Reading Techniques To Help You Read More in Less Time

Reading Techniques To Help You Read More in Less Time

1. Scanning

You probably use this reading method more times in a day than the other techniques. Scanning involves looking ONLY for specific information (such as keywords, numbers, names, etc.) while omitting other details. There are three things you need to process in your mind before scanning a material:

  • Objective– what am I supposed to be looking for?
  • Type of material to be scanned– where can I get the information I need?
  • The layout– How is this info in this material arranged?

Scan content when:

  • Checking your inbox. Scanning is a great method as it allows you to quickly sift through the most urgent messages. Read the subject line and determine if it deserves your immediate attention or not.
  • Buying from book or grocery stores. The human eyes are great at spotting patterns. Instead of going through every title or item, scan shelves for your target purchase. Use your fingers as a guide. In a matter of seconds, you should spot what you need.
  • Choosing meals. If a restaurant or fast food joint has more than 10 options and you only have 15 minutes to spare, use the power of scanning to your advantage. Once your eyes focus on a familiar pattern (like the words ‘lunch set’ or ‘meat entrees’), you can read only what’s in that category.


2. Skimming

Skimming involves reading more in less time. Unlike scanning, you first need to get the main idea of the material before looking for certain details that back it up. This works best for non-fiction works.

Similar to other reading techniques, you need to establish the following before skimming can be called successful:

  • Objective– what do I need from this material?
  • Main Idea– what is the main message or thought of this piece?
  • Supporting Data– how can I prove that this is the main idea of the material?

Skim content when:  

  • Reading reviews.Need a third party opinion before buying something? Skim reviews to get the overall impression of the product or service. Many testimonials these days have four parts, which are perfect for skimming: review title, pros, cons, and recommendation.
  • Impromptu presentations. Need to give a speech in an hour? As long as you have a script (and you’re more or less familiar with the topic), you can skim through the important parts and add your own improvisation. The important thing is that you understand the main message you want to impart to your audiences.
  • Quick research. Say you need to write a piece on when blogging first became popular. Skimming is great for when you need to cover the basics. Collect your resources, read a couple of paragraphs, then take the main ideas of each. You should have something interesting in a couple of hours.


3. Intensive Reading

Intensive reading is the most time-consuming of all the reading techniques. The main goal here is to retain information for the long-term.

This method is recommended especially for language students, as it helps them truly grasp the meaning of the words in context. But it’s also great for analysing reports and detailed research. Used in conjunction with skimming and scanning, intensive reading can widen your horizons and help you keep important information longer.

Read intensively when:

  • You get new contracts, business proposals, or memos. Avoid simply skimming or scanning the contents of these papers. It may seem bothersome, particular as these use technical English, but you don’t want to sign anything that you don’t fully understand.
  • Using the company chatroom or replying to emails. How many times has it happened that you quickly replied to a co-worker or your boss – only to lead to a misunderstanding?

If the content seems to have different interpretations, it’s best to read it intensively, or even ask the source for confirmation. One of the hard lessons learned in life is that many arguments can be avoided if one just learned to pause first and read everything.


4. Extensive Reading

Extensive reading focuses on reading for pleasure. You choose your own material, your pace, as well as how you’ll interpret the content of what you’ve just read. This strategy is great not only for fiction works, but also if you want to improve your writing, and expand your vocabulary. It helps develop a reader’s:

  • Independence– when people read for pleasure, they’ll be surprised at how pleasurable the activity really is. In time, they will grow their own book collection and pick up reading habits.
  • Comprehension– when you have the freedom to choose what you read, you can learn comfortably at your own pace.
  • General Knowledge– with extensive reading, you’ll feel free to discover new things everyday. As there’s no pressure at all, you unconsciously open yourself up to the world and its vast share of knowledge

Read extensively when:

  • you have free time. There’s NOT set rule or trick to this one because you’re just reading for fun. Read what you want, when you want to, and at your own speed. Select from various materials like novels, magazines, blogs, or even street signs.


Note: We are inspired to use this content from various sources of Internet. This is for student’s learning and motivation purpose. We do not claim this to be our own.