Skimming can help you to decide if something is going to be worth reading. Skimming involves reading the title, headings and subheadings, and looking at the pictures, to decide if the text is worth reading. This saves time if you want or need to read a lot of texts.
Skimming helps you to decide:
- Should I open it?
- Should I read it?
- How much time should I spend reading it?
For example, for a newspaper article you could look at the headline, which summarises what the article is about, and at the first and last paragraphs, which might sum up the whole article. Photographs with captions also give clues.
Skimming is not just for information texts. You can also skim to decide if a novel is worth buying from a bookshop or borrowing from a library.
Activity 5 Why choose that one?
Think of the last time you bought or borrowed a book to read for pleasure. Why did you choose that one?
Have you bought any magazines or newspapers in the last few months or read any online? What do you think made you choose the ones you did?
Here are the reasons why I chose the books, magazines and newspapers I’ve read over the past couple of months. You may have had other reasons.
- The description of the book on the back cover.
- I had already read and liked something by the same writer.
- The illustrations on the front cover.
- It was recommended by a friend.
- I read a good review of the book.
- I read the first paragraph of the first chapter and liked what I read.
- I had seen the film of the book.
Magazines and newspapers
- One magazine covers my special interest, mountain biking.
- The newspaper I bought has a motoring section and I wanted to find out prices for second-hand cars.
- I read a magazine in the hairdressers.
- I like doing the newspaper crossword.
What you have written will depend on your own tastes and habits. I buy both newspapers and magazines without really looking at what is inside. I may scan the contents page of a magazine, but I rarely look at a newspaper before buying it. What you decide to read for pleasure often depends on your own interests and needs, but skimming can help!