4 different reading levels

Do you know how to read?

At this point, since you’re reading this, I expect so. But it turns out that there are different levels of reading, depending on your ability and what you’re trying to learn. Each level builds on the previous levell

Elementary Reading

This is the simplest level of reading, when you just want to know what this sentence says. This is what you’re doing when you’re learning a foreign language.

Inspectional Reading

This is used to find out what the book/article is about. It can be done with skimming or superficial reading.

Skimming is when you read the different headings to get a gist of the structure, then go back to the beginning and read the first few sentences in each paragraph. This will give you the overall idea of the article, but nothing like real understanding.

Superficial reading is when you just read. You read every word, one after another. This is what we usually do when reading for pleasure, so it’s probably what you’re most used to doing. But again, it isn’t really about understanding.

Analytical Reading

This is where we get into really thinking about what we’re reading, but it takes more time and effort. You ask questions about what you’re reading and organize your thoughts. You take notes on what you read; perhaps have a bit of debate with the author. You’ll understand the material much better.

But we’re still not done.

Syntopic Reading

Instead of reading just one book/article, read different ones from different points of view. You actively compare the different books, evaluating the evidence and analysis provided. This is the highest level, and the most demanding of both time and effort.

When reading in school, at least in middle school, it’s best to be doing Analytical Reading. Think about what is being said. What does it imply? Are there things that are missing or that you’re confused about? Write things down in your own words summarizing what the author said.