Most successful critical readers do some combination of the following strategies:
Previewing (look through the text to identify the title, the source, different sections)
Annotating (highlight and make notes in the margins about main points in the text/most important parts; note any unfamiliar terms and look them up)
Summarizing (for every paragraph or page, write a short summary of what you read. If you can summarize it, you understood it!)
Analyzing (think about the meaning of the text. What is the author’s purpose? What are his/her main claims? What are your main reactions/feelings towards the text?)
Re-reading (once you have reflected, are there sections that you don’t understand. If so, go back to them).
Responding (write about the text; use the text as a source in your own arguments).