Effective Reading Strategies

Here, in this article, we will discuss effective reading strategies. When a student starts to study, it’s not easy to read all the expected amount of material. It is quite intimidating. Therefore the students can learn effective reading strategies that how to prepare themselves in advance and find a different way to make it easier.

What appears to be impossible becomes possible when you start becoming an active reader. 

That is possible when you ask questions about what is the purpose of your study, what you need to find out, use different tactics, and then start reading that relate to your questions and tasks.There are a lot of effective reading strategies and the students should be aware of which technique is most suited, depending on the reading task.It is important to train the students, that they know the reading strategies and understand when to apply it, especially during the exams when there’s a shortage of time and decisions need to be made immediately.

Effective Reading Strategies

There are different strategies you can apply to your reading, depending on your aim. You might need to select one or a few of these strategies for each text that you read.

  • Previewing
  • Skimming
  • Scanning
  • Intensive
  • Extensive


Previewing is basically a pre-reading skill through which the reader gathers the information about the text as much as he/she can before reading it.

It gives the general pictures of the text. It helps to decide whether a book or journal is useful for your purpose or not, helps to locate relevant information; and it also assists to identify the sections of the text you may need to read and the sections you can omit. 

It mentally prepares the reader to get information from the written material. You can preview a text by

  • Reading the title
  • In addition, Reading the abstract
  • Reading main headings, subheadings, and chapter summaries
  • Looking at the first sentence in each paragraph
  • Look at any diagrams, graphs, tables, which tells about the content.  


Skimming is a reading strategy that is used to search for main or general ideas in a text, without going into detailed and exhaustive reading. 

Instead of reading everything, the reader should read only important information.

This technique works effectively in non-fiction materials, such as newspapers, magazines, and long novels, and help you to shortlist those articles which you want to read deeply.

It is sometimes referred to as gist reading. Skimming may help to know what the text is about at its most basic level. E.g. we typically skim to search for a name in a telephone directory.


Scanning is a form of pre-reading in which the reader looks for specific information rather than trying to absorb all the information that is given.

In addition, it is reading a text quickly in order to find specific information, e.g. figures or names.

It might yield less information, but it is an important first step in reading comprehension. 

Scanning before reading can help you understand the main points of the article. Many reading methods like SQ3R. scan before reading the text closely. 

When you scan the text, basically you’re looking at headings, scanning the body of the piece for any frequently used words or concept.

Intensive Reading

Intensive reading refers to reading short texts deeply and with clear goals. Such as to answer the questions or to identify how sentences are linked to each other. However, it does not involve reading many texts for fluency, but rather to read a shorter piece of text to gain a deeper understanding of the text.

The aim of intensive reading is not just limited to reading comprehension. It focuses closely on shorter text, doing exercises with it, and learning it in detail. 

It also helps language learners to understand the language’s grammar and syntax. For example, Foreign language students read a short paragraph and then answer questions about the text, order sentences, or find specific words.

However, Intensive reading also helps with the retention of information for long periods of time, and knowledge which is acquire from this reading keeps in your long term memory.

Extensive reading

Extensive reading can be referred to as reading for joy or pleasure. This approach supports reading as much material in your target language as possible. 

This approach makes you a better language learner and motivates you to read effectively.

However, when the students read extensively, they learn enjoyable books to build their reading speed and fluency.

In addition, it gives the students a chance to read longer pieces of text, which they choose, which they can read at their own speed and at their own ability level. On the other hand, extensive reading has many advantages such as:

  • It  builds vocabulary
  • It helps the learners to understand grammar.
  • However, It helps to build reading speed and reading fluency.
  • It builds confidence and motivation which makes the learner more effective use of language.


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