Speed reading is not magic

Skimming speed reading

Skim by zooming through the text quickly trying to spot key words. Don't start at the beginning and plod or shuffle through the text. After you have scanned the text and found the bits that you think look relevant and interesting then skim read.
Concentrates keep your keywords and questions in your mind.

Skimming involves searching for the main ideas by reading the first and last paragraphs, noting other organizational cues, such as summaries, used by the author.

Skimming is used to quickly identify the main ideas of a text. When you read the newspaper, you're probably not reading it word-by-word, instead you're scanning the text. Skimming is done at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. People often skim when they have lots of material to read in a limited amount of time. Use skimming when you want to see if an article may be of interest in your research.

There are many strategies that can be used when skimming. Some people read the first and last paragraphs using headings, summarizes and other organizers as they move down the page or screen. You might read the title, subtitles, subheading, and illustrations. Consider reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This technique is useful when you're seeking specific information rather than reading for comprehension. Skimming works well to find dates, names, and places. It might be used to review graphs, tables, and charts.

Glance randomly through a book

Skimming is when you "browse", or glance randomly through a
book. It has great importance in learning and is emphasized as a strategy in speed reading particularly for exam taking. The purpose of skimming is to get an "overview" not the specific details of the material. We use it to decide if the book, article or report is worth our time, and has anything new and worthwhile to tell us. Why waste time if it is a rehash of stuff we already know?

Skim several times

When reading extensive material, you can first skim over the chapter and section titles to give you an idea of when the material is about. Then quickly scan through the material again to get a better idea of the topic. Finally, you read the assignment, but still reading rapidly.


Skim everything in mass media

Skimming is a step you should always take before you read any article of factual or practical narrative. You will soon be able to detect most important facts, strange vocabulary, and words that are clues to important relationships.

It's a good practice to skim everything in mass media after reading the title and first paragraph. You may get all the information you want. This keeps your skimming skills from deteriorating, or will give you the practice you need to develop necessary skills.

Skim everything you intend to read before you make a final decision to read, discard, or study the material.

Skim all highlighting and develop a read-skim pattern to use for rapid review. And don't overlook this! Reviewing frequently and rapidly is the best way to memorize (or simply remember information) from notes and long text assignments.


... And then read

Some speed reading methods have you first skim-read the material and then read it over a second time more carefully, but yet still at high speed. In skim reading you often just scan through the material, letting your eyes catch key words that give you the crux of the written material.

Take some reading material and read it as fast as you can for a minute. When reading at this pace you do not have to understand a single word of what you are reading. Then start over for another minute and try to get to a further point that you did the last. Repeat this step over and over trying to beat the place where you got to last. Eventually time yourself for a minute and read for comprehension and you will see how fast you can really read.

Like scanning, skimming requires you to read quickly. When you skim a text, though, you are not looking for specific information, but rather, you are trying to get the main idea or point of the text you are reading. When skimming a reading selection, start with the title of the text, then read the topic sentence of each paragraph. Skimming is a skill that is especially suited for doing research. By skimming a few pages of a reference book or novel, you can generally tell if the book or novel will be useful for your research.


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