“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” said English author Joseph Addison.

The comparison couldn’t be more fitting. Just as you need exercise to build your physical strength, you need to read to build your mental muscles.

People read for a variety of reasons—to pass time, to seek answers, or to clear their heads.

Whatever their reasons for reading, it is a great way of exercising the brain and improving your communication skills. Something you really need to grow as a professional. So, what are the different types of reading?

Just as you have simple as well as specialized exercise routines and equipment, you also have different types of reading skills. You can choose the right one depending on your objective.

Different types of reading

It’s important to know the different types of reading skills to make the most of what you are reading. You may reading a novel written by Haruki Murakami or a business report from work. If you’re reading for university, it takes a lot more patience, attention to detail and note-taking. You need to first understand the types of reading there are and then make a case for what you enjoy the most.

Here are some of the most common types of reading you’ll encounter during your life:

  1. Extensive reading:

Extensive reading is one of the methods of reading that people use for relaxation and pleasure. Adopt this method when the purpose is to enjoy the reading experience. It places no burden upon the reader and due to its indulgent nature, it is seldom used if the text isn’t enjoyable.

This is one of the methods of reading that occurs naturally. It’s how you’ve read as a child and while growing up.

This method of reading helps you understand words in context and enriches your vocabulary.

  1. Intensive reading:

Among the different types of reading skills, intensive reading is used when you want to read carefully by paying complete attention to understand every word of the text. It is where you would examine and decipher each unfamiliar word or expression.

As the term states, intensive means in-depth. This reading method is especially used when reading academic texts, where the goal is to prepare for an exam or to publish a report. This method helps retain information for much longer periods.

  1. Scanning:

Imagine if you went to the Louvre museum only to see the Mona Lisa. You’d quickly walk through all the corridors and rooms merely glancing at the walls until you found it. Scanning is quite similar to that.

It is one of those kinds of reading where you read to search for a particular piece of information. Your eyes quickly skim over the sentences until you find it.

You can use this method when you don’t need to go deep into the text and read every word carefully. Scanning involves rapid reading and is often used by researchers and for writing reviews.

  1. Skimming:

Through this method, you try to understand the text in short. Though one saves a lot of time through this method, one will gain only a shallow understanding of the text.

Skimming is a great way to get a broad idea of the topic being discussed. This method is generally used to judge whether the information is useful or not.

A good example of this is picking up a magazine and flipping through the pages. You take in only the headings or the pictures to get a broad idea of what the magazine covers.

  1. Critical reading:

Among the different types of reading strategies, critical reading has a special place. Here, the facts and information are tested for accuracy. You take a look at the ideas mentioned and analyze them until you reach a conclusion.

You would have to apply your critical faculties when using this method. Critical reading is often used when reading the news on social media, watching controversial advertisements, or reading periodicals.

Various types of reading lead to different outcomes. Choosing the right one can be instrumental in furthering your goals. Further, diversifying your reading habits to include different types of reading will enable you to become a better writer and speaker. Improving your communication skills will enable you to convey your ideas with precision and clarity. It’s not always easy to get your point across. But reading gives you the power to understand multiple perspectives. Building a reading habit can be effective in the short and long run.

To harness the full potential of your reading habit, sign up for Harappa Education’s Reading Deeply course. Learn how to improve comprehension and read for deeper understanding. Sign up now and make the most of everything you read.


Explore blogs about skills and topics such as reading skills and the levels of reading in our Harappa Diaries section to improve your reading quotient.

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