Traditionally reading has been divided into intensive and extensive reading. Both approaches are essential and they share many of the same strategies. Intensive reading focuses on a short text. The aim is to help the students understand it by using a variety of skills. Students are encouraged to work out, for example, how the writer has conveyed inference. Further, by focusing on a short text the students learn how to dissect it in order to understand the exact meaning.
Firstly, all materials selected must be stimulating for the students. Secondly, they need to feel they can contribute their personal opinions.
In an intensive reading lesson students may be required to practice scanning and skimming skills. Scanning a text is when a student reads very rapidly in order to find out a particular piece of information, a date for example. It is also used to ascertain whether a text is useful, for example, whether the chapter contains relevant information for an essay. This can be done orally to encourage reading quickly. Skimming a text is when students read for gist. Asking the class to find out what topics the text deals with ensures fast reading. Both scanning and skimming techniques need practice.
Structure of a lesson:
a. Give the class a reason for reading the text. This will help them to vary their strategies. For example, there is a text on food and hygiene. Tell them they are going to enter a TV competition and they will need to know the rules of hygiene.
b. Give a very short introduction: ask how many have seen TV cooking programmes. Encourage the students to answer. Give away little of the text itself.