Imagine you’re reading an article on bioluminescence—the light emitted by sea creatures like plankton and fungi that illuminates seawater like a glow stick. Now, as you’re reading about this phenomenon, how much of it do you actually register?

It’s possible that you lose focus when the article mentions a chemical reaction or some scientific terms that you’re not very familiar with. Intensive reading can help you retain more information as you’re reading. Skimming words is not enough. If you want to reap the benefits of reading, you need to understand everything from grammar and vocabulary to the author’s intent and meaning.

Let’s understand the meaning and definition of intensive reading and its benefits.

What Is Intensive Reading?

The meaning of intensive reading is to read with full concentration and complete focus. It’s not about reading book after book or 10 articles a day. Even if you’re reading a single-line quote, you should try to understand what the words are trying to convey.

Intensive reading is one of the most critical skills you can develop to get a better understanding of information. When you have to read a report for work, for instance, you can’t just skim it and call it a day. You have to get a deeper understanding of what’s written, assess the purpose and evaluate the results to make sense of it. Reading intensively will help you tackle complex texts. You’ll be able to strengthen your reading comprehension, vocabulary and language skills.

How To Read Intensively

In school, it was easier to read in bulk and still understand everything. This is primarily because we had more time and fewer worries related to our future. Today, we get distracted for a good hour if someone so much as rings the doorbell. Here are some ways to develop the habit of intensive reading.

  1. Taking Notes

Try to jot down notes and ideas in the margins as you’re reading. Maybe you have a question related to the text or a thought that you want to express. Taking notes is convenient when you reread the text and can be particularly helpful when you’re reading a long report. Add sticky notes with questions, ideas and opinions so you can share them with the author. Not only will you be able to keep track but it’ll also give you something to focus on while you’re reading.

  1. Break Down the Reading Process

A handy trick to intensive reading is breaking it down into three steps—pre-reading, reading and post-reading. The first step is preparation: use your existing knowledge to understand the purpose of the text. The second is the actual reading process that’s supplemented by note-taking. The final step is what comes after you’re done reading. This is where you summarize all the information, ask questions and get your thoughts in order.

  1. Apply What You’ve Learnt

It’s not enough to simply keep the information to yourself and forget about it the next day. If you can find ways to use that information, you’ll be able to retain it for much longer. For instance, if you’re reading a report on achieving sales targets, you can make notes that you can later share with your team. These can include points to look out for, strategies for advertising and other ideas that crop up as you read.

You’ll find that there are many advantages of intensive reading. It increases your efficiency and saves time in the process. You’re able to focus on one task and deliver improved results.

Some examples of intensive reading are:

  • Articles or editorials in magazines like The Economic and Political Weekly

  • Blog posts on various topics ranging from science and technology to art and culture

  • Short stories or poetry with layers of meaning

  • Business reports packed with important information, numbers and data

  • Analyzing statistical data like diagrams, images and tables

Reading is a joyous experience that you can share with others. When you read something interesting, you can even have informative discussions with your friends and colleagues. Intensive reading will help you tackle everything from office communication to current news.

Harappa Education’s Reading Deeply course will teach you more about the three steps of reading. It’s designed for people who want to improve their reading skills and understand different kinds of information. Learn how to summarize information, present ideas and interpret different texts to improve your performance at work.


Explore topics such as the Importance of ReadingTypes of ReadingLevels of ReadingHow to Improve Reading Skills & What is Extensive Reading from our Harappa Diaries section and improve your reading skills.

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