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Intensive reading

Intensive reading involves learners reading in detail with specific learning aims
and tasks. It can be compared with extensive reading, which involves learners
reading texts for enjoyment and to develop general reading skills.
The learners read a short text and put events from it into chronological order.
In the classroom
Intensive reading activities include skimming a text for specific information to
answer true or false statements or filling gaps in a summary, scanning a text to
match headings to paragraphs, and scanning jumbled paragraphs and then reading
them carefully to put them into the correct order.

Intensive reading refers to ‘reading for accuracy’. It involves approaching

the text (passage) under the guidance of a teacher or with a specified task
which forces the learners to pay close attention to the materials to be read.

Intensive reading aims at giving the reader a deep and detailed

understanding (comprehension) of the text and how its meaning is
transmitted or carried. Intensive reading is used to develop specific
reading skills. In intensive reading the reader pays attention to the
contents of the text and also to how it is written. We expect readers in
middle and upper primary classes to learn to analyse written material in
three ways.
1. Read and learn literal or stated information that is written, e.g. who,
what, where, and when ….. facts and the sequence of events. When
the words are taken at their face value, we say that they are
interpreted literally. The kind of comprehension is often referred to as
reading the lines.
2. Read and recognise the author’s silence and interpret the writer's
thoughts for the purpose of drawing inferences or getting implied
meaning. This kind of comprehension often referred to as reading
between the line.
3. Read and analyse what is written to try to gain new insights by
applying what is read to other situations:
○ Drawing generalisations that are not stated explicitly (directly)
by the writer.
○ Deriving implications or making speculations (guesses) about
facts that are not stated by the writer.
This kind of comprehension is referred to as reading beyond the lines. This
kind of reading can help children develop the ability to generalise from the
given text and apply ideas to personal and social situations outside the text.
Intensive reading therefore is intended to train students in higher level
thinking skills as they develop reading strategies.

Here is how you can present an intensive reading lesson.

STEP Introduce the text to the pupils using any of the
I: strategies you have learned before. You can:
• Relate the topic to pupils’ experience.
• Show a related object or picture to stimulate
discussion on the topic.
• Present new vocabulary from the text.
• Ask and answer general questions about the
• Refer to previously taught lessons in other
subjects that may relate to the topic.
• Conduct a related field trip or invite a guest
speaker, and so on.
STEP Give guide questions to learners for purposeful
II reading, then have them turn to the reading
STEP Learners read as they note down answers to the
III: questions.
Have learners meet in pairs or small groups to
discuss their answers. Then have whole class
reports on answers from the groups.
Clarify general points not understood by learners.
STEP Give more detailed work and practice e.g. in
VI: writing, role playing activities, etc
It is easier to deal with short texts that can be covered in one lesson.
However, in upper primary, pupils need to read longer texts, include full-
length books.

• Discuss different types of reading skills with students:
• Extensive reading: reading for pleasure with emphasis on general understanding
• Intensive reading: reading carefully for an exact understanding of text. Necessary
for contracts, legal documentation, application forms, etc.
• Skimming: quickly looking through text to get an idea of what the text concerns.
Used when reading magazines, newspaper articles etc.
• Scanning: locating specific information in a text. Usually used in timetables, charts,