How To Guide Students To Read Texts and Other Materials By 'SKIMMING'.

How To Guide Students To Read Texts and Other Materials By 'SKIMMING'.

Skimming and Scanning

Teach 'Intensive Reading  for Comprehension’ and Other Comprehension topics and activities by imparting these valuable reading skills to the students and classes with Comprehension topics.



In Skimming, the following aspects are covered:
  •    Introduction.
  •    Situations where skimming is applied.
  •    Steps in Skimming.
  •    Examples and uses of Skimming.
  •    Advantages of Skimming.
  •    Tasks and exercises on skimming.

The aim of this part is to discuss different types of reading skills with students before actual and accurate reading of the texts.
Both Skimming and Scanning are speed-reading techniques but each one has its own purposes and steps to be followed when reading.
So as to set the arena for other related upcoming sub topics and other reading activities and to clearly distinguish between various types of reading, students should be introduced to these types of reading first.
Important to The Teachers: Before Teaching Reading Intensively for Comprehension, it is a good approach to learn these two types of reading and what they contain:

Skimming is a reading method in which a reader rapidly moves the eyes over the text with the purpose of getting only the main ideas and a general overview of a picture of the content. It actually involves quickly looking through text to get an idea of what the text concerns. It is sometimes referred to as gist reading.

Three Situations applied when Skimming a Text:
In making Skimming more useful, it should be conducted in the following situations:
  •   Pre-reading. When a reader only wants to get more accurate picture of the text he/she plans to read later.
  •   Reviewing. When a reader is reviewing the text already read.
  •   Reading. When a reader is quickly reading the material that does not need more detailed attention.

Steps in Skimming a text.
Skimming reading is process. The reader needs to utilize these processes in order to get most from this type of reading. The following are the steps involved when doing a skimming:
  •   Read the title. The title is the shortest summary of the content.
  •   Read the introduction or first paragraph of the text.
  •   Read the subheadings if there are one so as to see how they are related.
  •   Read the first sentence of each paragraph. This is because most first sentence conveys the main idea of the whole paragraph.
  •   Now dip into the text to look for:

o   Clue words that answer who, what, when, why, how.
o   Proper nouns.
o   Enumerations.
o   Unusual words, especially if capitalised or italicised.
o   Qualifying adjectives like; best, worst, most, etc.
o   Typography of the text such as use of italics, bold letters, underlining, asterisks, etc.
  •   Read the final paragraph completely.

Examples & Uses:
  •   Normally a person can skim to search for a name in a telephone directory.
  •   It is used when reading magazines or newspaper articles to know the general news of the day.
  •   To browse the book to see if you can read it.
  •   To view the TV Guide or channels quickly to see what is on certain time.
  •   It is also used when you pass through options on a Google search to see what sites interests you most.
  •   It is used to scan a menu on a restaurant.
  •   When reading a school time table, etc.

  •   It helps to know what the text is about at its most basic level. For instance, passing the eye on magazine or newspaper.
  •   It helps the readers to mentally and quickly shortlist the articles which the readers might consider for a further deeper reading.
  •   It helps to read as many words as possible at a time. For instance, you can reach a speed count of even 700 or 1000 words per minute if you train yourself well in this particular method.
  •   It saves time.

  •  Comprehension is of course very low and understanding of overall content very superficial.
  •  Mastering the art of skimming effectively, students are required to use it as frequently as possible.

By applying these tasks or activities, students will have an effective understanding of reading by skimming.
  •  Give students some newspaper and magazines like Fema Magazines. Tell them you want them to skim them and tell them to present before the class the articles that interested their eyes and they wish to go back to read when they get another time.
  •  Find a text and decide which are the key ten words or phrases which give a general idea of the topic or theme of the text. Write them in chronological order. What is the text about? Try to imagine these words highlighted in a text. Would it be necessary to read the rest of the text to get the general meaning?
  •  Ask your students to underline key words and phrases in texts.
  •  Find some short newspaper articles with headlines (ten reports and ten headlines, for example). Separate the headlines from the stories and stick both headlines and stories in random order on a sheet of paper. Look at the headlines and the stories and match the correct headlines with the correct stories as quickly as possible.
  •  Find some short newspaper articles (six to ten short articles) and remove the headlines. Write one word which summarises each text. Match the words with the texts. (The same activity can be done by getting the students to write the words in groups and then trying out the activity on other groups in the class).
  •  After having completed a skimming tasks (with a newspaper, for example), read a short section of the text intensively. Focus on details in the text and on items of language (vocabulary, in particular). In this way you can integrate skimming with other reading activities and avoid the feeling that the text was only touched upon rather than dealt with thoroughly. (The same picture can be applied to scanning).
  •  Reading for the main idea. What do you think is the most important idea in this text below?

(A)Music Industry in Tanzania.
(B) One famous musician.
(C)Scandals of celebrities.

In Tanzania, there are many famous people. The most famous people are celebrities. Celebrities are famous people who have excelled certain aspects of life such as movies, music, and other aspects. It is not easy to meet every celebrity. Most of them are rarely seen. They are only seen at particular events like TV shows, movies, and various live performances. For example, the musicians travel a lot. They need to travel and perform in various places within the country and outside the country. It is a tough job especially when the particular musician releases the new song or album and he/she needs to travel in order to publicise and sell it. Even if his/her songs are played in Radio stations and TV stations, he/she still needs to perform various live performances to sell his songs and promote his or her album and songs.


Resources taken from:
  •       Tim Bowen and Jonathan Marks (undated) ‘Inside Teaching’, p 123.
  •       Penny Ur (1996) A course in language teaching.
  •     Reading and Study Skills Lab: ‘Skimming and Scanning’; SOA- Seek Optimum Skills, Anne Arundel Community College. At
  •  Skimming and Scanning;

Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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