Reading Comprehension and Types of Reading Skills

Reading comprehension is defined as the level of understanding of writing. Proficient reading depends on the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what is read.

Reading in English is like reading in your native language. This means that it is not always necessary to read and understand each and every word in English. Here is a quick overview of the four types of reading skills used in English learning:

1. Skimming
       Skimming is used to quickly gather the most important information, or“gist”. Run your eyes over the text, noting important information. It is not essential to understand each word when skimming.

  • The newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day).
  • Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail)
  • Business and travel brochures (quickly to get informed)

2. Scanning
     Scanning is used to find a particular piece of information. Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans etc. in order to find the specific details you require. If you see word or phrases that you do not understand, do not worry when scanning.

  • The “what’s on TV” section of newspaper
  • A train / air plane schedule
  • A conference guide

3. Extensive Reading
        Extensive reading is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books use extensive reading skills to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you do not understand each word.

  • The latest marketing strategy book
  • A novel you read before going to bed
  • Magazine articles that interest you

4. Intensive Reading
Intensive reading is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number of fact.

  • A book keeping report 
  • An insurance claim
  • A contract
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