Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age: An Introductory Coursebook, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age

An Introductory Coursebook, 2nd Edition

By Andrew Goatly, Preet Hiradhar


334 pages

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Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age is a fully introductory, interactive textbook that explores the power relations at work in and behind the texts we encounter in our everyday lives. Using examples from numerous genres – such as fiction, poetry, advertisements and newspapers – this textbook examines the language choices a writer must make in structuring texts, representing the world and positioning the reader. Assuming no prior knowledge of linguistics, Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age offers guidance on how to read texts critically and how to develop effective writing skills.

Extensively updated, key features of the second edition include:

  • a radically revised and repackaged section that highlights the theme of discourses of power and authority and the new possibilities for resisting them;
  • a revamped analysis of the art of communication which has changed due to the advent of new media including Facebook and Wikipedia;
  • fresh examples, exercises and case studies including fan fiction, articles from the BBC, Daily Mail and South China Morning Post, and a selection of international ads for a variety of products;
  • a brand new companion website at featuring projects, quizzes and activities for each chapter, a glossary and further reading.

Written by two experienced teachers, Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age is an ideal coursebook for students of English language.


"This accessible introduction to critical reading and writing takes the reader on a fascinating journey from the intricate details of language to the overarching social and ecological issues of our time. Through lucid explanations of linguistic theory and compelling examples it helps students develop critical reading skills to understand how language shapes the society they live in, and critical writing skills to contribute to transformation of that society. A highly stimulating and thought-provoking textbook which will give students the skills in linguistic analysis they need, and will energise and engage them to put those skills into practice."

Arran Stibbe, University of Gloucestershire, UK

Praise for the previous edition:

"Provides clear, introductory-level explanations and practical exercises that can help develop critical awareness of the relationship between composing/reading and intertextuality in the construction of textual world. The lively tone of the text and the effectiveness of the explanations make it highly accessible to students." - Eileen Smith, Shasta College, USA for Linguistlist

"Provides lucid, clearly illustrated, concise explanations and well thought out exercises that will give students the competence, confidence and motivation to engage critically with texts. An invaluable coursebook." - Chris Christie, Loughborough University, UK

"For the first time we have a teaching tool for a truly international, cross-cultural English Studies, that will work across a wide range of university faculties and class work … a much needed synthesis of the what and why of critical language study and the how-to of critical writing instruction. We have waited long enough for a book like this. I'm very glad it's finally here." - David Stacey, Humboldt State University, USA

"This is a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible introduction to the basic terms, tools and techniques of discourse analysis. At the same time, unusually, it offers systematic yet sensitive guidance in practices of critical writing as well as reading." - Rob Pope, Oxford Brookes University, UK

"Critical Reading and Writingoffers pathways into the literature and includes many integrated proposals for student assignments and for the training of particular writing skills." - Pol Cuvelier, Pragmatics

Table of Contents


Section A: Critical Linguistics--reading meanings off the text

Unit 1. Genre and the organisation of text

Unit 2 Text and conceptual meaning

Unit 3 text and interpersonal meaning

Section B: Critical Discourse: reading meanings into the text

Unit 4 Interpreting discourse

Unit 5 Reading and writing positions

Unit 6 Intertextuality

Section C: The authority and power behind discourse and resisting it

Unit 7 Ads, consumer capitalism and the crisis of inequality

Unit 8 News, institutional power and the crisis of democracy

Unit 9 Environmental discourse, poetry and the ecological crisis

Unit 10 The power of fiction and comedy

About the Authors

Andrew Goatly has taught English Language and Linguistics in colleges and universities in the UK, Rwanda, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and is currently an Honorary Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is the author of The Language of Metaphors (Routledge 1997).

Preet Hiradhar is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General