Reading skills - 2: Types of reading
There are different styles of reading for different contexts The method one prefers will depend on the purpose of reading For example, one might be reading for seeking pleasure, gathering knowledge or finishing a task
There are different styles of reading for different contexts. The method one prefers will depend on the purpose of reading. For example, one might be reading for seeking pleasure, gathering knowledge or finishing a task. If one is exploring or reviewing, one can skim a text. If one is searching for information, one can scan for a particular word or content. Depending on the purpose, one need to alter one’s reading speed and method.
Many people believe skimming and scanning as methods for searching information rather than reading strategies. However, while reading large volumes, these may be more sensible than comprehensive reading. For example, when one might be probing for precise information, looking for clues or reviewing information; these methods are effective.
Newspapers, magazines, journals, books, web sources etc. are just a few of the documents that people read regularly. Successful and proficient readers learn to adopt several styles of reading for different purposes. Skimming, scanning, intensive reading and extensive reading are the proven styles of reading and information processing.
Skimming is used to rapidly identify the main ideas of a text. When one reads the newspaper, one is most likely not reading it word-by-word; instead one is scanning the text. Skimming is ended at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. People often skim when they have plenty of materials to read in a limited time. Skimming is used when one reads an article of one’s interest.
There are many techniques that can be used when skimming. Some people read the first and last paragraphs using titles, sub-titles and summaries as they move down the page or screen. Think about reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This technique is useful when one is looking for exact information rather than reading for comprehension. Skimming works well to find specific data like dates, names and places. It can be used to review graphs, tables, charts and other pictorial information.
Scanning is a technique often used to find a word in a book, a number in a telephone dictionary or to seek key words or ideas. In most cases, one knows what one is looking for i.e. focusing on finding a particular answer. Scanning involves moving eyes quickly through the page in search of particular words and phrases. Scanning is also used when one first finds a source to determine whether it will answer one’s questions. When the document is scanned, one can go back and skim it.
While scanning, look for the author's use of specific details such as numbers, letters, phrases, or the words, first, second, or next. Look for words that are unique like bold faced, italic, or in a dissimilar font size, style or color.
Intensive Reading sometimes called "Narrow Reading", may make students reading selections by the same author or several texts about the same topic. When this happens, content and grammatical structures repeat themselves and students get many chances to comprehend the meanings of the text. The success of intensive reading on improving reading comprehension is based on the foundation that the more familiar the reader is with the text, either due to the subject matter or having read other works by the same author, the more comprehension is developed.
• generally classroom based
• reader is intensely occupied in looking inside the text
• students focus on linguistic or semantic details of a reading
• students focus on surface structure details such as grammar and communication markers
• students identify key expressions
• students may draw pictures to assist them (such as in problem solving)
• texts are read attentively again and again
• objective is to build more language knowledge rather than simply practice the skill of reading
• seen more frequently than extensive reading in classrooms
Extensive reading is carried out to achieve a general awareness of a text. It is also known as reading large amounts of important material, at leisure, to get general idea and the gist of the text.
The objective of extensive reading is to build reader’s confidence and pleasure. Extensive reading is always done for the comprehension of main ideas, not for specific details.
1. Students read as to a great extent as possible.
2. A diversity of materials on a range of topics is available.
3. Students opt for what they love to read.
4. The objectives of reading are typically related to contentment, information and general awareness.
5. Reading is its own reward.
6. Reading texts are well within the linguistic competence of the students in terms of vocabulary and grammar.
7. Reading is individual and quiet.
8. Reading tempo is generally faster than slower.
By Dr K Saroja Devi
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