Introduction and overview

The aim of this lesson is to show you how it is possible to change and control the way you read in order to suit a situation and get the best out of it. When you get to the end you will be able to:

  • List and describe several different types of reading style and be able to apply the principles of each
  • Select from different types of reading to suit your circumstances and the material
  • Discuss methods of improving retention and comprehension from reading for either work or study purposes
  • Identify environmental factors that can improve reading performance

Type of reading material

Spend some time reflecting on how you read different materials:

  • A study text for an exam subject
  • A TV listing
  • A piece of junk mail
  • A letter from the hospital informing the dates of an operation

Most of us choose – consciously or otherwise – a type of reading that we think suits the content.

For example, we are likely to read very carefully a letter from the hospital as it concerns our health and is probably important to us.

We will probably scan through a piece of junk mail, read rapidly through the TV listings until we find the programme we want and read a study text with a view to retaining as much information as possible to later reproduce in an exam.

We can see there are lots of different ways to read. Maybe your chosen style of reading perfectly matches the materials you have in your hand? Maybe you select a reading style automatically or carefully by design?

As we progress through this course we will give you hints and tips on making sure your chosen approach is the correct one. We will see how, if we consciously choose a type of reading, we can capitalise on our memory and our time.