10 Difference between Extensive and Intensive Reading (With Table)

What is the main difference between extensive and intensive reading? The former promotes reading for pleasure and fluency, while the latter foster deep comprehension and analysis of a text.

Reading culture is becoming extinct among the current generation due to technological advancement. Many kids prefer playing video games and watch movies rather than reading.

This post explains the difference between intensive and extensive reading. We have also shared the similarities between extensive and intensive reading.

Difference between Extensive and Intensive Reading Table

Basic Terms Extensive Reading Intensive Reading
Purpose Promotes reading for pleasure and fluency. Aims for deep comprehension and analysis of a text.
Quantity of Material Involves reading a large volume of diverse texts. Focuses on a specific text, often read repeatedly.
Reading Speed Encourages a faster reading pace. Allows for slower, detailed reading.
Vocabulary Expansion Enhances vocabulary through exposure to various words. May lead to a deeper understanding of specific terms.
Comprehension Level Emphasizes overall comprehension. Prioritizes in-depth comprehension of the text.
Enjoyment and Engagement Promotes reading for enjoyment and relaxation. Can be more rigorous and academic in nature.
Text Selection Readers choose materials based on personal interest. Often involves assigned or prescribed texts.
Use of Dictionary Rarely requires the use of a dictionary. May involve frequent dictionary use for clarity.
Learning Context Commonly used in language learning programs. Often utilized in educational or classroom settings.
Skill Emphasis Focuses on overall reading skills and fluency. Emphasizes critical thinking and analysis skills.

What Is Extensive Reading?

Extensive reading is an approach to reading that emphasizes reading a large quantity of materials, such as books, novels, newspapers, magazines, or online articles, with the primary goal of improving overall reading skills and comprehension.

Unlike intensive reading, which involves a detailed and in-depth analysis of specific texts, extensive reading encourages individuals to read widely and for pleasure.

The focus of extensive reading is on developing reading fluency, expanding vocabulary, and increasing comprehension through exposure to a variety of texts. It is often used as a language learning strategy, as it helps learners become more comfortable with the language and exposes them to different styles of writing and topics.

Extensive reading is characterized by a relaxed and enjoyable reading experience, allowing individuals to choose materials that interest them and read at their own pace. It is a valuable tool for enhancing reading speed, comprehension, and overall literacy skills.

What Is Intensive Reading?

Intensive reading is an instructional approach to reading that involves a focused and in-depth examination of a specific text or set of texts. This method is commonly employed in educational settings, such as classrooms and language learning programs, to enhance reading comprehension, language proficiency, and critical thinking skills.

In intensive reading, students engage with a text meticulously, often rereading it multiple times to extract a deep understanding of the content. They pay close attention to details, vocabulary, sentence structures, and literary devices used in the text. This approach encourages students to analyze the text, identify key ideas, and interpret the author’s intentions and arguments.

Intensive reading is particularly beneficial for developing language skills, improving vocabulary, and comprehending complex or challenging texts. It helps students build a stronger foundation in reading and language comprehension, making it a valuable tool in language learning and academic contexts.

Main Difference between Extensive and Intensive Reading

  1. Extensive reading encompasses reading various materials like books, newspapers, and magazines for a general understanding of a topic, while intensive reading focuses on repeated reading for deep comprehension, often in a classroom setting.
  2. Extensive reading emphasizes decoding written material, whereas intensive reading involves comprehensive understanding.
  3. Extensive reading is for enjoyment and gaining a basic understanding, while intensive reading prioritizes literal comprehension.
  4. Extensive reading covers novels, journals, newspapers, and magazines, whereas intensive reading mainly involves textbooks.
  5. In intensive reading, the topic is usually assigned by the teacher, while extensive reading allows students to choose their reading material.
  6. Extensive reading explores various materials on a similar concept, while intensive reading concentrates on a specific given text.
  7. Extensive reading typically doesn’t require a dictionary, while intensive reading often involves dictionary use for unfamiliar words.
  8. Extensive reading enhances reading speed and fluency, while intensive reading fosters critical thinking, analytical skills, vocabulary, and grammar improvement.

Similarities between Extensive and Intensive Reading

  • Both are methods of improving reading skills.
  • They contribute to language comprehension and vocabulary expansion.
  • Extensive and intensive reading require focused attention and engagement with written texts.
  • Both can be used to enhance language proficiency and literacy.
  • They involve active interaction with written materials.


Extensive and intensive reading are two distinct approaches to language learning and comprehension. Extensive reading involves the wide and leisurely consumption of a large volume of material, focusing on improving overall reading fluency and comprehension. It encourages a relaxed and enjoyable experience, fostering a love for reading.

Intensive reading is a focused and in-depth analysis of a smaller, more challenging text. It aims to develop a deep understanding of the material, often involving close examination of vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. Intensive reading is particularly beneficial for enhancing language proficiency and dissecting complex texts.

Both extensive and intensive reading have their unique benefits and applications in language learning and literacy development. Choosing between them depends on one’s language learning goals and the specific skills they aim to improve

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