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Old Thursday, July 31, 2008
Faryal Shah's Avatar
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Default Types of Reading

There are various types of reading. Did you know that?

Don't use the same approach to reading all the time.

Choose your approach to suit the task in hand.

What follow are notes on different types of reading.

These techniques apply to books, magazines, or anything else in printed form.


Check what you are reading - a rapid glance is all that's necessary.

Is it what you need? up to date? right for the task?

Are all the contents relevant - or only some?

Are they written at the right level for you?

Answer these questions quickly.

This is also known as previewing.


Here you explore the contents in a little more detail.

Look at chapter headings, or the introduction.

Skim read a page or two in various chapters.

Keep asking yourself "Is this book suitable for me?"

If the answer is "No" - move on to something else.


This is making a rapid survey of the subject.

This may be to get a rough idea, or to see what the book is about.

Glance through the book quickly and pick up the main points.

Try to get a general picture of what it's about.

This is a very useful skill which becomes easier with practice.


Here you are looking for a single piece of information.

For instance, someone's telephone number.

Go straight to the contents, or the index, or locate the page.

Look up the item you need - and write it down.

Put the book back - and move on without browsing.


This is focusing your attention on one part of a book.

Only one part is important for what your need.

Read the section, get the idea, and leave the rest alone.

Don't be distracted into browsing over more than you need.

This requires self-discipline, but it's a very useful skill.


Here you are reading to understand the contents of a book.

It's the most common approach in any serious form of study.

You need to concentrate whilst reading.

You should try to understand what the writer means.

You might also be taking notes whilst reading.

The reading may be part of your coursework, or research for a project.

You might also need to read a book more than once to grasp the point it is making.


This is reading for 'appreciation'.

This approach is used in subjects such as literature and religious studies.

Every word may be studied in close detail.

You are looking for any possible meaning it may contain.

The result of this is a deep understanding of the book.


Here you are reading to 'find out what happens next'.

For instance, when reading popular fiction.

You will rarely dwell on the book or study it closely.

This is reading for pleasure or entertainment.

You don't need to pay attention to every word.


Speed reading courses teach you ultra-rapid skim-reading techniques.

This may be useful for absorbing information at a surface level.

It's not really suitable for understanding and retaining information.

It's unlikely to help if you are engaged in studying.

Keep in mind the Woody Allen joke:

"I went on a speed reading course last week - and it worked! Yesterday I read War and Peace in an hour ... It's about some Russians."


Choose your style of reading to suit the task in hand.

Don't think that all books should be read in the same way.

Keep in mind why you are reading. You'll get more done!


Faryal shah
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
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