Introduction to Types of Reading Material

What you’ll learn to do: analyze various types of reading material

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When major events happen, we expect to hear conversations about it in many different arenas around us. Take the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign: discussions spawned from the very interesting candidates ripple through many parts of daily life.

Even when the subject is the same (everyone talking about Donald Trump running again, as an example), we expect the tone and the purpose of the conversation to shift, depending on who’s talking. Conversations with family members might be quite different than those with local community or religious leaders. That’s only natural.

The same is true with different written resources: even when the topic is the same, differences in genre result in texts that can have more differences than similarities. Genre, or categories of written text that share common features, help us form expectations before we start to read, and shape our reading experience.

Knowing what to expect about the purpose and form of a text you pick up to read, will help you be open to the specific content it contains. As your needs change, you also can change the type of genre you’re reading to better suit your purposes. For instance, reference works like encyclopedias help us get a basic understanding of a topic, while news articles will help us understand the topic as it factors in current events.