Before you start reading a text, think of the following:

Why am I reading this text?
What strategies am I going to apply when reading this text?
What do I want to achieve by the end of this reading?
Purposeful Reading


  • Reading should be purposeful.
  • The way you read a text is determined by the purpose why you are reading the text.
  • We read different texts in different ways.
  • It is important to learn different reading strategies for different reading purposes.
  • Readers can read for different purposes: to understand the concept better, to connect to the text personally, to gain information or facts, to solve the mystery, to extract information for assessment purposes, and more.
  • Once you have identified your purpose, you are able to focus on what is important to you in the text.
Setting a reading purpose
  1. When you have a purpose in reading, you will have an easier time understanding the text, because you know what you are looking for.
  2. In her book I Read It, But I Don’t Get It (2000, p. 24), Tovani mentions a few things that happen when readers do not have a purpose
       -they daydream,
       -can’t stay focused,
       -can’t relate to the topic,
       -get bored, and more.
Know the right strategies to apply
Scanning: Reading quickly to find specific information.

Skimming: Reading quickly, skipping details, in order to get the gist of the content.

Study reading: Reading carefully in order to learn from the text, making notes as you go along.

Critical reading: Reading critically to exercise your judgement about what you are reading − that is, not taking anything you read at face value.
After reading you should be able to know:
  • What the text says: After critically reading a piece you should be able to take notes, paraphrase in your own words, take out the key points.
  • What the text describes: You should be confident that you have understood the text sufficiently to be able to use your own examples, compare and contrast with other writing on the subject in hand.
  • Interpretation of the text: This means that you should be able to fully analyse the text and state a meaning for the text as a whole.