Types and Methods of Reading

As you progress in academics, career, and social relationships, there is an increasing need to be involved in various types of reading. The ability and the habit of reading effectively and wholly is the key to great strides in all ramifications of your life. 

This article, therefore, brings you to the various types and methods of reading that contain a repertoire of strategies to apply in different circumstances.

Types of Reading

People read for different purposes. Similarly, there are different types of reading. Kosak (2017: 7) identifies three major types of reading viz: skimming reading, general reading, and close reading.

Skimming reading is described as the most rudimentary that enables quick familiarization with the material you are reading. It is carried out to confirm expectations or for communicative tasks.

Read Also: Reading Materials and Sources of Reading Materials

The reading strategy for newspapers and magazines is different from that of academic and scholarly texts. Your reading strategy should fit the material. When you read magazines or newspapers, you scan or skim the contents and turn to interesting articles. 

This is because magazines and newspapers most often portray fragmented coverage of issues. They often concentrate on the most interesting and glamorous aspects of a topic. Which helps to boost their sales. 

They usually neglect or relegate to the background, supposedly fewer exciting details that may be essential to a full understanding of a subject. You cannot skim or scan when you are reading your academic texts for assignments, examinations, term papers, or for preparing proposals

General reading is reading for general understanding. It is reading that enables you to retrieve specific information. It is also known as scanning. 

It is looking through a text quickly to get a specific piece of information‖ or moving your eyes quickly over the page to find words names or phrases relevant to your task. 

This type of reading is helpful when you are looking for the answer to a known question. It enables you to quickly scan through an item to read from the top of the page to the bottom.

Close reading as the name implies describes reading for a complete understanding of the material. It is the most important type of reading for a successful academic pursuit. 

It is reading to extract information accurately from the entire document. This requires careful reading to understand the full content of what is read. It is also known as searching or detailed reading. Some writers describe this as analytical reading.


This is a painstaking slow kind of reading. This kind of reading applies to texts that are difficult to read. It is reading slowly and systematically that may require saying the words out loud or combining sight reading with the internal sounding of the words as if spoken.

Read Also: Definition of the Concepts of Reading and Learning

Extensive reading/Light Reading

This is reading quickly with minimal concentration or trying to understand every word in the text. This is more like the general reading. 

Reading novels and large amounts of high-interest materials mainly to build confidence, enjoyment, and comprehend main ideas constitute extensive reading.

Intensive reading/Study Reading

This is deep reading that involves thinking, understanding, and recalling what is being read. This kind of reading requires reflection, thought, analysis, criticism, comparison, notes made, points highlighted and emphasized, arguments followed and evaluated, and the whole text summarized. 

It is intensive reading that calls attention to grammatical forms, discourse markers, and other surface structure details for the purpose of understanding literal meaning, implications, and rhetorical relationships.

Read Also: The Reading Process and the Goal of Reading

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