To read critically means to carefully choose texts that add to your analysis of a topic or issue and to assess strengths and weaknesses of arguments or positions on a given topic. The first step to reading critically is to read "actively."
Active Reading: Deciding what to summarize for your annotation
Preview the article, starting with the title
Guess at what the thesis might be. Write that down.
Find the thesis or main finding in the conclusion of the article. Confirm whether this matches your guess.
Based on the “guess” of a thesis, scan the article for relevant evidence or support that would prove that thesis. (underline these ideas)
Start reading the article from the beginning and underline thesis ideas when you see them.
When you have finished reading and confirming your original guesses, write out the main idea of the article in your own words.
List each separate idea presented eliminating those that are not pertinent to the article’s main themes.
This video gives some good advice on how to read a scholarly journal.
The LC guide on reading can provide you with more strategies to support your reading.