorbing the content.

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