Unit – 5
Skimming is the process of rapidly reading a text in order to get a general overview of the content. Skimming helps comprehend the general information within a text or a particular section of the text.
Before skimming, one should prepare oneself to read rapidly through the pages. One should not read every word; but special attention must be paid to typographical cues-headings, boldface and italic type, indenting, bulleted and numbered lists.
One should be alert for the names of people and places, key words and phrases, dates, nouns, and unfamiliar words.
Importance of Skimming
Skimming is a speed-reading technique which enables the reader to cover a vast amount of material very rapidly. It is a process of reading over text with the purpose of getting only the main ideas or the over-all impression of the content. Readers skim to get the information they need quickly without wasting time. They do not need to read everything which is what increases their speed-reading range. Your skimming skill lies in knowing what specific information to read.
It is very useful to pay attention to the organization of the text. Main ideas are found in the first sentence of each paragraph and in the first and last paragraphs. In skimming, to get an over-all impression, ignore the details and look for the main ideas. Be active all the time when you’re reading. You have to work at constructing the meaning of the text in what you’re reading.
In most academic writing, the paragraphs are organized internally. It is a coherent unit, which must connect to the previous and next paragraphs. Skimming a text using first lines of paragraphs is an effective way to find general information of your reading material. Always remember that reading is an interactive process.
You may also find that in some reading materials, the text is organized through the use of headings and sub-headings. This should help you get a feeling for the organization of the text and its content. You will find that familiar texts are easier to read when you are skimming a text using section headings.
Purposes of Skimming
Below are the various purposes skimming is used for:
- To find out what is in the newspaper of web articles
- To look through a text and decide if you should read further
- To look through the calendar, guide or program schedule to plan your daily activities
- To see through a catalogue to choose an offer
- To skim through the options after searching something on Google
Steps for Skimming
Skimming involves the following steps:
1. First the table of content or the chapter overview must be read to get the structural overview of the text.
2. Main headings of each chapter must be glanced through. All headings of charts and tables must be read.
3. After glancing through headings, the whole introductory paragraph must be read followed by the first and last lines of each succeeding paragraph. For each paragraph, only the first few words of each sentence must be read to locate the central idea.
4. Words indicated with boldface or italics must always be read.
5.When something significant is found, the whole sentence containing it should be given priority. One should not waste time reading extraneous details while skimming.
6.All chapter summaries must be read at the end if provided.
Skimming may help understand the text at the most basic level but to get the complete idea of a topic it should always be read completely. Skimming is useful for reading news articles, finding source material for research papers, previewing and reviewing or getting a general idea from a long selection of texts.
Although skimming can save hours of work, it is not advisable to skim often. This is because while skimming one may miss important points or finer shades of meaning.
Scanning, like skimming, also uses keywords and organizational cues, but while the objective of skimming is a big picture view of the text, the objective of scanning is to locate and collect particular facts.
It is necessary to skim the text first to decide if it is likely to contain the facts you need. While skimming one should concentrate on table of contents, summaries, indexes, headings, and typographical cues. If after skimming it is established that the text has relevant information, it can be scanned.
Purposes of Scanning
Below are the important purposes of scanning:
- To search for a word in a dictionary or an index
- To find a phone number or an address in a directory
- To check the time or schedule of a program in an agenda
- To find out the price of a specific item in a catalogue
- To acquire particular information from a text
Rules for Scanning
Following are some rules to be kept in mind while scanning:
1. It is essential to know what one is looking for. If there is a keyword or a phrase attached to the topic, one should start with that word or phrase and begin the scanning process.
1. Only one keyword should be used during one scan. If there is a need for multiple keywords than multiple scans should be conducted.
2. The eyes should rapidly float around the page until the required keyword or phrase is found.
3. After finding the desired keyword, the text surrounding that keyword should be read carefully.
The Process of Scanning
The process of scanning could be tiring as it requires a lot of concentration. One should not let their attention wander while scanning as they might lose track of the keyword or phrase. Scanning is very useful during research projects to find particular facts or fact-heavy topics.
Before beginning to scan a text for a particular information, you know must find out some fundamental things about that text. You won't be able to scan a text efficiently if you do not have a basic idea regarding the contents of the text. You should skim it first to get some ideas about that text in case the text is completely unknown. This will help you to guess the section or part of the text where you might find the information you need.
Notice how the information is arranged. It can be arranged either alphabetically or numerically. However, some texts are not arranged at all. In those cases, you have to guess a section and scan it through to get your information.
Scanning a random unknown page of a text may prove to be difficult. It may consume more time than it typically should. Therefore, it is advisable that you move your eyes vertically and diagonally keeping in mind the exact letters or numbers you are looking for.
Steps for Scanning:
- State the specific information you are looking for.
- Try to anticipate how the answer will appear and what clues you might use to help you locate the answer. For example, if you were looking for a certain date, you would quickly read the paragraph looking only for numbers.
- Use headings and any other aids that will help you identify which sections might contain the information you are looking for.
- Selectively read and skip through sections of the passage.
Extensive reading implies readying just for the joy of reading. Like riding a bicycle or dancing, when you know it won’t matter if you don’t get the gears shifted perfectly or your dance steps don’t hit every downbeat.
Extensive reading is essentially reading for pleasure. And it involves reading it as frequently as possible.
Unlike Intensive reading, fluency and total comprehension aren’t necessary for extensive reading. It is advisable to read below a comfortable level of understanding in extensive reading. Most of the time, an unfamiliar word can be deciphered by the surrounding text and if not, that’s fine, too. It’s not essential in extensive reading to understand every single word in order to get the general idea of a particular passage. It’s a general assumption that 90-95% of the words should be familiar in order to read comfortably in any language. And therefore, it may not even be difficult to understand a text without having all that vocabulary in our toolboxes. Guessing or trying to understand the meaning of words and phrases, especially when reading extensively, may be beneficial as well.
The idea behind extensive reading is that increased exposure leads to stronger language skills. Think of the vocabulary you’re being exposed to when you read a lot. And seeing the structure, idioms and cadence of a language leads to familiarity, which leads to reading competence.
When extensive reading is concerned, it’s all about practice. The more you read the better you get.
Types of extensive reading material include magazines, graded readers, novels and even comic books.
Importance and Advantages of Extensive Reading
Extensive Reading from a wide variety of sources has many language-learning benefits for readers. This practice works for readers at all levels of their education and in ways that will enhance both their reading and writing skills.
- Extensive Reading Helps Readers Decode Vocabulary
Extensive Reading means practicing decoding skills. Learning to match written words to their known spoken counterparts - and figuring out new words as they are encountered - are fundamental decoding tasks.
Although the most common words are internalized over time, decoding skills remain important as readers encounter unknown words at higher reading levels. As they advance, readers will start incorporating knowledge of Latin and Greek root words, prefixes, and suffixes to help them decode new words. They will learn, for example, that ''pre-'' means ''before'' and that ''-itis'' means ''inflamed.'' Decoding skills will be needed throughout their adult lives, whether they're thinking of purchasing a ''pre-owned'' vehicle, or trying to figure out if their new health insurance will cover them for a pre-existing condition, such as dermatitis.
2. Extensive Reading Helps Readers Expand Vocabulary
Extensive Reading widely expands a readers' vocabulary. Every type of writing, depending on the style and topic, has its own lexicon.
By reading deeply and broadly, readers will understand both formal and informal written language. They will also uncover subtle shades of meaning and learn terminology that relates to various academic and technical fields.
Multiple exposures to words within many different contexts will help them more easily understand whatever they read - throughout school and throughout their lives. When they write, they will have a much broader palette of words from which to draw, which can give their writing more accuracy and depth.
3. Extensive Reading Helps Readers Improve Grammar
Proper grammar is often pushed aside in spoken language. Written language, however, can be a rich resource for teaching good grammar to readers.
Although sources such as social media are rife with examples of poor grammar, professionally written and edited material generally presents correct usage. Extensive reading of such texts helps readers grasp good grammar. According to noted education author Dr. Constance Weaver, extensive reading allows readers to ''absorb grammatical patterns from context.''
When readers are encouraged to read extensively, they are more apt to produce grammatically correct sentences. This will make their writing much clearer.
4. Extensive Reading Helps Readers Improve Mechanics
Mechanics are a convention exclusive to written language. Even readers who are fluent speakers may not have a good command of mechanics if they do not practice their written language skills.
Reading extensively reinforces correct language constructs. It can teach readers such basic skills as knowing where to put quotation marks in relation to a comma or whether to capitalize a pronoun used in speech attribution. As readers internalize these practices, they will more naturally incorporate them into their own writing.
5. Extensive Reading Helps Readers Adapt to Audiences
When we speak, we can adapt to our audience even if it changes over the course of a conversation. Written language must determine its intended audience ahead of time. Sometimes, we know exactly who will read our words. Other times, we can only define our audience by a set of characteristics.
When readers read from a wide variety of sources, they learn to identify the audiences that written works try to address. They can use this skill in their own writing to choose appropriate diction and tone for their intended audience.
Characteristics of Extensive Reading
Below are the fundamental characteristics of extensive reading:
- Readers read as much as possible, perhaps in and definitely out of academic sessions.
2. A variety of materials on a wide range of topics is available so as to encourage reading for different purposes and in different manners.
3. Readers select what they want to read and have the freedom to stop reading material that fails to interest them.
4. Reading is individual and silent, at the reader's own pace, and, outside academics, done when and where the reader chooses.
5. Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower as readers read books and other material they find easily understandable.
Intensive reading is a type of reading where testing, evaluating and increasing knowledge is the primary focus. Understanding the literal meaning of what’s being read is vital. The process of intensive reading often includes note-taking and paying attention to subtle details.
Intensive reading consists of emphasis on deconstructing sentences to understand grammar and syntax rules as well as to extricate the details of the topic. Reading comprehension is also tested through intensive reading, such as finding answers to specific questions.
Types of intensive reading materials may include reports, contracts, news articles, blog posts and short pieces of text such as short stories.
Characteristics of Intensive Reading
Below are the fundamental characteristics of intensive reading:
- Intensive reading comes into play when we pay attention towards the grammatical forms as well as discourse markers. In addition to this, in such a type of reading we pay attention towards the minute surface structure details also. This facilitates the understanding of the literal meaning as well as implications in addition to the rhetorical relationships.
2. It is ideally a classroom-based reading where the reader is intensely engrossed in looking inside the text in depth. Apart from this, the reader pays attention towards the linguistic or the semantic details as well as on the surface structure. These include the grammar and the discourse markers.
3. Another key trait of this reading is that the reader identifies the key vocabulary and might also draw pictures to assist the same so as to solve issues where ever these might arise. In such a reading the text is read carefully as well as thoroughly in repeated fashion if the need so arises.
4. This type of reading aims to enhance the language knowledge instead of simply practising the skill of reading. There are a lot of skills that are developed if you go in for intensive reading. To highlight a few, you get thorough with the rapid reading practice in addition to being able to interpret text by making use of the word attack skills, text attack skills and also the non-text information.