Highlighting means picking out the most important information in a text and making it stand out from what is not so important. Highlighting information while you read is useful because it helps you to identify the key points of a text (also known as ‘the main points’). You can then return to it at a later date (such as when revising for an exam) and you won’t need to read the whole thing again. Although not possible with all texts, this technique can help with things like revision notes or information you bring into a job interview.
You only need to highlight key words or phrases. You can do this by underlining or using a highlighter pen. You might like to use two or more highlighting colours to help you remember different kinds of information.
Activity 2 Practice with highlighting
In the newspaper report below, highlight what you think are the three main points, not including the headline.
The headline suggests that the article is mainly about benefit fraud. So one possible choice for the three main points would be:
- ‘fined for fraudulently obtaining benefits’
- ‘sentenced to 200 hours Community Service’
- ‘failing to disclose income’.
Highlighting is a skill that improves quickly with practice. When highlighting key points, it can also be useful to make notes on them to help you to remember the points and use the information later, for example if you need to do a piece of writing using that information.