Skim Reading

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.

 

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Practice, practice and practice some more….
  • Remember, skim reading is a skill and requires practice.
  • Practising this skill will improve your reading ability.

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