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Critical Reading and Executive Skills

Critical reading is an essential skill in college and beyond. The ability to engage deeply with a text — whether it’s a classic novel, the daily news or an in-depth financial report — is something that makes for more successful adults and more conscientious citizens.

While a modern education should be forward-thinking, too often this leaves behind important parts of traditional liberal studies. That’s where the critical reading program at Connecticut’s Salisbury Summer School comes in. We offer a chance for students to use the summer to further develop their critical abilities and hone skills that will prepare them for success, both in the coming school year and well afterwards.

About the CRES Program

The core of the summer school reading curriculum, CRES, is a content-based class in which students apply active learning skills in a Harkness type setting and engage in teacher facilitated discussion.  A rich selection of novels, short stories, poetry, articles and literary essays, selected by the teacher, help students develop critical reading, writing and discussion skills.  Students learn how to make important observations including self-to-text, world-to-text and text-to-text. This course encourages the development of thoughtful and reflective examinations of the content and the importance of questioning, discussing, debating and making connections to universal themes found throughout literature.  Students engage and hone critical thinking skills through careful reading and preparation for class.

Students also develop improved vocabulary use, recognition and production through a vocabulary building texts, online activities including Membean and Rosetta Stone and through weekly practice tests designed to improve standardized test taking techniques.  

CRES is a required class for all students at Salisbury Summer School.  Both English Composition and CRES faculty members collaborate in the development of the curricula to ensure students will make progress toward their developmental educational milestones. 

Instructional techniques include: 

  • Active reading and annotation of all texts
  • Creation and utilization of Essential Questions to frame overarching thematic elements in the text
  • Student to student facilitated discussions 
  • The development of skills of logic, discrimination and orderly thought 
  • Utilization of the Cornell note-taking system
  • Analyzing the structure of sentences, paragraphs and longer articles 
  • Developing discrimination between main ideas and supporting details
  • Management of in school and outside Reading journals and logs
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251 Canaan Road
Salisbury, CT 06068
860 435 5700
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