SKIMMING IMPROVES READING ABILITY
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FAKULTY OF TEACHER TRAINING AND EDUCATIONAL SCIENCE
IBN KHALDUN UNIVERSITY
Background of the study
Reading is the receptive skill in the written mode. It can develop independently of listening and speaking skills, but often develops along with them, especially in societies with a highly-developed literary tradition. Reading can help build vocabulary that helps listening comprehension at the later stages, particularly. As reading is an interactive process, you have to work at constructing the meaning of the text from the marks on the paper. You need to be active all the time when you are reading. It is useful, therefore, if you need to read the text in detail, before you start reading to activate the knowledge you have about the topic of the text and to formulate questions based on this information.
Skimming a text for gist can help you formulate questions to keep you interacting with the text. Basically, skimming is the most rudimentary form of reading. The object of skim reading is not to necessarily comprehend all that is being read, but rather to familiarize yourself, as quickly as possible, with the text being read. In this regard, skimming materials, by reading the index, subject headings and sub-headings, allows you to prepare yourself so that when the time comes, you can race ahead and speed read at pace as you are already familiar with the text. Consequently, your overall reading speed will be vastly improved.
The ability to speed read is an important skill in today’s world, where whether we are students or at work. We are often expected to read hefty amounts of materials on a daily basis. As a result, improving our speed read training technique is something each and every one of us should not only do but maintain. It is an almost instinctive reaction to think that reading faster equates with comprehending with less empirical evidence. However, seems to indicate otherwise individuals who comprehend what they have read as those who read too fast. Vocalization i.e., the biggest hurdle in speed reading very often, when pursuing materials. Relating to improving our speed reading skills. We will see comments to the effect that vocalization is the biggest hurdle in speed reading. We’ll need to overcome this practice if we want to significantly increase our reading speed. It is the basic skill for college students including foreign language learners. Reading ability generates learning power that helps students know themselves and others better as well. The importance of ability includes three parts. First, reading ability generates learning power that helps you know yourself and others better. Second, reading power activates learning power. An individual with know-how is more worth than one without know-how. It helps you in two ways, getting a better job and succeeding on a job. Third, reading power is also yearning power, serving as a catalyst for creativity. Skimming means pass or glance over lightly or in a superficial manner. Many students probably consider that their main problem in reading is not having a big enough vocabulary. Students who meet a word they cannot interpret are first likely to ask what it means, which is fine as long as an informant is available, but not practical as the basis for interdependent study. After that, most of the students turn to dictionaries. This is very natural and in some circumstances advisable. But in fact, one of the first things to be said about a dictionary is “Don’t use it too much”. Students who keep working up new words read not that effectively. Every time we break off to consult a dictionary, you slow down our reading and interrupt our thinking; it would be idiotic to ban the use of dictionaries. We must free ourselves from dependence of a dictionary or an informant. It is essential to realize that we can cope without one, and that it is wasteful to look up every new word, but any students reading for a serious study purpose need to be able to look up new words. Dictionaries vary, so students need to be familiar with the kind of information offered by their own. In addition, skimming allows your subconscious the chance to absorb the main ideas of a text. These are later cemented by your speed reading of the contents. The combination of these two methods allows you grater comprehension of what you are reading. Having ascertained that skimming will increase out reading speed, we now need to know how to skim read, whilst there are many different methods adopted to skim reading like read the index of a text means note that it is essential that you do this so that you get the general ideal of what the next is about.
• Read the introduction paragraph of the text
• Read each heading in the text
• Read each subheading in the text etc.
Moreover, when skimming, try using your peripheral eye vision to identify the main idea of the text, the main dates in the text and any illustrations/graphs. Finally, when you are skimming, start at the beginning and over what you have already read before you have completed the whole text as this will defeat the purpose of your skim reading. In any event, you are going to speed read the text once more after you have completed your skim read. 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. And skimming is a process of speed reading that involves visually searching the sentences of a page for clues to meaning. For some people, this comes naturally, and usually can not be acquired by practice. Skimming is usually seen more in adults than in children. It is conducted at a higher rate (700 words per minute and above) than normal reading for comprehension (around 200-230 wpm), and results in lower comprehension rates, especially with information-rich reading material. 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. Another form of skimming is that commonly employed by readers on the Web. This involves skipping over text that is less interesting or relevant. This form of reading is not new but has become increasingly prevalent due to the ease with which alternative information can be accessed online. Skimming is a reading technique that can help you to read more quickly and decide if the text is interesting and whether you should read it in more detail. And so skimming is a fast reading technique. Use it to obtain the gist of a piece of text (i.e. to quickly identify the main ideas in the text).The term skimming is often confused with scanning. Remember: Skimming is used to obtain the gist (the overall sense) of a piece of text.
example when use skimming to get the gist of a page of a textbook to decide whether it is useful and should therefore be read more slowly and in more detail.
How do you skim read?
Don't read the whole text word-for-word. 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 sentences of each paragraph.
4. Don’t every word or every sentence. Let you eyes skim over the text. Taking in keyword.
5. Continue to think about the meaning of the text.
Skim reading is a valuable technique for over viewing, previewing, and reviewing information at both the general and specific levels. It's useful for reading structured text in which there are organizing clues and for reading unstructured text in which there are no organizing clues. In this chapter, you'll learn how to use skimming techniques in each situation so you'll be able to read both complex and simple content at a faster, more efficient rate, and at a deeper level of understanding. Skim reading is an essential technique for you to use in both general reading and speed reading. It differs from "fluent" reading in which you read every word in an article or book with the purpose of fully understanding the information in those publications. Skimming has the purpose of allowing you to locate information in order to overview, preview or review key concepts. The benefit of skim reading is that it allows you to rapidly assess the importance of material in relation to your reading purpose and then to focus effectively on key facts, concepts, and information needed to achieve that purpose. In other words, you can learn information very quickly and efficiently and improve your learning process. Note: Don't use skim reading alone with material you need to know in depth. In such a case, read the information carefully and at a slower rate. Use skimming before and after reading at your standard reading speed to gain a better understanding of material. Each of these guidelines defines the techniques of skim reading and provides directions on how to apply those techniques appropriately. Study each guideline closely. Then, at the end of the chapter, complete the exercises. These will help you reinforce learning of the content in this chapter.
Skim reading is an essential technique for you to use in both general reading and speed reading. It differs from "fluent" reading in which you read every word in an article or book with the purpose of fully understanding the information in those publications. Skimming has the purpose of allowing you to locate information in order to overview, preview or review key concepts. The benefit of skim reading is that it allows you to rapidly assess the importance of material in relation to your reading purpose and then to focus effectively on key facts, concepts, and information needed to achieve that purpose. In other words, you can learn information very quickly and efficiently and improve your learning process. Note: Don't use skim reading alone with material you need to know in depth. In such a case, read the information carefully and at a slower rate. Use skimming before and after reading at your standard reading speed to gain a better understanding of material. Each of these guidelines defines the techniques of skim reading and provides directions on how to apply those techniques appropriately.
Skimming is a way of reading materials quickly, in order to look for a general idea, especially when we try to decide whether careful reading would be desirable or when there is not enough time to read carefully. This skill-type reading can be used when reading newspapers, magazines, novels and the like, which can not only enlarge horizon but also bring enjoyment of language. But how can we skim? Force your eyes to move fast. Sweep across each and every line. Pick up only a few key words in each line. You and I may not pick up exactly the same words when we skim the same piece, but we’11 both get a pretty similar idea of what it’s all about. As we begin to skim a passage, we should read the first paragraph at normal speed all the way through. Because the opening paragraph contains an introduction or overview of what will be talked about. Then, from the second paragraph on, we can only read as much of each paragraph as we have to in order to discover whether it contains a main idea or any important details. We skip over the parts, which are nonessential to us until we reach the ending paragraphs, which we should read more carefully because they often contain a summary. This skill of reading is widely used when one read an exposition or an essay. When one begins to practice skimming, one may find that it is not faster than normal reading. However, with a little practice one should be able to cover materials at two or four times the rate of normal reading, with comprehension that will be enough for one’s purposes.
Skimming is quickly looking over a selection to get the general idea rather than reading every word. It is used (1) when surveying a chapter or article, (2) when all you need is a general overview instead of careful reading, and (3) when reviewing something you once read to refresh your memory. In the example that follows, you will see only the key words in a short reading selection. If you were skimming, these are the words your eyes would focus on. They are the words necessary for comprehension. Read the words and answer the questions that follow.
Skimming is important in the study because skimming is the most rudimentary type of reading. It is object is to familiarize you as quickly as possible with the material to be read. You may use it for entire books or 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 defends or 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. To two 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. You eye should race over the pages looking for clues which will help you narrow down the probably location. Though you feel completely lost, the act of skimming will refresh your memory and lead you to the passage. Thrust your memory. If it says upper left hand comer, 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 star is valuable for any types of reading, even pleasure reading, except perhaps for mysteries.
There are many strategies that can be used when skimming. Some people read the first and last paragraph using heading, summarizes, and other organizers, as they move down the page or screen. You might read the title, subtitles, subheadings, and illustrations. Consider reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This technique is useful when you’re seeking specific information than reading for compression. Skimming works well to find dates, names and places. It might be used to review graph, tables, and charts. In skimming, sometimes you need to get the general idea (or "gist") of a text. The way to do this is not by reading every word. Try reading quickly through the table of contents, the preface, and the index, then select from the chapter headings. You can then read the first and last paragraphs, and perhaps the first sentence of each of the other paragraphs.
As you know, flexibility is one sign of a power reader. Fluent readers are able to adapt their reading skills to meet the demands of the reading task before them, varying rates of speed and levels of comprehension to suit their purpose for reading. Readers often encounter a great deal of material that they would like to cover either because they are interested in a particular topic or simply because they want to stay current in their field or with local, national, and world events. When good readers want to cover large amounts of material quickly, they skim. To skim is pass quicly over material as quicly as you can while getting a general, holistic view of the content.
Skimming is not for situations where a high level of comprehension is required, but is very useful when it may be appropriate to accept a level of comprehension somewhat lower than that obtained at average reading speeds. You should aim for the main idea(s), the outline, the major supporting details, and an idea of the organizational pattern. Previously we have discussed using skimming to preview material prior to a more in-depth reading. Unlike preview skimming, overview skimming is the mode to use when you are not planning to eventually read the entire work. Overview skimming will be your only reading of the selection and is most useful for relatively easy to moderately difficult material. Skimming is most useful for obtaining a surface understanding and is not recommended for in-depth understanding or analysis.
There are the basic differences between skimming and rapid reading such as; In skimming it is advisable to leave out material. In some cases you may skip whole sentences or parts of paragraphs, sometime half or three-quarters of a paragraph if you feel you've grasped the main idea. In skimming, whole blocks of text containing minor details or less important information may be selectively skipped over, Skimming also differs from rapid reading in that lowered levels of comprehension are acceptable. Aim for 50% comprehension when skimming 60% would be a little above average. If you find yourself consistently scoring 70 to 80%, you are not skimming fast enough. ,Skimming rates vary from task to task, but as a rule of thumb, try to skim at least twice as fast as your rapid reading rate.
In practice, Developing skimming ability requires practice. The more you practice, the better. Magazine articles and chapters from supplementary textbooks are a good source of material for additional skimming practice. Set a goal of 800 wpm even if repeated practice on the same article is necessary. Check a page or two of the book or magazine to discover the approximate number of words per page. Determine the number of pages you must cover each minute to achieve 800 wpm. In check comprehension, Skim an article and then write a paragraph stating the main ideas plus a few of the details. Reread the article at a rapid reading rate to determine whether or not you correctly identified the main idea and only the most important details. And than the more you skim, the more you gain in confidence, and the better your chances of making skimming a permanent reading skill. Use skimming everyday in order to establish the habit; it will prove valuable throughout your life.
Skimming have Some advantages. The advantages consist of the first to improves other reading rates. Learning to skim rapidly can help you improve your speed for study reading and average reading as well. The second keeps you informed, use skimming to building background knowledge. Skimming will help you keep informed in political affairs or other areas when you don't have the time to read very much. The third to speeds supplementary assigments, Skim supplementary material and you may be pleased and surprised to find how much information you will comprehend. The forth to increases your sources of reference, skim to build up your knowledge of reference materials. Skim journals or reports in your major field of study when you don't have the time to read them thoroughly. Knowing the article exists, the author, and perhaps its main idea can be important. Citing the main idea of the article in class or in discussion with your professor will make you seem very well informed. In addition, if you want to use the article later, you will know where to find it when you are ready for more detailed perusal. And than to brings useful material to your attention, people who have the habit of skimming a large amount of material will invariably come across certain articles or parts of books that are of great importance to them. These important parts can be read more carefully, but if you had never developed the habit of skimming, you might never have become aware of this important information. It saves your time and betters your learning efficiency. Suppose you are reading a second textbook in a subject, after studying thoroughly one standard textbook. You can afford to do a lot of skimming without any loss. If you practice skimming, you would be exposed to a larger volume of literature than a person who insists on reading it word by word. Research scholars or students pursuing specialized higher studies may have to go through a number of journals regularly. Unless Skimming is practiced, they would not be able to fulfil their obligations.
Skimming has particularly valuable techniques for studying scientific textbooks. Science writers pack many facts and details closely together, and students react by shifting their reading speeds to the lowest gear and crawling through the material. Notwithstanding the fact that science textbooks are usually well-organized, with main points and sub-topics clearly delineated, the typical student ignores these clues and plods through the chapter word-by-word, trying to cram it all in.
It is precisely these characteristics, organization and density of facts per page, that make it so vital that you employ skimming and scanning techniques. To successfully master a science test, you must understand thoroughly the major ideas and concepts presented. Without such a conceptual framework, you will find yourself faced with the impossible task of trying to cram hundreds of isolated facts into your memory. Thus, a preliminary skimming for the main ideas by using the author's organization cues (topic headings, italics, summaries, etc.) is a vital preliminary step to more intensive reading and maximum retention. It will provide a logical framework in which to fit the details.
Skimming requires practice Enhance your Reading Skills unless you practice the art of moving your eyes vertically or diagonally for skimming and gain experience in it, you may not be able to do it effectively. Skimming should not be applied to anything you read. School or college textbooks, serious documents or material that has to be analysed in depth cannot be skimmed or even read rapidly. Every word may be significant. An analogy would help in this context. You know how to walk slowly, walk fast and run. It does not mean that you always run. Reading, rapid reading and skimming can be considered to have some similarity with the modes of locomotion suggested. Skimming implies looking for a general overview aimed at identifying the main ideas of a text.
Skimming should be done as a pre-reading activity and with so much reading required in today’s world, you may wonder shy you need to engage an article three times in three different ways. Here’s why: skimming allows you to determine if you even need to read the article at all. If you decide after skimming that you do need to read it, then do so at your normal, natural speed. Even so, it is not likely that you will retain all the information included in the article; this is where scanning comes into play.
Before skimming, you should look not only at the title of the whole work, but also at the titles of subsections. Scan the table of contents. Find other key words. Make a note of whether some of the title's key words are repeated in the table of contents; if so, that means they will be doubly important. But also notice any new key words not contained in the title; those concepts will also be important in the book, but probably in a secondary way.
Skimming does not just mean reading faster. It means pre-reading and collecting key information from titles. It means starting at the beginning and the end of sections, the places of the work that are most likely to contain the major points. And it means making intelligent decisions about when to dig deep into a difficult passage, and when to move on and come back later. And Skimming is looking through a text very quickly to understand the main topics and arguments. Read the introduction, headings, first and last sentence of each paragraph, and the conclusion. This will help you read and find information faster. So, Skimming is useful when you want to survey a text to get a general idea of what it is about. In skimming you ignore the details and look for the main ideas. Main ideas are usually found in the first sentences of each paragraph and in the first and last paragraphs. It is also useful to pay attention to the organisation of the text.
Skimming refers to reading through a passage with great precision. The reader will be looking for clues and evidence so as to help him interpret what exactly in detail was happening and etc.
The goal of skimming, though, is to know what happens throughout a large span of text. For some that’s 50+ pages, for others it’s 30+. To get this knowledge, a person has to be reading with a goal. Perhaps a person needs to find a particular plan, like a foreign policy plan within a president’s political career. Or perhaps one needs to find how a particular character serves as a metaphor within a novel. Or, maybe one just needs a plot summery.The skimmer then needs to resist the temptation to read the details that do not explain the larger topic being explored in the reading. This may involve skipping over several chapters, or skipping over several sentences. One must distance oneself from the reading reading with an eye for specific information instead of soaking up the information as it comes. It is like seeing the text as pictures instead of as words. Skimming refers to reading quickly to gain a general impression as to whether the text is of use to you. You are not necessarily searching for a specific item because it only provides an 'overview' of the text.Skimming is somewhat like reading the morning newspaper. You don’t actually start at the top left corner and read every article on every page. You read the headlines, reject many of the articles that you don’t find relevant, and read only those that interests you, sometimes in a hit and miss fashion reading the headline, the first paragraph, skipping down to check out the names of the people.
Skimming is also used for a variety of other reasons and so may be seen as a superordinate purpose. We skim when we want to determine what a text is about and whether or not we want to spend more time reading it. We skim when we are expected to read a more difficult text so that we have a sense of where the text will lead us and what we may need to know to understand it. We skim when we need to work through many texts and want to make decisions about which texts to focus more attention on. We also skim when we are under intense time pressure and need to reach some decision about the usefulness of information in a text.
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• aura Robb, a classroom teacher for 34 years, currently teaches eighth grade at Powhatan School in Boyce, Virginia, and coaches teachers in grades K-8. She is the author of Reading Strategies that Work(Scholastic Professional Books, 1996) and Whole Language, Whole Learners (Morrow, 1994).