2022-How to Skim For Main Ideas

How to Skim For Main Ideas

Skimming is a speed reading strategy used as either a pre-reading technique to familiarize yourself with expository reading text before you read in depth or as an end in itself to quickly comprehend the essentials of a reading passage.

As a pre-reading technique, skimming helps to connect the text with any prior knowledge of the reader. Skimming also helps the reader to access the story schema so as to provide a referential context for the reading. In other words, skimming helps the reader to learn in advance what the gist of the reading passage is, while reminding the reader of any background information and knowledge of how the writing is organized that will assist the reader in understanding the text. Used as a pre-reading technique, skimming helps prepare the reader for further in-depth reading.

As an end in itself, skimming is a very practical and useful skill. As a speed reading technique, it saves time and allows the reader to get the flavor of a reading passage without all of the details. Skimming also permits broader reading, if time is a factor. For example, a reader can certainly skim many articles in the daily newspaper in the time that it might take to fully read a few. Many books can be skimmed for enjoyment or information now and then read later at a more leisurely rate

To skim, readers should first make use of the expository text clues and signposts for key ideas by previewing the reading passage. Textbooks usually provide important study helps that can build comprehension while skimming. The unit and chapter titles give information as to the overall focus of the reading passage. Many times, key chapter ideas are listed in bulleted form or as key questions. In social studies texts, timelines are often helpful. First paragraphs frequently provide an introduction of the chapter main ideas. Subtitles and bold print of key terms act as newspaper headlines to tell the „Who,” „What,” „Where,” „When,” and „Why” of the reading. Graphics, such as pictures, photographs, charts and drawings are particularly important to examine. Indeed, „a picture can be worth a thousand words.” Sometimes a concluding paragraph(s) or summary will emphasize the key concepts. Use these expository text clues or signposts for effective skimming. This speed reading technique is well worth practicing to perfection.


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How to Skim For Main Ideas


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