Skimming with Skill
Think about how you find a name in a telephone
book. You don’t read any more than necessary to find the name. Maybe you use your finger to guide your eyes. This
type of reading is known as scanning. Skimming uses the same type of skill mechanically but a different skill mentally. In scanning,
you know what you are looking for; in skimming, you don’t.
Since you don’t know exactly what you are looking
for while skimming, prepare yourself by reading the title, source, author, and any pictures; then question
yourself,--who, what, when, where is this likely to focus on? With a questioning mind direct your eyes down the column of
print, or in a zigzag, if the lines are quite long. Look for exact names of people, places, things, ideas, numbers
and words like therefore, whenever, until,
because, and instead, to clue you to how and why.
When you first start to learn to skim you
may see only the words in bold type, italics, digits, or capitalized words. Soon you will note new or unusual
vocabulary. As you become an efficient skimmer your span of perception will develop and your ability to make
closure will increase.
Improve your learning and retention skills by skimming first, then reading
Skim first, read later
Skimming is a step you should always take before
you read any article of factual or practical narrative. You will soon be able to detect most important facts,
strange vocabulary, and words that are clues to important relationships.
It's a good practice to skim everything in mass
media after reading the title and first paragraph. You may get all the information you want. This keeps your
skimming skills from deteriorating, or will give you the practice you need to develop necessary
Skim everything you intend to read before you
make a final decision to read, discard, or study the material.
Skim all highlighting and develop a read-skim
pattern to use for rapid review. And don't overlook
this! Reviewing frequently and rapidly is the best way to memorize
(or simply remember information) from notes and long text assignments. Skimming is a very useful tool for studying,
so learn it and use it!