How do you skim?
Use as many clues as possible to give you some background information. There might be pictures or images related to the topic, or an eye-catching title. Let your eyes skim over the surface of the text and, whilst thinking about any clues you have found about the subject, look out for key words.
1. Read the title, subtitles and subheading to find out what the text is about.
2. Look at the illustrations to give you further information about the topic.
3. Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
4. Don't read every word or every sentence. Let you eyes skim over the text, taking in key words.
5. Continue to think about the meaning of the text.
What is meant by scanning?
Scanning is a fast reading technique. It's a way of reading to look for specific information in a text. Scanning can be used to look up a phone number, read through the small ads in a newspaper, or for browsing TV schedules, timetables, lists, catalogues or web pages for information. For these tasks you don't need to read or understand every word. Scanning is also useful when studying or looking to find specific information from a book or article quickly as there is not always time to read every word.
Hints and tips for better scanning.
1. Don't try to read every word. Instead let your eyes move quickly across the page until you find what you are looking for.
2. Use clues on the page, such as headings and titles, to help you.
3. In a dictionary or phone book, use the 'header' words to help you scan. You can find these in bold type at the top of each page.
4. If you are reading for study, start by thinking up or writing down some questions that you want to answer. Doing this can focus your mind and help you find the facts or information that you need more easily.
5. Many texts use A-Z order. These include everyday materials such as the phone book and indexes to books and catalogues.
6. There are many ways to practice scanning skills. Try looking up a favourite recipe in the index of a cookbook, search for a plumber in your local Yellow Pages, or scan web pages on the Internet to find specific information.
Distinguishing Main Ideas from Supporting Details
The gist of a passage; central thought; the chief topic of a passage expressed or implied in a word or phrase; the topic sentence of a paragraph; a statement that gives the explicit or implied major topic of a passage and the specific way in which the passage is limited in content or reference.
How to Find the Main Idea?
It's important to be able to find the main idea in a paragraph. The main idea tells what the paragraph is mostly about. All of the other sentences are details that tell more about the main idea. Sometimes the title or subtitle tells the main idea. Other times, the first or last sentence in the passage tell the main idea. In short, the main idea can be placed either in:
The first sentence of a paragraph or
The middle of a paragraph or
The last sentence of a paragraph
Not stated in the paragraph but need to be implied or inferred
A supporting detail is a piece of information that is more specific and used to explain the main idea of a paragraph, article or the whole passage. A supporting detail only describes about a small part of the main idea. It can be in the form of definitions, facts, examples, reasons, descriptions and statistics.
How to Find Supporting Details?
It can be found by asking and answering these questions: