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Everyday English 2
Everyday English 2

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2 Skimming, scanning and detailed reading

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Figure 3 Skim, scan or read?

It can be difficult to read and digest lots of important information in a short time, but skimming and scanning can help.

  • Skimming involves reading the headings and subheadings of a text to get the main idea or ‘gist’ of the text. This can be useful when trying to decide whether to read it.

  • Scanning involves looking through the text to find keywords and phrases that are important or interesting.

Imagine you are looking at the magazine shelf in a supermarket. You may skim the titles of the magazines to find one you like and then scan the articles to find specific words or pieces of information.