Knowing how to skim read is an important and useful skill. Skim reading helps you find the most important information. It gives you a general understanding of the text, without having to read every word.
Here are a few tips to help you skim read.
- Be clear about why you are skim reading
- If you have a set of questions that need answering, read them before you skim read and identify any keywords.
- E.g.: if you have this question: “What are the qualities of a successful businessperson?” Look for words in the text like “qualities”, “successful”, and “businessman”
- Know when to skim read and when it is time to read the text carefully. One paragraph could contain lots of important information. Another one, could contain nothing important.
- Don’t spend too much time skim reading
- Time yourself, and remember not to spend more than one or two minutes skim reading a page.
- Remember: don’t use this as an excuse not to pay attention.
- Have a method
- To get an overall understanding of the text, read the beginning, middle and end paragraphs.
- Read the first sentence of every paragraph. Ask yourself: Is this relevant? If you answer ‘yes’, read the rest of the paragraph. If you answer ‘no’, move on to the next paragraph.
- Know when to stop reading. When you notice that the sentences you’re reading are not relevant, move on.
- Practice, practice and practice some more….
- Remember, skim reading is a skill and requires practice.
- Practising this skill will improve your reading ability.