Reading is dreaming with open eyes

There are primarily four types of reading techniques

1. Skimming

2. Scanning

3. Intensive Reading

4. Extensive Reading

Readers can skillfully use these techniques to enhance their reading performance and get the best of their reading time. Most readers think that they need to read from beginning to end in order to understand an article. However, the truth is that most academic reading consists of a huge amount of information; out of which only a faction is important to us. We can select information according to our requirements by using these reading techniques.


Skimming is a speed reading technique which uses rapid eye movement to get the gist or overall view of the content. You glance through the text to get an understanding what it is about. We look through main points without comprehending the entire text.  You can cover a vast amount of material in a short amount of time. We skim a text to get the main idea of the content without wasting much time on it. We usually skim content when we read product reviews, do last minute revisions or do a quick research. Your effective skimming skills depend on knowing what information you want.

Steps for skimming effectively

1. Read the heading

2. Read the introduction

3. Read the first sentence of each paragraph

4. Read sub-headings if any

5. Notice any words with different fonts, bold or italicized

6.  Observe data like date, events or names

7.  Look at charts, graphs or pictures

8. Read the conclusion and understand the summary of the content

Most texts are coherently organized with the main points in the first few lines and last few lines of the paragraphs. Connecters are used to link the paragraphs into a coherent whole. Therefore, most of the required information can be gathered by using the skimming technique.


This technique involves finding the required information by trying to find out the keywords. It is used for searching specific information from a big amount of text.  Scanning a text implies running your eyes very fast through the content for finding figures, names, dates or any other data which is of importance to you. We scan through a dictionary or a directory for finding words or names. We also scan through menus, news articles and e-mail lists.

Scanning tips

1. Analyze the manner in which the text is arranged

2. Decide the area of text to scan

3. Run your eyes through the text in a zigzag pattern to take in as much of the text as possible

4. Find the required keywords and mark if required

5. Names begin with capital letters and are easy to scan

6. Numbers and dates are easily indentified through the scanning technique.

Answering through scanning

i. Read the question

ii. Detect keywords in question

iii. Scan through text searching for keywords

iv. Find the right answer and write


Deep reading for the purpose of understanding a text is termed as intensive reading. This type of reading is time consuming requiring a lot of refection during reading time. Reading for research purposes, information retention and analysis calls for intensive reading. 


This is the most time consuming and labour intensive of all types of reading. We read every word in detail trying to understand the content from every aspect. Through detailed reading we analyze each word for meaning and deeper understanding of the content. This takes time and patience but is the most useful technique for reading medical reports, poetic literature and scholarly research materials.


The type of reading required while reading for pleasure, is called Extensive reading. This type of reading is done at a leisurely pace and we enjoy the writing. We read extensively without putting much concentration over the details of the text. Reading thrillers, fiction and novels for entertainment involves extensive reading.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.

Rachel Anders


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