Problem Statement: Critical reading refers to individuals‘ thinking about what they read, assessing what they have read, and using their own judgment about what they have read. In order to teach critical reading skills to students, a teacher is expected to have knowledge about text selection, use of appropriate methods, preparation of functional learning and teaching processes, among other qualities; teachers must display critical reading skills as well.
Purpose of Study: The aim of the study was to determine the critical reading levels of pre-service teachers of Turkish language as well as Turkish language and literature in terms of several variables in order to make inferences about pre-service teachers‘ potential to develop their students‘ critical reading skills.
Method: The study group, which was selected using the descriptive survey model, consisted of a total of 173 students attending Balikesir University Necatibey Faculty of Education. A personal information form and the Critical Reading Achievement Test (CRAT) were used as the data collection tools. CRAT employs a multiple-choice format, and its KR 20 reliability was determined to be .81 and its mean difficulty.64. The data were analyzed using a t-test and variance analysis .
Findings and Results: The study revealed that pre-service teachers‘ have moderate critical reading skills. In addition, in the analysis examining the relationships of pre-service teachers‘ critical reading levels to their department, a difference emerged in favor of students from the Turkish Language and Literature Department. In contrast, the analysis revealed that the variables of gender, achievement level, number of books read annually, the preferred book types, and the effective use of social media did not influence students‘ critical reading levels.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Critical reading education constitutes an important dimension of language teaching programs that aim to improve comprehension and expression skills. It is important that pre-service teachers have critical reading skills and know how to teach critical reading. Therefore, critical reading practices and ways of teaching this skill should be included in appropriate courses (reading education, special teaching methods, etc.) in both Turkish language as well as Turkish language and literature teaching programs; additionally, these programs should be supported with optional courses such as critical reading and media literacy.
Keywords: Critical reading, reading skills, language teaching, literature teaching, pre-service teacher