Reading is a skill that we improve throughout our lives. Having good reading skills is not about being able to read the content of a written text but the capacity of comprehension. No matter whether we read in Spanish or in a foreign language we need to possess the skill that will enable us to fully understand what is highlighted in the content of reading.
There are different types of reading methods depending on the final aim. Do we need to elucidate the general idea or some specific information? Is there a task we need to fulfill through reading? Is reading our pastime? Bearing in mind the reason of reading we approach it in different ways.
When we need the basic information of the text we usually skim read it. It is not a thorough reading along the lines looking for the substance of the general information. This is a quick reading technique when we focus on particular parts in the text. For example, going through a newspaper or magazine looking for the news we are searching.
Skim reading is useful for inducing a general idea from a longer piece of reading. When dealing with more complex texts we do skim reading by looking for the main idea in each paragraph of the text which is usually in the first sentence of each paragraph. Skimming is a skill that can be improved by time reaching about 600-700 words per minute.
Scan reading is similar to skim reading in terms of speed though through skimming we are not looking for the main idea but for a specific piece of information. Imagine you are reading an article on global environmental pollution and you are interested in the rate of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from the offshore production of oil. In this case you scan the text looking for key words looking for the details. Here, you are not curious about the general idea of the text. You only need details about your topic of interest. During scanning you do not pay attention to unrelated words and information until you come across with what you are searching. You may have over ten paragraphs in a text but the information you need may be in the third one.
Sometimes we have to approach the text with full attention and concentration. This is close to academic reading especially when we need to understand and get some knowledge of the reading source. This is a reading technique typical for students or people who want to gain a more comprehensive level in a given area of interest.
During `in-depth ` reading we read every word carefully, often going back to reinforce our understanding or to make some points clearer. Sometimes it is called intensive reading which indicates that this method involves the maximum of your concentration and focus. This type of strategy is often related to other tasks such as giving answers to raised questions, summarizing or giving a purpose, to mention some of them. For example, intensively reading an article on some issue, you may be able to discuss the topic with supporting arguments.
Extensive reading is what most of us do when we decide how to spend our free time. Reading as a hobby is about extensive reading. In reading for pleasure there is a note of enjoyment and the more often we do it, the more we get excited about it. It also requires deep reading but the difference is we are really into the reading with the topic or content. While intensive reading may be obligatory for students, for example, extensive reading is undertaken by motivation. For instance, if you are keen on detective stories, each time you chose a book it is likely to be the similar genre.
Reading as a skill has multiple benefits for all of us regardless the reasons why we read. When it comes to learning Spanish, all kind of readings are a good practice. . We gain knowledge and build up or vocabulary. It also helps to improve our writing skills and helps to develop our critical thinking on many issues.