Reading is an essential skill that we use in our daily lives. Whether it’s for work or leisure, we need to comprehend written materials quickly and effectively. Two techniques that can help us achieve this are skimming and scanning.
Skimming is when you read quickly to get a general idea of what a piece of writing is about. You don’t need to understand every word, but you should be able to get a general sense of the author’s main points . While Scanning is when you look for specific information in a piece of writing. You might scan a table or graph to find data that is relevant to your research.
Skimming vs. Scanning
|Skimming is the process of quickly reading a text to get a general idea of its content or structure.||Scanning is the process of reading a text quickly to locate specific information or details.|
|It is used to preview a text, get a general sense of what it’s about, or determine its relevance to a particular task or purpose.||It is used to locate specific information quickly or find answers to specific questions.|
|Skimming involves reading quickly, often at a speed of 700 words per minute or more, and focusing on the main ideas and key information.||Scanning involves reading quickly, but at a slower pace than skimming, and focusing on specific words or phrases that are relevant to the search.|
|It involves techniques such as reading headings, subheadings, and bold or italicized text, as well as looking for keywords or phrases that indicate the main ideas.||It involves techniques such as using a specific search term or question to guide the search, as well as looking for specific words or phrases that are relevant to the search.|
|Skimming provides a general overview of a text and a superficial understanding of its content, but may not provide a deep understanding of the details or nuances.||Scanning provides a focused understanding of specific information or details, but may not provide a broad or deep understanding of the context or larger picture.|
|It is useful when you have limited time to read a large amount of material, or when you need to determine the relevance of a text to a particular task or purpose.||It is useful when you need to find specific information quickly, such as when researching a topic or looking up information in a reference book.|
What is Skimming?
When you skim a piece of writing, you quickly read through it to get a general idea. You don’t read every word, but you can still get a sense of what the writing is about. Skimming is useful when you want to get a quick overview of a text, or when you’re looking for specific information in a long document.
To skim effectively, you need to know what kind of information you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re trying to find the main idea of a text, look for keywords and phrases that sum up the author’s argument. If you’re looking for specific details, such as names or dates, scan the text for those words.
What is Scanning?
When you scan text, you quickly move your eyes across the page, looking for specific information. This is different from skimming, which is a more general overview of the text. Scanning is useful when you need to find a specific piece of information in a text, such as a name or a date.
To scan effectively, you need to know what you’re looking for. Try to break the task down into smaller chunks if it’s overwhelming. For example, if you’re scanning a page of text for a list of names, first look for the beginning of the list (e.g., “The following people were in attendance:”). Once you’ve found the list, then you can start scanning for individual names.
How do you know which technique to use?
There is no one answer to this question – it depends on what you are trying to find in the text, and how much time you have. If you are trying to get a general overview of the text or find a specific piece of information quickly, skimming may be the best technique.
However, if you are looking for detailed information or want to understand the text deeply, scanning may be a better option.The best way to become skilled at using both skimming and scanning effectively is through practice.
Try out both techniques on different types of texts, and see which one works better for you in each case. With enough practice, you will develop a feel for when to use each technique.
Benefits of Skimming and Scanning
- Start by reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This will give you a sense of what the paragraph is about and whether it’s relevant to your needs.
- If a paragraph is longer than one sentence, scan it for keywords or phrases that stand out. These could be names, places, dates, or anything else that might be important.
- Once you’ve scanned all of the paragraphs, take a look at the headings and subheadings. These can give you a good idea of the overall structure of the piece and help you identify any sections that are particularly relevant to your needs.
- When you’re scanning for specific information, it can be helpful to start with a list of keywords or topics that you’re looking for. This will help you focus your search and save time.
- As you read, look for words or phrases that match your list. You may need to scan a few sentences before you find what you’re looking for.
- Once you’ve identified the information that you need, go back and read the entire section or paragraph to make sure it has all of the relevant details.
Key differences between Skimming and Scanning
- Skimming: Skimming is used to quickly get an overview or general sense of the content. It helps identify the main ideas, key points, or headings.
- Scanning: Scanning is used to locate specific information or details within a text. It involves searching for keywords, phrases, numbers, or specific data.
- Reading Speed:
- Skimming: Skimming involves reading quickly, often by glancing over the text or skipping sections. It focuses on getting a sense of the overall content.
- Scanning: Scanning involves reading rapidly but with a more targeted approach. It involves moving the eyes quickly across the text to locate specific information without reading every word.
- Level of Detail:
- Skimming: Skimming involves reading selectively and skipping over less important or detailed information. It aims to capture the main ideas and the overall structure of the text.
- Scanning: Scanning is focused on finding specific information, so it requires a more detailed and attentive search. It involves reading only the relevant parts or specific sections of the text.
- Difference between HTTP and HTTPS
- Difference between TIFF and JPG
- Difference between Thunderbolt 2 and 3
Tips for effective Skimming and Scanning
- When skimming, read the first and last sentence of each paragraph, as well as any headings. These usually contain the most important information. Also, look for keywords and phrases that stand out.
- When scanning, scan for specific information. Read quickly and don’t worry about understanding everything. Try using your finger or a pen to help guide your eyes so you don’t accidentally read something twice.
- And finally, don’t be afraid to re-read a section if you didn’t find what you were looking for the first time.
Skimming is useful for previewing a text and getting a general idea of its content or structure while scanning is useful for locating specific information or details quickly. Both techniques are complementary and can be used in combination to enhance the overall reading experience. By mastering these techniques, readers can save time and effort, and improve their overall reading and learning outcomes.