The Best Reading Techniques to Increase Knowledge

Are you a student who wants to know about all kinds of reading techniques?

Are you a teacher, training students for distinct reading ways that can help them during their stressful exam conditions?

Reading Techniques

Even if you are not any one of these and simply looking out for the various sorts of reading techniques, then this post busts all of it. Considering that you only have basic knowledge, let me first give you an overview of what is reading and prominent reading techniques.

What is Reading Technique?

In theoretical terms, reading is a cognitive procedure involving intricate decoding of symbols to structure meaningful passage or comprehension. It is a way of communication, sharing information, data, ideas, and language acquisition.

Just like other languages, reading is a complex interface between the reader and the text. It is based on the prior experience, knowledge, language, and attitude of the reader. Hence, it is socially or culturally situated.

In order to be a skilled reader, one must have continuous development, practice, and refining.

Why Reading is Important?

Journals, magazines, books, and newspapers are one of the cost-effective sources of knowledge and entertainment. The only way to acquire knowledge through these sources is reading.

But this is not the only reason why one must be well-versed in reading. The other reasons that make reading important are:

1. Great Exercise for Brain:

Reading is one of the finest exercises for the brain. When a person is reading, his brain cells are working continuously to understand the meaning of the text and relate the same to various aspects of the information read.

Reading fuels the brain as well as encourages it to think about the various possible aspects for identifying its meaning.

2. Enhances Concentration

For a person to read successfully, he has to focus for a longer time period. This is why people with regular reading habits have strong concentration power.

It is because one can understand the meaning of the text or the entire information only when the mind is concentrating on a specific matter. Reading is therefore great for concentration as well as focus.

3. Enriches Knowledge:

Reading imparts knowledge of those who practice it on a regular basis.

With adequate reading skills, the readers are able to diversify their fields of knowledge that offers them the opportunity to participate in lucrative discussions and fruitful decision-making process.

4. Boosts Analytical Thinking:

In addition to enhancing analytical thinking, reading is also great to sharpen your analyzing skills. It helps to let you learn to evaluate things in a much better way.

Hence, reading is a wonderful practice for those who wish to enhance their analytical thinking.

5. Improves Vocabulary:

If you are reading good quality materials then it will obviously increase your vocabulary. It is because reading always introduces you to new words and unfamiliar phrases, which can be used for writing and speaking as well.

Most importantly, reading not just enhances our vocabulary but also offer us a way to express ourselves in a better way.

6. Improves Writing Skills:

A person with rich vocabulary, which is developing on a regular basis can be able to write better. Reading on a regular basis helps to gradually improve our vocabulary that further enhances our writing skills.

It even augments our ability to think and boosts our writing expressions.

7. Reduces Stress:

Reading is best practiced in a peaceful and tranquil environment. It is a great way to reduce stress and change human nature drastically. It enriches us with knowledge, amuses us, and entertains us in a positive manner.

You can relieve tensions and stress with reading and boost your energy levels.

You’ve now known about reading and why it so important for everyone. Here explore some of the prominent reading techniques.

Different Types of Reading Techniques:


1. What is Skimming?

Also known as gist reading, this form of reading technique helps you to know what exactly the text is about in a quick look. It gives you a basic idea of the information or text being read.

Most of the times, we practice it while reading a magazine or newspaper. We quickly skim the content to have a basic idea of what the articles talk about. Even, we skim to search names in a telephone or address directory.

Regularly practicing skimming can help you reach a readable word count of 700 words in a minute. Though this form of reading offers a very low level of understanding but is highly useful when you are short of time or want to search for something quickly.

Some Examples of Skimming:

  • Reading a newspaper to quickly know the general news of the day.
  • Travel and business brochures to quickly get information.
  • Magazines to quickly explore articles that are more interesting to read.

When to Use Skimming?

You can use skimming,

  • To read quickly a lengthy online content in order to get its overview.
  • To review lengthy documents quickly.
  • When you are short of time and have lots of material to read.
  • During a survey to get important general details in hand.
  • To find out interesting topics in a magazine, newspaper, or to get a basic idea of a brochure.

Some Strategies to Skim:

  • Start by reading the titles, sub-titles, headings, sub-headings, and illustrations.
  • Read the first and last paragraphs, headings, and summaries.
  • Read the first sentence of the topic of each paragraph.
  • Don’t delve into reading the details.
  • It is a fast way of reading faster and with speed.

2. Scanning

What is Scanning?

Have you ever gone through a guide book of a historical city or any similar stuff?

You definitely must have and scan the guide book to witness sites that you would want to visit.

Scanning is another common technique of reading that involves a strong connection between your eyes and mind. Your eyes quickly scuttle across sentences and are used to avail simple information.

As per research, reading off a computer screen is almost scanning. It is speedier as compared to text and comprehensions on paper. Scanning is essential for students as it lets them give enough significance to illustrations.

Examples of Scanning

  • A guide to the historical site
  • Sections of the newspaper for what is upcoming and what is on TV
  • Airplane or train schedule
  • A conference guide

When to Use Scanning?

  • You can use scanning in the following conditions:
  • When you begin to read a book on any subject.
  • You read one chapter and come across a word that is not known to you.
  • To identify the meaning of the specific word and check it on the dictionary.
  • You check the spelling, pronunciation, meaning, and other uses of a word.
  • You scan through different words in a sheet till you find the word that you are looking for.
  • To find a passage or text to find a specific idea or word.

3. Intensive Reading:

Another common technique of reading is intensive reading. This kind of reading technique is practiced when you are clear about your aims in mind. As compared to skimming or scanning, intensive reading is more time-consuming.

Intensive training is practiced when you need to list the chronology of some events. This kind of reading has certain benefits for language learners. It is because it helps them comprehend vocabulary by deducing the meaning of certain words in context.

Moreover, it helps with information retention for long time periods and knowledge resulting from this kind of reading, persists in the long-term memory.

Examples of Intensive Reading:

  • A Contract
  • A claim from insurance
  • A bookkeeping report

When to Use Intensive Reading?

  • It is useful to read shorter texts such as keynotes. It helps you to collect the key points in the keynote. You read such things slowly and with lots of concentration.
  • When you read a reference material or a reference book for writing an article or thesis with an aim to review it.
  • Intensive training involves the use of all scanning, skimming, and extensive reading techniques.
  • When you have to read the complete text because every piece of content in it is relevant and important to assess the meaning and depth of the content.

4. Extensive Reading

The technique of extensive reading is when you read for pleasure. It is practiced when there is some element of enjoyment involved in the reading. Most of the times, students practice extensive reading, when they have to read a text that they do not like.

This technique is like assimilation and fluid decoding of the content available for reading. If the content is complex to read and you are stopping every minute to figure out its meaning or to find the meaning of new words in the dictionary then you are breaking your concentration and practicing extensive reading.

Examples of Extensive Reading:

  • Magazine articles, which are of great interest to you
  • A novel that you read before sleeping
  • The latest book on marketing strategy

When to Use Extensive Reading?

  • Use it when you only want some entertainment from reading.
  • It is useful when gaining knowledge is not the aim.
  • When you wish to alleviate stress and have peace of mind.
  • Reading for an extra-curricular activity.

The Five-Step Approach to Reading Techniques:

Whenever you begin reading content or text, it usually follows a five-step approach. This will help you develop a better understanding of the content.

Step 1: Orientation

You first have to look carefully at elements that give you information. This includes a reading table of contents, title, introductory paragraph, subheadings, vocabulary, etc

You have to figure out the type of content, elements that it involves characters, dialogue, action, and chronological order. Finally, think about what you expect from reading the content.

Step 2: Skimming

Next, read the complete content silently once or twice. Avoid using a dictionary at this point in time and use self-understanding.

When you will read the content for the first time it will help orient you to the content and make you feel more comfortable. Focus on crucial aspects like cognates, logical relationships, compound words, and the relationship between phrases and words. Skip anything you don’t understand. Just try to maintain the flow.

When you will read the content for the second time you will feel more comfortable with it. There will be some passages that might be unclear during the first read but will clear up in the second reading.

Once you are done, create a mental summary on the basis of your understanding.

Step 3: Scanning

You must have scanned a travel brochure, a train schedule, and similar stuff an ample number of times. When scanning, you have to extract some basic facts.

Go through the names, descriptive nouns, dates, names of places, and other elements. Once you have all such things, pull them together and jot down the important information. You can now write a loose chronology of every important thing. Don’t use a dictionary at this time.

Step 4: Decoding

After skimming and scanning, there will be lots of grammatical and vocabulary difficulties that are complex. In this case, you have to practice intensive reading and read word-by-word. Read the text slowly and decode important sections, which are carefully analyzing the word.

Try maintaining logical relationships, locate vital words in the sentence or phrase, and identify aspects to which these groups or word refers.

Step 5: Global Understanding

Once you are done with all the readings, you must figure out everything that is being said in the content, its meaning, and its relation to all facts in the content.

Efficient reading might seem a complex process, but when practiced appropriately, it will help you achieve your desired action with ease. Make sure you identify the aim well, know the background details, select an appropriate reading strategy, note down relevant text, and concentrate.

Finally, monitor the comprehension to detect comprehension failures and inconsistencies. If needed, switch to alternative strategies. It is because ultimately your reading must fulfill your final aim.

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