Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Unit 8. Skimming and Scanning

The Topic: Skimming and Scanning


Skimming is used to quickly identify the main ideas of a text. When you read the newspaper, you're probably not reading it word-by-word, instead you're scanning the text. Skimming is done at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. People often skim when they have lots of material to read in a limited amount of time. Use skimming when you want to see if an article may be of interest in your research.
There are many strategies that can be used when skimming. Some people read the first and last paragraphs using headings, summarizes and other organizers as they move down the page or screen. You might read the title, subtitles, subheading, and illustrations. Consider reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This technique is useful when you're seeking specific information rather than reading for comprehension. Skimming works well to find dates, names, and places. It might be used
to review graphs, tables, and charts.

How to Skim:

* Read the title.
* Read the introduction or the first paragraph.
* Read the first sentence of every other paragraph.
* Read any headings and sub-headings.
* Notice any pictures, charts, or graphs.
* Notice any italicized or boldface words or phrases.
* Read the summary or last paragraph.

Test Your Skills.
Try a Skimming Exercise Skimming text to look for main ideas

1. Skimming text to look for main ideas
2. Skimming a school prospectus
3. Skimming Exercise


Scanning is a technique you often use when looking up a word in the telephone book or dictionary. You search for key words or ideas. In most cases, you know what you're looking for, so you're concentrating on finding a particular answer. Scanning involves moving your eyes quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Scanning is also used when you first find a resource to determine whether it will answer your questions. Once you've scanned the document, you might go back and skim it.
When scanning, look for the author's use of organizers such as numbers, letters, steps, or the words, first, second, or next. Look for words that are bold faced, italics, or in a different font size, style, or color. Sometimes the author will put key ideas in the margin.

How to Scan:

* State the specific information you are looking for.
* Try to anticipate how the answer will appear and what clues you might use to help you locate the answer. For example, if you were looking for a certain date, you would quickly read the paragraph looking only for numbers.
* Use headings and any other aids that will help you identify which sections might contain the information you are looking for.
* Selectively read and skip through sections of the passage.

Test Your Skills. 
Try a Scanning Exercise to find information quickly

1. Scanning text to find information quickly
2. Scanning a job advertisement
3. Scanning exercise

Test Your Skills.

Take the quiz

1. 42 Explore
2. Skillwise English

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