Instead of reading every word, when is it helpful to skim or scan material? - For Faster Reading


For your children to become truly proficient readers, they need to know how to skim and scan material to find bits of information quickly. Skimming will give them an overview of the material, while scanning will help them find specific information. Both skills can be fun to practice.

Take your children to the library and have them use their skimming skills to find several books to read. They should glance through a book, seeing if the table of contents has chapters that interest them or if there are pictures, sentences and headings in the book that capture their eye. Occasionally, they should stop and read a paragraph. Nine times out of 10, if a book does not interest them when they skim through it, they will not find it interesting if they decide to read it. Your children should use their skimming skills at school when they are trying to get an idea of what is in a new textbook chapter. In this case, they will read only the headings and glance at the pictures and charts. They will skip over most words and sentences.

Scanning involves reading rapidly from top to bottom to locate material and then from left to right for more information. Have your children practice this skill as they search for specific TV programs, names in phone directories and the weather reports for different cities.