Matching Reading Strategies to Different Text Types

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  • 0:04 Selecting Reading Strategies
  • 0:25 Skimming
  • 1:13 Scanning
  • 1:52 Intensive Reading
  • 2:20 Extensive Reading
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

How a reader approaches text depends on the type of text they are reading and the purpose for reading. In this lesson, we will examine how to select reading strategies based on the content and purpose of the text.

Selecting Reading Strategies

Consider the way you approach reading the news on the internet. How does that compare to the way you read the latest novel? Depending on what we're reading and why we're reading it, we might scan, skim, read, or reread material. Let's examine different reading strategies and determine the appropriate use of each.


Skimming text is quickly glancing through the material to get an overview. When skimming, it isn't necessary to read every individual word or to know every detail. You're simply trying to pick up the overall message. Newspapers, magazines, brochures, and web pages may be skimmed as you're trying to determine which articles are worth your time for more extensive reading. Lots of people skim through several books at the bookstore or library before determining which ones they want to read.

When skimming for information, look at bolded words, illustrations, titles, and headings. You may want to read the first and last paragraph, but just glance over the rest in search of the theme. Skimming saves a lot of time, but the information that's garnered from it is limited.


Scanning a text may be used to find key vocabulary or details. Similar to skimming, scanning doesn't require you to read every word on every line, but rather you'll glance through the text in search of specific information. Scanning is useful when you're searching for definitions or answers to questions in a textbook, searching for your favorite program in the TV guide, selecting a link after an internet search, looking up a word in the dictionary, or reviewing an agenda. Scanning is another time-saver as it allows you to quickly find what you're looking for without getting caught up with unnecessary details.

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