Skimming speed reading
Skimming is the most rudimentary type of reading. Its object is to familiarize you as
quickly as possible with the material to be read. You may use it for entire books or for
shorter sections. You leaf through the material looking at titles, subheadings,
illustrations, maps, and charts. You are trying to become familiar with the subject
matter. Remember, both speed and comprehension depend on familiarity. The more comfortable
you are with the manner in which the material is presented, the faster you will move
through it and the more you will retain. Two to three minutes is ample time for a chapter,
ten to fifteen minutes for a book.
Skimming may also be used to search out certain short passages you have lost. Your eye
should race over the pages looking for clues which will help you narrow down the probable
location. Though you feel completely lost, the act of skimming will refresh your memory
and lead you to the passage. Trust your memory. If it says upper left-hand corner, look
there first. With practice you can develop a memory which will allow you to recall the
exact location on a page of a piece of information. After that, patient speed will do the
rest. Skimming before you start is valuable for any type of reading, even pleasure
reading, except perhaps for mysteries.
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