Main Types of Reading Skills & Reading Comprehension Tips (2022)

Table of Contents

Though it may be a standard to criticize contemporary society for its seeming indifference towards traditional hobbies like reading, the opinion is actually invalid. Pew Research Center has found that up to 72% of adult Americans enjoy a good book in their spare time. Those people are also likely to read their chosen material in any format available, from printed copies to electronic books. The next time you see someone staring at their phone in public transportation, chances are they’ll be engrossed in fiction rather than scrolling through their Instagram feeds.

If you want to improve your reading skills and practice active reading, you need to master and employ various reading comprehension strategies. Knowing what these strategies are helps you do your critical reading exercises more efficiently.

You should also get familiar with the types of reading skills. Along with writing skills, they are one of the most important to have today. Let’s delve into the importance of incorporating active reading into your daily life and brushing up on the different reading skills.

The Classification of Reading Skills

Main Types of Reading Skills & Reading Comprehension Tips (1)

Credit: Foundry

You will have to read actively to do any comprehension exercise. Since the term reading comprehension is so broad, classifying the skills that it encompasses poses a bit of a challenge. One way to classify reading skills is to differentiate between passive and active reading, also known as uncritical and critical reading, respectively.

Critical reading means you are:

  • Striving to understand texts in depth
  • Gaining new knowledge from texts
  • Double-checking any facts and statements you find in the text
  • Coming to your own conclusions about the text

Uncritical reading means you:

  • Aren’t focused on gaining knowledge from texts
  • Don’t think actively about what you are reading
  • Take what you read at face value
  • Don’t form an original opinion about the text

While critical reading is a skill of its own, there are specific types of reading skills you need to learn to read texts critically.

If you want to delve into the specific types of reading skills that students need to employ and educators need to teach, those would be:

(Video) TYPES OF READING | Scanning Skimming Intensive Extensive | Reading Comprehension | ELC

  1. Decoding
  2. Acquiring new vocabulary
  3. Fluency
  4. Knowing language conventions
  5. Focused attention
  6. Expanding world knowledge

Decoding

Decoding or phonemic awareness is the first skill you learn when you go to school. It is the ability to make out words, phrases, and sentences.

If you are a high school student or you’ve already embarked on your college journey, you are employing the skill of decoding unconsciously. You need this skill to be a critical reader. For example, you may stumble upon an unknown word while you are reading. You don’t know its meaning, but you do know how to pronounce it by decoding the letters and the sounds they make when they are arranged in a specific order.

Vocabulary Range

Using your vocabulary knowledge means you can decipher meaning from the words and phrases you’re reading. You should improve your vocabulary regardless of your age or education level.

Language is a living thing, which means that new vocabulary is being invented and acquired naturally all the time. Whether you are a straight-A student or are struggling to break through your reading barriers, your vocabulary should be evolving constantly.

Vocabulary is also closely related to concept development. What this means is that the richer your vocabulary is, the broader your understanding of the world is. Vocabulary isn’t just a skill that helps you become a proficient reader, but it can also improve your prospects of studying any given major.

Fluency

Reading fluency means you can read any text without difficulty, regardless of whether you are familiar with the topic or not. Fluency in reading is reflected in how much you have to pause while reading to understand what’s written.

A neat way you can gauge your reading fluency is by clocking your reading time. You don’t have to use a stopwatch each time you sit down to enjoy a good book. You can instead time how many minutes it takes you to get through a paragraph or even one sentence of an unfamiliar text.

Here’s one demonstration of reading fluency:

Type of a ReaderSentence Example

Poor reader

You will ︱read this︱sentence︱slowly and︱struggle to︱grasp the︱meaning fast.

Fluent reader

You will have no problem︱reading this sentence︱ in less than a second.

Language Conventions

Language conventions refer to your knowledge of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. While spelling words correctly can fall under vocabulary skills, being familiar with various grammar constructions and standard punctuation rules deserves a special mention.

(Video) READING COMPREHENSION in Exams, Tests - Strategies, Tips and Tricks - Building Reading Skills

If you can understand a text that has complex sentence structures, you possess one reading comprehension skill. You can say that you possess this skill when you are comfortable with using more than several grammatical constructions in your writing. This is one way in which writing and reading skills are interconnected.

When you know how professional authors employ different writing strategies to express certain ideas or convey a specific tone, you can read their texts with ease and understand them perfectly.

Attention

Poor readers have short attention spans. They cannot focus on a lengthy passage without being distracted—oftentimes, by their own thoughts. It’s why attention while being a cognitive skill essentially, is also a part of proficient reading comprehension.

If you are struggling to focus on the text you are reading, you should practice broadening your attention span. There are many ways to accomplish that. For example, you can set a specific time during the day that will be devoted to reading. To get started, 15 minutes of uninterrupted reading is enough. See if, after several days, you can broaden that timespan to 25 minutes or a whole hour.

Another cognitive skill that is relevant for reading is memory. Proficient readers won’t forget what they’ve absorbed as soon as they are occupied by a different activity.

That is called retention, and not only does it help you study better, but it also lets you truly enjoy the reading material and absorb new ideas from it.

World Knowledge

Drawing on your background knowledge of the world is another skill you use unconsciously while you read. In practice, you are relating what you already know to what you are reading.

For example, let’s say you are reading Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice.” The iconic opening sentence goes, “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Your knowledge of the period and its societal conventions helps you see that Austen was poking fun at it.

The more you read, the more knowledge of the world you gain. You use the knowledge you acquired to infer meaning from other texts. This is a good example of how you employ all the different reading skills simultaneously.

Differences Between Active and Passive Reading

In reality, you employ both active and passive reading, depending on your mood and the reason you are reading different texts. If you want to practice reading skills, you need to be able to tell the difference between active and passive reading.

If you are serious about honing your reading skills, you should be able to monitor yourself while reading. For example, you might lose focus often and end up reading passively even though that was not your original intention. When that happens, the best course is to take a short break or go back to the passage you missed before you move on.

To help you discern whether you are reading actively or passively—i.e., critically or uncritically—here’s a table that demonstrates how the two play out:

Active ReadingPassive Reading
  • Aiming to find something out
  • Reading slowly or quickly based on the given information or writing style
  • Going over what you have read in your head and being willing to discuss it with others
  • Taking care to understand the text you’re reading thoroughly
  • Skimming the text before reading it whole
  • Gaining little new knowledge from texts
  • Leafing through the material regardless of the content
  • Letting the ideas in the text slip away quickly upon finishing it
  • Being unwilling to question your understanding of the text
  • Going ahead with reading without any idea what the text is about

Four Reading Skills—From Skimming and Scanning to Intensive and Extensive Reading

Main Types of Reading Skills & Reading Comprehension Tips (2)

(Video) Reading Comprehension and Precis S2 ¦ Reading Skills/ Types of Reading & Reading Components

Credit: Free-Photos

When considering different types of reading skills, a short list of four strategies—or reading styles—may come to mind. These are:

  1. Skimming
  2. Scanning
  3. Intensive
  4. Extensive

All four are types of reading, and they present both the techniques you employ and the skills you use to read.

Intensive Reading

Intensive reading implies you are diving deep into a given text. You want to analyze not only every idea expressed in it but also the words and phrases the author has used. For this reason, intensive reading is usually regarded as an advanced reading activity.

To read intensively, you need several types of reading skills we have outlined, most notably:

  • Advanced vocabulary range
  • Excellent attention span
  • Good memory
  • Familiarity with the context (or extensive world knowledge)

You would, of course, study your school material intensively, but you don’t have to employ this reading style only to study for a good grade. Intensive reading helps you gain new vocabulary, makes you a critical reader, and broadens your attention span further.

If you want an effective intensive reading practice, you should:

  1. Pick a reading material that deals with the topics you are interested in
  2. Set a time when you will read
  3. Preview the text by reading the heading, subheadings, and first sentences of paragraphs
  4. Read the text deeply, noting down any questions that come to mind or highlighting the statements you want to fact-check
  5. Jot down the vocabulary items you are not familiar with

You can read anything you want, from blog posts to scholarly papers. What matters is that you set a specific time to practice intensive reading instead of trying to concentrate on texts while you have other responsibilities on your mind. When it comes to learning new vocabulary, always try to discern the meanings of unknown words and phrases from the context before you look them up in a dictionary.

If possible, you should engage in discussion with someone about what you read. Sharing ideas will help you retain what you read for a long time and truly acquire new knowledge.

Extensive Reading

You can think of extensive reading as reading for pleasure. You don’t have to analyze each part of the reading material or scratch your head anytime you’re not sure what the author wanted to say. Reading extensively implies you are reading to get the bigger picture, enjoy the story, and pass the time.

Extensive reading should not be confused with passive reading. While you are absorbing a certain material for pleasure, you still want to take in new knowledge and engross yourself in the story. Regular extensive reading helps you acquire new vocabulary too. It also builds a healthy habit of reading for pleasure.

Ideal materials for extensive reading are magazines, fiction novels, and comic books. Make sure to pick the material you are interested in and create a relaxing environment for reading for at least an hour. You should also keep any distractions away.

Skimming

Main Types of Reading Skills & Reading Comprehension Tips (3)

(Video) Reading comprehension skills | Reading comprehension strategies | Free English lessons online

Credit: Freddy Castro

Skimming implies going over a text briefly before you decide whether you want to read it whole. In fact, you use skimming a lot in your daily life—for example, when you leaf through a magazine to check if any content in it is worth a complete read.

College students can benefit from skimming texts in particular. If you are a scholar, you need to collect and research long papers often. To help you determine which ones you will use in your study, you should always skim through them first.

Here’s how you can apply the skimming technique:

  • Look at the title and table of contents of your material
  • Go over the text quickly to get the gist of the material
  • Pay attention to bolded or italicized sentences

This technique is useful because it saves you plenty of time. You don’t have to start reading some material deeply only to conclude after a while that it has no use for you.

Scanning

Scanning is the technique you use to locate specific bits of information in texts. Usually, you already know what the text is about, and you know it contains the information you need.

To give you an example, imagine you want to check when the Wars of the Roses ended. You will open a page in your history textbook you know contains this information. Alternatively, you can type in Wars of the Roses into a Google search. Your eyes will fly over the text searching for numbers, and you will have your answer quickly.

Scanning is a useful technique to employ both in education and real life. Like skimming, it saves you time and makes locating specific facts easy.

Types of Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the endgame of any reading activity.

Since there are different types of reading skills, there are different levels of reading comprehension too:

  • Literal—refers to the comprehension of basic information within texts that allows you to answer the five Ws (who, what, where, when, and why) of the story or article you are reading
  • Inferential—based on your literal comprehension of a text, you can predict the unfolding of events in a story or infer meaning from context
  • Applied—using background knowledge to form an opinion about a text and retell it to others. You can give an answer to any question related to the text you have read
  • Evaluative—you can judge the text you read based on the author’s tone, language, or writing style. Evaluative comprehension gives you the power to read between the lines
  • Lexical—implies you can infer the meaning of target vocabulary items within texts. While lexical comprehension is often being taught to children, it can also be used to learn a new language. If you want to practice lexical comprehension, you can look up the keywords and phrases before reading a text

Reading Skills in the Classroom

Reading skills are a varied concept. You can employ many different strategies to improve your comprehension. While we have taken care to outline all the essential critical reading skills, our list is not exhaustive. For example, you can use different poetry reading strategies if you want to deepen your understanding of the verse.

Reflecting on the importance of critical reading, would you say you are being taught these skills efficiently in school? Do your teachers use fun ways to teach reading or utilize technology and teach reading through apps? Both are not only possible but necessary if high school education is to be effective and prepare you for your life after graduation.

If you believe there can be innovations in schools to improve the high school experience for you and your peers, we want to hear your ideas! Write to us, and we’ll make sure your voice is heard.

(Video) English Pedagogy - Types of Reading | Scanning, Skimming, Intensive, Extensive Reading #readingskill

Let’s rethink American education together!

FAQs

What are the 3 main reading skills? ›

Decoding, fluency, and vocabulary skills are key to reading comprehension. Being able to connect ideas within and between sentences helps kids understand the whole text.

What are the 4 main reading skills? ›

The ultimate goal in reading is comprehension, but being able to comprehend a text accurately requires strength in each of four skill areas: alphabetics, vocabulary, fluency, AND comprehension.

What are the types of reading comprehension? ›

While, according to Barret's taxonomy, there are five types of reading comprehension: literal comprehension, reorganization, inferential, evaluation, and appreciation.

Why are reading skills important? ›

Reading is Essential and serves as a basic building block for learning, regardless of the school subject, be it language arts or even math. In daily life, the need to read things such as street signs or prescriptions proves reading is also an important life skill. 2. Reading Strengthens the Brainand improves memory.

What are reading skills explain? ›

Reading skills are abilities that pertain to a person's capacity to read, comprehend, interpret and decode written language and texts. Exceptional reading skills can be highly beneficial to assimilating and responding to written communications like emails, messages, letters and other written messages.

What are the 5 basic reading skills? ›

Effective instructional programs and materials emphasize the five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

What are the 5 types of reading? ›

There are different reading modes and each of them has its own peculiarities. Those are scanning, skimming eyes, extensive reading and intensive reading. Also, reading modes are classified by the degree of involvement — active and passive.

What is reading skill PDF? ›

A good way of getting started on developing your reading skills is to think about how you read a text or passage. There are three main reading techniques that you can use: scanning, skimming, and focused reading. Let's discuss each in turn.

What is reading in English? ›

Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. Learn how readers integrate these facets to make meaning from print. Reading is making meaning from print. It requires that we: Identify the words in print – a process called word recognition.

What are the 6 purposes of reading? ›

According to Grabe William and L. Fredrika (2002), the category of purpose for reading includes are: reading to search for simple information, reading to skim quickly, reading to learn from text, reading to integrate information, reading to write, reading to critique texts and reading for general comprehension.

What are the two main types of reading? ›

Reading is divided into two types based on the way it functions and the level of attention it requires: Extensive Reading. Intensive Reading.

What is the meaning of reading comprehension? ›

Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. It relies on two, interconnected abilities: word reading (being able to decode the symbols on the page) and language comprehension (being able to understand the meaning of the words and sentences).

How does reading help a student? ›

Reading expands your vocabulary, it improves your focus, memory skills, and self-esteem. But it also helps you alleviate stress and become more emphatic, ingredients that can assure your academic success.

How can students improve their reading skills? ›

8 Tips to Help Students Build Better Reading Skills
  1. Annotate and highlight text. ...
  2. Personalize the content. ...
  3. Practice problem solving skills. ...
  4. Incorporate more senses. ...
  5. Understand common themes. ...
  6. Set reading goals. ...
  7. Read in portions. ...
  8. Let students guide their reading.
12 Apr 2017

What is the value of reading? ›

Reading may also lead to a better, more balanced life. What happens when students read? They train their brains, in essence. They are mentally stimulated, acquire knowledge and ideas, reduce stress in their lives, improve their vocabularies and memory, and develop keener analytical skills.

What is the process of reading? ›

Reading is a process that includes three phases: before reading, during reading and after reading. In the before-reading phase, the reader establishes in his or her mind a purpose and a plan for reading. Then, the reader begins to read the written text—the during-reading phase.

What is an example of comprehension? ›

The definition of comprehension refers to your ability to understand something, or your actual understanding of something. An example of comprehension is how well you understand a difficult math problem. The act or fact of grasping the meaning, nature, or importance of; understanding.

How can I improve my comprehension skills? ›

How to develop good comprehension skills
  1. Read, read, read. Reading frequently will help your son learn new words and interpret different meanings. ...
  2. Make links to the text. ...
  3. Try to guess what will happen next. ...
  4. Visualise. ...
  5. Ask questions. ...
  6. Keep track of the meaning. ...
  7. Summarise.
24 Apr 2018

What is the Big 5 in reading? ›

Reading is broken down into five main areas: ​phonemic awareness​, ​phonics​, ​fluency​, ​vocabulary​, and ​comprehension​.

Why are the 5 components of reading important? ›

There are five aspects to the process of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. These five aspects work together to create the reading experience. As children learn to read they must develop skills in all five of these areas in order to become successful readers.

What are levels of reading? ›

There are four levels of reading.
...
The 4 Levels of Reading
  • Elementary Reading. ...
  • Inspectional Reading. ...
  • Analytical Reading. ...
  • Syntopical Reading.

What are the 4 types of comprehension? ›

The 4 Types of Comprehensions in Python
  • list comprehension.
  • generator comprehension.
  • set comprehension.
  • dictionary comprehension.
18 Nov 2020

What are the 10 tips for reading comprehension? ›

10 simple ways to improve reading comprehension.
  • 1) Reading environment. ...
  • 2) Skim it. ...
  • 3) Visualize it. ...
  • 4) Summarize what you read.
  • 5) Read out loud. ...
  • 6) Find a connection. ...
  • 7) Become the teacher. ...
  • 8) Grab a highlighter.
21 Nov 2016

Is reading comprehension a skill? ›

Each text presents information in its own way, and reading comprehension is heavily bound up in the readers' knowledge of the topic covered by the text. As such reading comprehension (different than decoding) is not a skilled activity, per se.

What are the 10 importance of reading? ›

Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships.

Why is reading skill is important for language learning? ›

Reading English is an important part of language learning because it helps you develop other related skills like grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Reading allows language learners to explore topics that they love and stories that engage them.

What are writing skills? ›

Writing skills include all the knowledge and abilities related to expressing yourself through the written word. It is a sound understanding of language through grammar, spelling and punctuation. People with excellent writing skills can tailor their tone and word choice to different situations and people.

Why is reading a process? ›

Reading is a process. As such, it has various stages (before-, during-, and after-reading) at which different tasks need to be performed. Reading is interactive. The mind of the reader interacts, conducts a dialogue, actively engages with the text to decode, assign meaning, and interpret.

What is reading culture? ›

What is a Reading Culture? A reading culture is an environment where reading is championed, valued, respected, and encouraged. Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum, and it's of the upmost importance to a child's personal, social, and academic success, as well as their general wellbeing.

What is the example of reading? ›

An example of reading is when you look at a book and the words in it and understand the story. An example of reading is when you say the words of a book out loud. An example of reading is when you interpret a book or a situation and give your opinion on it. The extent to which a person has read.

What are the factors affecting reading? ›

Cognitive Factors That Affect Reading Comprehension
  • Background Knowledge. Background knowledge plays an essential role in reading comprehension. ...
  • Vocabulary. Whether or not students have mastered vocabulary skills affects their reading comprehension. ...
  • Fluency. ...
  • Active Reading. ...
  • Critical Thinking.

What are the 5 basic reading skills? ›

Effective instructional programs and materials emphasize the five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

What are the two major types of reading? ›

Reading is divided into two types based on the way it functions and the level of attention it requires: Extensive Reading. Intensive Reading.

What are the types of reading explain with example? ›

This is Expert Verified Answer
  • The four main types of reading are as follows -
  • Example - Quickly reading headlines of the newspaper.
  • Example - Searching a specific word in the dictionary.
  • Example - Reading blogs or news articles.
  • Example - Reading story books, magazines etc.
25 Jun 2020

What is reading skill PDF? ›

A good way of getting started on developing your reading skills is to think about how you read a text or passage. There are three main reading techniques that you can use: scanning, skimming, and focused reading. Let's discuss each in turn.

How can I improve reading skills? ›

Read as often as you can.

Practicing for at least 15 to 30 minutes a day, every day, will make a big difference. Read whatever interests you, if you're just trying to improve your basic skill. Rereading things you've already gone through can build your confidence.

What is the Big 5 in reading? ›

Reading is broken down into five main areas: ​phonemic awareness​, ​phonics​, ​fluency​, ​vocabulary​, and ​comprehension​.

What is reading in English? ›

Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. Learn how readers integrate these facets to make meaning from print. Reading is making meaning from print. It requires that we: Identify the words in print – a process called word recognition.

How many types of reading are there? ›

There are three different styles of reading academic texts: skimming, scanning, and in-depth reading.

What are the 6 purposes of reading? ›

According to Grabe William and L. Fredrika (2002), the category of purpose for reading includes are: reading to search for simple information, reading to skim quickly, reading to learn from text, reading to integrate information, reading to write, reading to critique texts and reading for general comprehension.

How can I improve my reading speed and comprehension? ›

How to Improve Your Speed Reading
  1. Avoid distractions. ...
  2. Go easy. ...
  3. Cover words that you've already read. ...
  4. Know what you want from the text. ...
  5. Benchmark your progress. ...
  6. Practice, practice, practice.

What is the introduction of reading skills? ›

Reading is a complex developmental challenge that we know to be intertwined with many other developmental accomplishments: attention, memory, language, and motivation, for example. Reading is not only a cognitive psycholinguistic activity but also a social activity.

Videos

1. Reading Comprehension | How to solve a Reading Comprehension | Format | Example | Writing Skills
(Nihir Shah)
2. Understand IELTS Reading in JUST 40 minutes!
(E2 IELTS)
3. IELTS Reading: Top 10 Tips
(English with Emma · engVid)
4. Types Of Reading In English || Ctet|| Reet||intensive reading|extensive reading|scanning | skimming|
(Let's compete)
5. Read, Understand, and Remember! Improve your reading skills with the KWL Method
(English with Emma · engVid)
6. Lesson 7: Reading Styles (Skimming, Scanning, Intensive Reading, Extensive Reading) ENGLISH 7
(Ms. Lanie)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 11/25/2022

Views: 6021

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.