Different levels of reading

Reading is a process of examining a set of written symbols to derive meaning from them. While reading, our eyes acquire written symbols such as alphabets and punctuation marks that are converted to words by our brain for communication. Hence, we can consider reading as a “receptive skill” that helps in receiving information. According to research, reading significantly lowers stress levels by 68% by relieving stress as well as relaxing the muscles eventually,  leading to good health. Reading is not only necessary for career growth, it is an essential part of our daily life. It improves our ability to think critically, assimilate information, and be more efficient. The ideal strategy for a given piece of reading material depends upon its purpose. There are four levels of reading which are related to each other and follow a particular hierarchy. 

levels of reading
Source: Internet

Elementary level of reading:

It is the initial level of reading. After achieving this level, a person understands the fundamentals of reading as well as develops basic reading abilities. A person can advance from illiteracy to at least basic literacy. The majority of us do not progress beyond this level.

Elementary level
Source: Internet

Inspectional level of reading:

Inspectional Reading is the second level of reading which involves intelligently skimming a book in a limited amount of time. This not only helps in familiarizing ourselves with the content of the book but also enables us to decide whether we want to finish it. This level is also known as “skimming”. However, many readers regard this reading as a waste of time and hence, they undervalue it.

Inspectional level
Source: Internet

Analytical level of reading:

Analytical reading, which goes beyond inspectional reading, is the third level of reading. It involves detailed reading of the book to understand the context as well as the ideas more deeply. It improves the cognitive skills that are necessary to improve the quality of reading. However, this type of reading requires a significant amount of diligence along with concentration.

Analytical level
Source: Internet

Syntopical level of reading:

It is the most complex level of reading. While reading syntopically, the reader reads several books and positions them with one another revolving around a common subject. This helps in be  This level of reading can also be referred to as comparison reading. With the help of this practice, the syntopical reader is able to develop an analysis of the subject that may not appear in any of the books.  As a result, it is evident that syntopical reading is the most active and laborious type of reading. 

Syntopical level
Source: Internet

However, it is very important to be aware that the lower level must be thoroughly understood before one can proceed to the successor level. Thus, building a habit of reading is a long process that compounds over time. It is only achievable by having a slow and steady approach. 


There is a big difference while we are reading and while we learning. Hence, a thorough understanding of the different levels of reading is necessary before one can improve his reading skills. Reading at different levels is a holistic approach in order to achieve a great learning experience.


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