Mode and Strategy for Reading Different Materials

Mode Material/Purpose Strategy

Analytical reading

Complex essays, technical reports, legal contracts.

Previewing; read to identify inference, make conclusions, and evaluate logic and the writer's craft.

Reading and marginal notations, underlining.

Study reading

Textbooks, problem-solving material; information to be recalled for testing; literature.

Previewing; reading and outlining; note making; mapping.

General reading

Any nontechnical material read for enjoyment or good understanding of content.

Read actively with an inquiring mind, recognizing main idea and important details.


Any printed material:

  1. When minimal comprehension is satisfactory for general information in newspapers, magazine articles, junk mail," correspondence.

  2. For a preliminary familiarity with format and of organization lengthy or difficult material in textbook chapters, novels, instructional manuals.

  3. To get the gist or main idea of essays, editorials, reports.

Read titles and subtitles. Then read introductory paragraphs, opening sentences of all other paragraphs, and concluding paragraphs or summary.


Any printed materials when looking for specific information or pertinent facts like names, dates, quantities, places.

Also used for information from reference guides:

  • Table of contents
  • Index
  • Appendix
  • Dictionary
  • Telephone
  • directory
  • TV schedule
  • Want ads

Examine organization of information alphabetical, chronological, I conceptual.

Look for key ideas or words that guide rapid location of information. When looking up dates or quantity, looking for names or particular places, think of capital letters.