Reading and its Techniques

Reading and its Techniques

There are four skills usually used to master a language. Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. A good reader becomes good listeners, speakers and writers. Nonetheless, the fact remains that no one skill learned alone, mostly the combination of all skills. Reading is preferred for Pleasure, examination, general information, specific knowledge, problem-solving, draw logic etc.

Types of Reading

1. Scanning

2. Skimming

3. Intensive Reading

4. Extensive Reading 

Above are the four types of readings. Usually, we call them as reading techniques.

In the age of internet and information overload what to read and what not to read is extremely crucial. Reading techniques help in dealing with such a situation. 

Detail Explanation of types of reading


Scanning is reading with a specific purpose in mind for specific information. When one reads an entire text/ document quickly while looking for specific information, it is known as scanning. 

For examples:- Going through an entire newspaper and looking for specific news like try to get specific information about Delhi University admission, on Election- Poll etc.


Skimming is speed reading for an overview of general information. Going through an entire newspaper quickly through the headlines is an example of skimming. Going through Data- table quickly to elicit to an overall idea of the topic on which data is presented is an example of skimming techniques of reading. Do not expect or deep comprehension of the written text after skimming. Reading only the headings of the chapter is skimming.

“A.K Pugh in his book “Silent Reading – An Introduction to its Study and Teaching suggested that since scanning is a less complex style of reading it can be introduced first. Skimming requires fluency and more practice required, it should be introduced later.”

Intensive Reading

It is a specific written piece for a specific purpose. It is going into minutest details of a particular word/phrase/line/paragraph.

For example:- 

“The woods are lovely dark & deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep”

Refer: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by “Robert Frost”

To answer a question like,’ what is the meaning of ‘woods’ in the poem, one will adopt intensive reading techniques. This Skill is very crucial for language learners, as they pick up vocabulary focus on structure& syntax while following these techniques.

Scrivener in his book ‘Learning Teaching’ Published in 1994, described that the readers carefully and closely read a short text to gain as an understanding of as much as detail as possible.

Extensive Reading

It is a kind of general reading for general information. Generally, this technique is used for pleasure reading, like reading a novel for pleasures.

For Example:- If one is asked to read to a chapter before discussing it in class, one goes for extensive reading to get the general idea of the piece. While reading unseen passage, both extensive & intensive both is required. For dealing with specific questions intensive reading is required, but for initial reading is for the general idea of the passage.

Skimming and Scanning Together

  • Both are referred to as types of reading & other times as skills. 
  • By practising skimming & scanning, the individual learns to read and select specific information without focusing on information that is not important or meaning. 
  • Skimming involves a thorough overview of a text and implies limited activity, only retrieving information relevant to a purpose.

Intensive and Extensive Reading Together

  • It is common for both approaches to reading to be used in the same class. For example, where extensive reading is encouraged, the teacher may have the student read together or learn a specific skill such as writing an outline.
  • In the class where intensive reading is mostly used, the student may be asked to read texts of their choosing to report back on, in either an oral or written format.
  • In both approaches, it is not the nature of the skills that are of most interest but rather, results.