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Definition of Scanning and Skimming

Skimming and scanning are fast-reading strategies. Skimming is used to go through a text to get a general overview or overall idea about a text. While scanning is used to find out specific information quickly at a glance.

Characteristics of Scanning

Locate Particular Information

It asks us to search for only one piece of information using a single word or phrase. Because the objective of scanning is clear: we’re looking for something specific, not something generic.

Find the Answers

We are occasionally asked to provide the proper answers to questions at the end of a chapter. Scanning, on the other hand, is the practice of reading quickly to discover specific information. As a result, we can search the book for answers to only the queries we’re looking for.

Find particular Facts

Scanning allows us to research complex issues that just require factual evidence. For example, we scan the fact-based answers to the comprehension questions at the end of the chapter.

Best Usage of Scanning

When it comes to scanning, the objective is to find specific data. As a result, we only check for primary headers, theme lines, tables, charts, keywords, crucial highlights, and words that are under the lines.

Scanning is used to:

  • Take a look at the contents page.
  • Check to see whether there is a question that we need to answer.
  • Scan when you are looking for a phone number.
  • Look up a term in a dictionary by using the index.
  • Use one of our fingers to scan the area carefully.
  • Look for terms that are relevant to our topic.
  • Look over the sidebars and bulleted information.

Characteristics of Skimming

A Fast-Reading Technique

Skimming is a fast-reading strategy that we employ to quickly gain a general overview of the text and information. Because it allows us to obtain a broad range of information from a vast segment. It is always a speedier reading procedure than any other fast reading method.

A Time-Saving Method

Skimming allows us to read longer texts without having to read them thoroughly. We take a cursory glance at the text or document via this lens. Then, rather than reading a book, it saves us many long-sitting hours. As a result, it saves us a lot of time.

An efficient method of Reading

It improves our ability to read quickly. So, rather than reading every single word, we should focus on typographical signals such as headers, boldface, and italic font, indenting, bulleted, and numbered lists. All of this contributes to our ability as readers.

Best Usage of Skimming

We use skimming to get a quick look at the contents of a textbook or to prepare for an exam. Furthermore, we utilize this strategy to read anything to obtain a sense of the content and tone of the text.

Skimming is used to:

  • Take a glance at what’s going on in the news or in the newspaper’s headlines.
  • We go through a book to see whether it’s one we want to read.
  • Look through the TV schedule to find what’s on that evening.
  • Take a look at the table of contents.
  • It is necessary to read the first and last sentences of each paragraph.
  • Pay attention to the headers and subheadings.
  • Examine any images or visual elements.
  • Summaries should be read.

Three Types of Skimming

a) Preview: It entails having a mind towards reading before you start reading. It’s a great way to get a head start on more in-depth reading.

b) Overview: It means to get a gist of the material and a broad understanding of what it’s about.

c) Review: It entails returning to a selection with a lot of content after you’ve finished reading it.

Differences between Scanning and Skimming

Skimming and scanning are both reading skill-building practices that help a reader become more efficient and skilled. They assist the reader in reading faster by skimming and scanning a text in a short amount of time. Although the functions of these strategies are similar, their purposes are vastly different. When we want to read something fast to obtain a general sense, for example, we skim, but when we want to read something quickly, we scan a text to discover a specific piece of information.


English Language Teaching Professional

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