Skimming and Scanning

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READING III
Week 3
SKIMMING, SCANNING & READING FOR DETAILS

As a student, you are assigned a lot of reading. Sometimes it is important to read slowly and carefully. Other times, you are just trying to find specific information. Skimming and scanning are skills that help you both of these types of reading.

SKIMMING – Getting the gist
Skimming is a fast reading to get the general idea of the text. Different techniques for skimming include: a. Running your eyes over the text to get the general meaning – NOT STOPPING at words you don’t understand as this will only slow you down. b. Reading the FIRST and LAST paragraph(s) of a text, and summaries if offered. c. Looking closely at the TOPIC SENTENCE – the most important sentence of each paragraph. Discuss the question: When do you skim a text?

SCANNING – Getting only what you need
Scanning is rapidly running your eyes over the text in order to locate SPECIFIC DETAILS. Three steps to scanning include: a. Read the question and SEARCH FOR KEY WORDS or ideas associated with the question. b. Your eyes then MOVE QUICKLY OVER THE PAGE, flitting around the text, back and forth, up and down. c. LESS READING AND MORE SEARCHING – the brain hunts for specific information – a word, a phrase, and name or a number. Discuss the question: When do you scan a text?

REDADING FOR DETAILS – Finding your answer
The final step requires a CAREFUL & CLOSE reading of the passage you have arrived at after your search, in order to find the answer. When we read for detail, we read EVERY WORD in a text and think carefully about the overall meaning of each sentence.

Practice 1
Would you skim or scan to find this information? Check the correct box. | |Skim |Scan | |a. What percentage of the earth’s surface is water | | | |b. Whether the article is humorous or serious | | | |c. What’s the author’s conclusion is | | | |d. How many species of wild animals in Europe are endangered | | | |e. What the lowest temperatures are in Antarctica | | | |f. How much the average apartment costs in New York | | | |g. Who the author of the article is | | | |h. How many pages the article has | | |

SCANNING

1. Look quickly at the block of text. Find the words Sahel and desertification and underline them. Then answer the questions below.

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a. Can you see the word Sahel easily? Choose a reason.
( because it is a large word
( because it is in the middle of the text
( because it has a capital letter
( because you don’t have to look for the meaning
b. Can you see the word desertification as easily? Why/Why not?

2. When you scan a piece of text, you look over it to find one word or phrase, not to understand the whole text. Which of the suggestions a – g do you think are most helpful for scanning?

a. Look only for specific words or phrases.
b. Look for each word or phrase in turn.
c. Look at every word in the text.
d. Try not to think of the meaning as you scan.
e. Use a pencil to guide you....
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