READING / reading strategies

Academic Reading Strategies

 What are reading strategies?

In order to read effectively, different reading techniques are necessary for different purposes and texts. Therefore, it is important for students to have a range skills to be able to deal with all the different texts they will encounter at university. Reading Strategies 1 & 2 provide practice on all these key areas.

  • Prediction
  • Surveying
  • Skimming
  • Scanning
  • Guessing unknown words
  • Reading for detail
  • Summarising

Key Reading Strategies 


  • Looking over the text title, headings, pictures and diagrams to anticipate what the text will be about based on the reader’s prior knowledge.


  • Looking over the text to see how it is divided into sections: abstract, introduction, graphs, data, conclusion, reference lists and further reading.

Text genre recognition

  • What type of text is it? Case study, SWOT analysis, report, argument, overview of recent and past findings.


  • Reading the text / section quickly to gain the basic idea; this can be done in a number of ways:
  • Reading the first two sentences and last sentence of each paragraph.
  • Reading 2-3 words of each line down the middle of a paragraph.
  • Reading the introduction and conclusion.
  • Reading the abstract.
  • A combination of all the above.


  • This is looking over a text for key terms / data or dates. Skimming through a text quickly to look for the important key information.

Guessing unknown words

  • Some words can be easily guessed from context, and this means you do not have to keep checking your dictionary. For example,  ‘Thousands of people are forced into menial jobs for which they receive very little money’. You may not understand the word  ‘menial’, but from the context you can guess that means ‘not requiring much skill, unpleasant or/and unimportant’. 

Reading for detail

  • This is in-depth reading – understanding exactly what the section / text is saying. Taking your time to read, checking meaning and difficult vocabulary.

Annotating text

  • Your process of making notes around a text. Some students use highlighters to mark key points, others write notes in the margins.

Main idea / subsidiary ideas

  • Quite often the main idea is expressed in the topic sentence / first sentence of a paragraph (but not always). Then usually this will be followed by support (subsidiary ideas) and examples. Learning how to identify main points and support is a key skill for summary writing.

Credible / limitations / evidence

  • This is looking at the evidence (examples, data, research) and judging how reliable it is. Asking questions about whether it is trustworthy. Is there bias? Could there be any limitations? See critical reading strategies:

Author’s stance

  • What side is the author arguing? Are they for or against? How do you know? Where are the examples in the text that highlight this?

Reader’s stance

  • Are you convinced by what you have read? Do you agree with the writer’s ideas and evidence presented? Is there anything in your experience that you question about the text?


  • Can you verbally summarise the key points you have read? Do you understand what the main premise and argument is?


Key reading strategies

Information sheet: This document identifies the key reading strategies associated with reading a text (surveying, skimming, scanning, main ideas, subsidiary ideas, writer’s stance, credibility, etc..) and defines each one. This sheet supports the two reading strategies lessons.  Level ***** [B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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 Reading Strategies Downloads

Reading strategies 1 academic English UK

 Reading strategies 1 [new 2021]

This lesson helps improve students’ awareness of the key reading strategies. It practises prediction, surveying, skimming, scanning, guessing unknown words, reading for detail and summarising. It includes a 480-word text. Worksheet example Time: 60mins.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

reading strategies 2


Reading strategies 2 (leadership styles text) [updated 2021]

Topic: Leadership & Management Styles.Use and practice a variety of reading strategies to understand how to read journal articles efficiently. 5-page worksheet on all reading strategies (scanning, skimming, genre analysis, reading for detail, summaries) & 8-page reading document. Level ***** [B2/C1] Example / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

AEUK does not own the rights to the Journal: Text Download



academic English uk courses

 Reading Skills Downloads


 Text exploitation: how to exploit a text to facilitate learning  [new 2020]

This lesson / worksheet helps improve students’ independent learning skills. It includes 6 tasks (vocabulary, grammar, cohesion, summary, paraphrase & referencing) on how to use text to facilitate learning (see worksheet example) Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]



Reading lesson: Improve your vocabulary

A great reading lesson on how to improve your vocabulary. The lesson starts with a discussion followed by a reading text with test type questions. The lesson includes teacher’s notes, question sheet, reading text and research website links. Example. Words: 500.  Lower-levels ***** [B1/B2],




Critical thinking – reading text analysis 

A great lesson for developing and practising critical thinking skills. It is a 400-word text on ‘going to university’ with over 15 possible problems. Students use the higher level thinking skills of analysis and evaluation to examine, question and critique the textExample.  Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1]



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Reading Questioning Worksheets


Critical Thinking: questions to support critical reading 

This information sheet provides a range of questions that should be applied when reading any academic text. The answers to these question should be then applied in writing. TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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Critical Thinking: cheat sheet infographic

This is a simple infographic offering questions that work to develop critical thinking on any given topic. Whenever your students discover or talk about new information, encourage them to use these questions for sparking debate and the sharing of opinions and insights among each other.TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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Critical Thinking: a linear question sheet

This information sheet shows the development of an argument: from description to analysis and evaluation. It sets out a linear model of guiding questions that lead into each level of thinking (Plymouth University).TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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Critical Thinking: Socratic questioning

This information sheet uses a range of socratic question under the topics of: clarifying, challenging, using evidence, exploring evidence, considering consequences and questioning the question (TES).TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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