When trying to learn new information or understand other people, reading is essential. Yet there are many different ways to read. Knowing these different ways and when to use them can help you know more and ideally learn more.
On the edge of reading, skim reading is something that everyone has done at some point. It is not looking at what is written but trying to work out what the text is trying to say without reading it. A use of this could be when you do not need to read everything but make sure that certain points are addressed. It can also be useful when you are going to do another style of reading. Unfortunately, this is being increasingly used when it should not. Headline sharing is a symptom of this.
This is an unfocused read. The general ideas are what the reader is seeking. If the reader does not know a term or what is being referenced, they continue reading. This can be used for quick feedback and for low level material. If someone needs to have a discussion, then a light read could help with them being able to do this.
However, there are limitations. A light read can miss crucial data. It also increases the risk that a misunderstanding can occur. The longer the material that is read or the level of the subject, the more risk there is. For example, what the fellowship in lord of the rings are carrying and why. A large number of arguments are held due to one party not reading the source properly or both not reading it correctly.
This is what the standard person who wants to read will use. It is where you turn down distractions and make sure that you read every word. This does not mean that you are continually checking, but it does mean that you take your time. If you are reading a news article to work out what is happening or you are a time traveller from the time of the morning paper, then this is the level that you are likely reading out.
Many of the texts that we engage with are at this level. Your basic fantasy and science fiction novel sits here along with quick short news articles. A long message from a friend at this level would also be where you are.
This is what some would call a textbook read. This is material that could be challenging to process and is something that you check. If you have learnt a language, then come across some highly specific topics that use words you know but are unfamiliar about. This could also be subjects that you are unfamiliar about. If you are learning about Chinese history and you have not really looked into it before then checking you are still following is essential. Sometimes novels reach this, such as a game of thrones with all of its plots and complicated parts. Yet often the usage of this would be in non fiction field.
Deep or Slow Read:
This is not used as much. Usage of this can be found in education. It is where someone slowly goes over a text take notes along the way to make sure that they are following all of what is said. This can be paired with pausing to check concepts that are said that the reader does not know. A traditional Bible study sometimes reaches this level. With each sentence being looked into and then the context is explained to the individual. University study can also do this.
This is when someone is wanting to make sure that they are getting the full and correct meaning of something. Law can also involve this as people check for all the different meanings. Sometimes formal debates require people to have a good knowledge of the subject. In our modern society, this is often only really used for educational study and religious studies.
Reason this matters:
If you can use these different ways to read then you will find learning new information easier. It can also explain how someone can read the same thing and come to different conclusions. The reason that this is becoming more important is covered in the following post;