Skim reading has become an important practice in today’s fast-paced life. It’s a useful technique to master so that you can read and digest longer texts quickly and efficiently.
You read the text superficially when you skim, focusing on critical points and skipping over details. Skim reading can be helpful when you have a lot of information to process or want to get a general overview of a topic before investing time in it.
Skimming allows readers to quickly pick up key information about a topic without spending too much time on the fine detail. It helps you quickly decide how useful the article will be to your work, so that you don’t waste time on less relevant texts. When done properly, it can also improve comprehension and retention.
This article will outline the skim reading technique and its benefits.
How to effectively skim read
Skim reading can help you process information from long articles or books when you want to know the gist of the text, but don’t want to spend too much time reading it in depth.
To skim read a text:
- Scan the title and summary or abstract at the beginning of the article.
- Focus on the headings and main ideas of the article.
- Look for keywords and phrases that will give you a good idea about the themes of the article.
- Once you’ve finished skimming, go back, and reread the parts that were most relevant to you.
- Repeat steps 1 – 5
Benefits of skim reading?
With skim reading, you’re mainly focusing on the headline text, subheadings, and critical points within the sections of an article.
One benefit of skim reading is that you can quickly get a sense of whether the article is worth your time. If you don’t find anything interesting or valuable in the headline or first few paragraphs, you can skip over it without feeling guilty. Skim reading also helps you stay focused on the main points of an article and avoid getting side-tracked by extraneous details.
Skim reading can be a helpful way to speed up your learning. By focusing on the most critical aspects of an article, you can avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
Benefits of skim reading include:
- It saves time.
- You get a general flavour of the topic.
- You pick up new information quickly.
- Avoid wasting time on material that’s less relevant to your research.
- You may even find some hidden gems!
- Being able to focus on the key points.
- Being able to retain more information.
- You may also find interesting facts that could help you make better decisions.
Skim-reading tools can be used to scan a collection of articles and can be particularly helpful when you need to find key information (methodology, results, findings, limitations) that’s often buried in the text. Skim-reading tools are not intended as a replacement to reading the full text, but to help you identify the most useful articles more easily and screen the literature more efficiently.
Scholarcy is a popular tool that helps you read text faster by converting chapters and research papers into interactive summary flashcards to give you the key facts. Each flashcard contains the key methods and results, highlighting claims that you can verify with direct links to previous research.
Quillbot helps you skim through text more efficiently by highlighting essential passages and its paraphraser rephrases text making it more accessible.
Genei is another popular tool that helps you read the text more quickly by summarising it into short, easy-to-understand sentences. It can be helpful if you don’t have time to read entire articles or books but would like to gain some understanding of the content.
Is it good to skim-read?
To improve your reading speed and comprehension, try skim-reading. It is a simple method that’s easy to perfect with practice and can help you focus on the most important aspects of a text. It can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to get a quick grounding in a new subject.
Skim reading tools are a great way to speed up your reading and get an informed overview of a document. Most of these tools let you upload a document, such as the PDF of an article, and convert it into a more accessible digest. Whether you’re looking for a simple tool to highlight key points for you or something more comprehensive that integrates with your reference manager, these tools can help you read faster and learn more efficiently.