improving reading skills

Ask yourself this question: Do I read every word in your own language when I am reading a schedule, summary, or other outlining document?

The answer is most definitely: No! Reading in English is like reading in your native language. This means that it is not always necessary to read and understand each and every word in English. Remember that reading skills in your native language and English are basically the same.

Here is a quick overview of the four types of reading skills used in every language:

Skimming – used to understand the “gist” or main idea Scanning – used to find a particular piece of information Extensive reading – used for pleasure and general understanding Intensive reading – accurate reading for detailed understanding

SkimmingSkimming is used to quickly gather the most important information, or ‘gist’. Run your eyes over the text, noting important information. Use skimming to quickly get up to speed on a current business situation. It’s not essential to understand each word when skimming.

Examples of Skimming:

  • The Newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day)
  • Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail)
  • Business and Travel Brochures (quickly to get informed)

Scanning

Scanning is used to find a particular piece of information. Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans, etc. in order to find the specific details you require. If you see words or phrases that you don’t understand, don’t worry when scanning.

Examples of Scanning

  • The “What’s on TV” section of your newspaper.
  • A train / airplane schedule
  • A conference guide

Extensive reading

Extensive reading is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books. Use extensive reading skills to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you understand each word.

Examples of Extensive Reading

  • The latest marketing strategy book
  • A novel you read before going to bed
  • Magazine articles that interest you

Intensive readingIntensive reading is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number or fact.

Examples of Intensive Reading

  • A bookkeeping report
  • An insurance claim
  • A contract

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