Description of Skimming

Skimming is used to obtain the gist (the overall sense) of a piece of text. E.g. 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 to Use It

(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.

When to Use It

(1) When one needs to know the overall sense or the main ideas of a text.
(2) When there are large amounts of reading and limited time to review it in detail.
(3) When one is seeking specific information rather than reading for comprehension or pleasure.
(4) When it is necessary to find out if it is a book should be read at all or in more detail.
(5) When one needs to know if a text may be of interest in one’s research.

Activities to Practice Skimming

Skimming Activity 1
Skimming Activity 2
Skimming Activity 3
Skimming Activity 4
Skimming Activity 5
Skimming Activity 6

Links to Scholarly Articles on Skimming

Fast Reading Style
This website provides an overview of fast reading techniques including scanning, key words spotting, and skimming.
Other Reading Techniques Websites:
Reading and Understanding Texts
Reading Techniques

Seven Steps to Effective Reading
This page discusses different types of reading (skimming, scanning, reading in-depth), deciding what to read, getting ready to read, SQ3R, taking notes from reading, problems with reading, and continuing to improve your reading.
Other Sites on Effective and Efficient Reading:
Reading Effectively
Reading Efficiently

Super Reading
This page provides an overview of reading techniques including reading for speed, skimming, and grouping words. You can even take a short online quiz.

Using reading strategies to read more quickly and effectively
This article discusses effective use of reading strategies including active reading and reading particular types of texts.
Other Websites to Improve Reading Speed:
Rapid Reading
Reading Fast
Speed Reading



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