Extensive means covering a substantial area and so, extensive reading refers to that type of reading in which students read and refer to large quantities of material, chosen by themselves. As against, intensive refers to in-depth or concentrated. Therefore, intensive reading means that type of reading in which the material has to be read carefully and thoroughly, to get specific details.
Reading is the means to study something, wherein the reader looks at the words, symbol and characters of the material so as to comprehend its meaning. Extensive reading and Intensive Reading are the two common approaches to language learning.
Basically, an ideal reading program combines both the approaches, wherein intensive reading can be used to acquaint new language and extensive reading can be helpful in spreading awareness of that language. Let’s move further to know the difference between extensive and intensive reading.
Content: Extensive Vs Intensive Reading
|Basis for Comparison||Extensive Reading||Intensive Reading|
|Meaning||Extensive reading is an approach to language learning in which long text and a large amount of material are read by the students for general understanding.||Intensive Reading is a reading method wherein learners are supposed to read the short text carefully and deeply so as to gain maximum understanding.|
|Purpose||For acquiring information or for pleasure.||For understanding the literal meaning of the text.|
|Covers||Reading of novels, magazines, newspaper.||Reading of textbooks.|
|Material Selection||Reading material is selected by the individual himself.||Reading material is decided and recommended by the teachers.|
|Involves||Reading of a number of books on a similar concept or subject.||Reading of a book again and again to extract its literal meaning.|
|Use of dictionary||No||Yes|
|Helpful in||Developing reading fluency||Developing reading skills, vocabulary and grammatical knowledge.|
Definition of Extensive Reading
Extensive Reading can be defined as a casual reading performed for pleasure or gaining general understanding on a topic when the students are engrossed in a book, magazine or newspaper. In this approach students read long texts and refer to various supporting study material, only to enjoy the reading and gaining a better understanding of the concept.
That is why, for extensive reading, the readers look for easy, interesting and amusing books, so as to improve their reading fluency and speed as well. The text is comparatively simple, containing a few unfamiliar words.
The individual can select the book or material of his choice, on the topic that matches their interest. Further, there is no follow-up discussion to be held in the class for what the students have learnt during their reading.
Extensive Reading is just to encourage the habit of reading in students for pleasure and make them a voracious reader. Hence, it does not really matter as to whether the reader understands each word written in the text or not, to get the basic concept of the passage.
In addition to this, the extensive reading method gives an opportunity to the students to read lots of material, which they select for themselves according to their reading speed and capability.
Definition of Intensive Reading
Intensive Reading can be understood as the reading method which requires intimate study of a text with the objective of getting its literary or linguistic meaning. The readers are supposed to read the text with concentration and due care, in detail, as it has certain learning aims and tasks.
Basically, it is the in-depth reading of a comparatively shorter piece of reading material, to gain complete knowledge from it. It aims at identifying the answers to the questions of reading comprehension. Moreover, it can be used for the purpose of skimming and scanning, and the concatenation of the sentences.
It involves an analysis of the text by the deconstruction of the sentences and looking over each word, phrase and collocation which is not understandable with an aim of extracting the essence and meaning of the text as much as possible and learn the grammar and syntax rules.
Further, the goals of intensive reading include understanding the gist and subject matter of the text, improving grammar and vocabulary, and understanding the thought of the author behind the text. The main focus of the learner is on the language used, rather than the text.
Key Differences Between Extensive and Intensive Reading
The main points of difference between extensive and intensive reading are explained below:
- In extensive reading the reader reads multiple books, newspaper, magazines etc. to get a general understanding of the topic of their interest. Conversely, Intensive reading is concerned with classroom learning, wherein the student is compelled to read some text as many times as required to deeply understand the topic.
- Extensive Reading is a supplementary reading which is concerned with decoding of the written material. On the other hand, intensive reading is comprehensive in nature, as it involves comprehension of the written text.
- Extensive reading is reading for fun, entertainment and pleasure, as well as to gain a basic understanding of something. However, the primary focus of intensive reading is to understand the literal meaning of the text being read.
- Extensive reading involves a reading of novels, journals, newspaper and magazines. As against, intensive reading is all about textbook reading.
- As the topic is chosen by the teacher in case of intensive reading, it may not be appropriate as per the student’s interest. On the contrary, in extensive reading, the students are free to choose the material they want to read.
- Extensive reading is concerned with reading different books and other study material based on a similar concept or idea. In contrast, intensive reading involves reading the given material, again and again, to understand it in full.
- In extensive reading, readers are not supposed to use a dictionary, as understanding each and every word contained in the material is not vital. As opposed, in intensive reading readers have to use the dictionary, to understand the meaning of every single word which is unfamiliar to them.
- While extensive reading is important for improving the reading speed and fluency of the reader, intensive reading develops critical thinking, analytical skills in the reader, along with improving reading skills, vocabulary and grammatical knowledge.
In a nutshell, extensive reading is mainly used when an overall or superficial knowledge is required on a subject, as no focus is made on the detailed study. On the other hand, intensive reading is used where due attention is required, to learn specific details about the topic or subject under study.