If you haven’t read my blog “Comprehension and Critical Thinking are Two Different Things!” then click here to read it – it’s a nice lead-in to this blog!

To quickly recap,

Comprehension is the ability to know and understand what you’ve read.

Critical thinking is the ability to determine whether you should believe it or not!

In order to teach critical thinking, we have to teach kids to think in a methodically logical way about the ideas before them.  I’ve found in my work that one of the most important ways to teach critical thinking is by modeling for kids how you think critically.

Here’s a really simple example of how that might look:

(As I’m reading a piece of text about earthquakes with my kids)

“Wow – that seems wild that the eye-witness said that every single building sank to the ground during the earthquake.  I mean, I’ve been in earthquakes and seen lots of footage and while I’ve see devastation and destruction, I don’t remember seeing any footage or pictures where literally every single building fell to the ground.  I wonder if this guy is exaggerating because he’s scared?”

What I did in my think-aloud was take kids through a logical progression of thinking (according to my experience and what I’ve seen reported in the news) to determine whether I should believe his account of the earthquake completely.

Comprehension is understanding that there was an earthquake, along with some of the facts and figures about it.

Critically thinking is determining whether I should take stock in the eyewitness account.