Reading may be defined as the act of receiving meaning from the written form. It is the ability to interpret linguistic sounds in their graphic and symbolic representation. According to Goodman, “Reading is a psycholinguistic game”. Gibson says, “Reading behaviour is receiving communication, making discriminative responses to graphic symbols and decoding graphic symbols to speech”.

There are different reading modes and each of them has its peculiarities. They are classified by the degree of involvement — active and passive. The different modes of reading are

    1. Loud reading
    2. Silent reading
    3. Intensive reading
    4. Extensive reading
    5. Skimming
    6. Scanning

Loud Reading

Loud reading is oral reading. In second language learning, loud reading should start a few months after starting oral work. Loud reading is meant to mend the defects in pronunciation, articulation and stress and to bring them to the proper nature of the language. It is to guide the learners to read with comprehension with increasing speed. After acquiring skills in loud reading, the learners gradually move from it to silent reading. 

Silent Reading

It is the most effective type of reading because it has long time effects and can be effectively used for acquiring knowledge and understanding in all walks of life. A text material in print is the basis for silent reading. Eye movements are based on difficult points than on punctuation marks. Speech organs are at rest, the eye is the chief sense organ.

Intensive Reading

Typically, this type of reading is used in the study of English to intensively parse the proposed short, teaching text. With this type of reading, grammatical constructions, unfamiliar words and phrases are intensively examined. The learner needs to have his aims clear in mind when undertaking intensive reading. If he needs to list the chronology of events in a long passage, he must read it intensively. This type of reading has been beneficial to language learners as it helps them understand vocabulary by deducing the meaning of words in a context. It moreover, helps with retention of information for a long period and knowledge resulting from intensive reading persists in one’s long term memory.

Extensive reading

Extensive reading involves reading for pleasure. The purpose of this type of reading is to get acquainted with new information. In this mode, people read the art or scientific literature, without being distracted by new, unfamiliar words, if their meaning can be approximately understood from the context. This type of reading implies the mastering of the general image and the receipt of new, unfamiliar information. It will be necessary to form and express one’s opinion about what you read or answer the questions.

Skimming

Skimming is sometimes referred to as gist reading. This reading mode is used to get to know and understand if this information is useful to you. In this case, the text is also viewed quickly, but not as carefully as in the previous case. The goal is not to search for specific facts, but to evaluate the text for complexity, interest and a general storyline. Skimming may help to know what the text is about at its most basic level. Comprehension is of course very low and understanding of overall content very superficial.

Scanning

Scanning involves getting your eyes to quickly scuttle across sentences and is used to get just a simple piece of information. This reading mode is aimed only at finding the necessary information in the text. It does not mean a complete immersion in the text and deep comprehension of the facts, analysis of grammatical constructions. Often in this mode, the text is viewed for the presence of unfamiliar words, so that after their translation it will be easier to read the text fully. This type of reading is also called diagonal reading. Interestingly, research has concluded that reading off a computer screen inhibits the pathways to effective scanning and thus, reading of the paper is far more conducive to speedy comprehension of texts.

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Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature for 14 years now. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges coming under this directorate and is now posted at the Department of English, H.H. The Maharaja’s Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of the lecture notes that she prepared by referring various sources, for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.

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