Skimming and scanning are two specific speed reading techniques, which enable you to cover a vast amount of material very rapidly. These techniques are similar in process but different in purpose. Both requires specific step to be followed.
Skimming is a method of rapidly moving the eyes over text with the purpose of getting only the main ideas and a general overview of the content. Skimming is useful in three different situations.
Pre-reading- Skimming is more thorough than simple previewing and can give a more accurate picture of text to be read later.
Reviewing- Skimming is useful for reviewing text already read.
Reading- Skimming is most often used for quickly reading material that, for any number of reasons, does not need more detailed attention.
Steps in skimming an article:
- Read the title. It is the shortest possible summary of content.
- Read the introduction or lead in paragraph.
- Read the first paragraph completely.
- If there are subheadings, read each one looking for relationships among them.
- Read the first sentence of each remaining paragraph.
- The main idea of most paragraphs appears in the first sentence.
- If the authors’ pattern is to begin with a question or an anecdote, you may find the last sentence more valuable.
- Clue words that answer who, what, when, how, now.
- Proper nouns
- Unusual words especially if capitalized
- Qualifying adjectives
- Typographical clues-italics, bold face, underlined.
- Dip into the text looking for:
- Read the final paragraph completely
- Mastering the art of skimming requires you to use it as frequently as possible.
- Skimming can usually be accomplished at about 1000 words per minute.
- Rapidly covers a great deal of material in order to locate a specific fact or piece of information.
- Scanning is very useful for finding a specific name, date, statistic, or fact without reading the entire article.
- Steps in scanning an article:
- Keep in mind at all times what it is you are searching for.
- Anticipate in what form the information is likely to appear: numbers, proper nouns, etc.
- Let your eyes run rapidly over several lines of print at a time.
- When you find the sentence that has the information you seek, read the entire sentence.
- In scanning, you must be willing to skip over large sections of text without reading or understanding them.
- Scanning can be done at 1500 or words per minute.
Adapted from: http://www.aacc.edu/tutoring/file/skimming.pdf