After reading Birkerts' essay entitled "The Owl Has Flown," I have a better understanding of his views concerning the distinction of reading styles. He makes it evident that reading styles have varied for hundreds of years and they are still being used today.
In developing my own conclusion as to the meaning of "intensive and extensive reading" along with "vertical and horizontal reading," several thoughts came to mind. For example, I interpreted Birkerts' definition of "intensive reading" as a form of reading in which the reader is deeply focused on consuming information based on one topic and the information he or she receives is solely related to that particular topic. I believe "vertical reading" is closely related to "intensive reading" in that the reader looks for depth within a single source of information. Along with this conclusion came my reasoning toward a definition of "extensive" and "horizontal reading." To me, "extensive reading" is exploring many topics that are in some way unrelated to the topic being pursued. Therefore, "horizontal reading" is closely connected to "extensive reading" because in "horizontal reading," the reader briefly looks over or scans several sources for important information that is relevant to his or her topic. An example that ties in these four concepts would be reading one book thoroughly for information regarding one topic in "intensive" and "vertical reading" aspects as opposed to scanning information contained within several sources for information that is relevant to the topic as displayed in "extensive" and "horizontal reading." On a personal critique, I am an extensive, horizontal reader. Upon reading this essay, I recall the process of obtaining information to write a research paper. I found several sources of information and sorted through the most important concepts I discovered, to obtain the information I deemed necessary to use within my paper.