Skimming and Scanning

image asking to choose your selection skimming or scanning

Why are fun loving books such as “Where’s Wally?”, “Where’s Wally Now?”, “Where’s the Peguin?” and “Star Wars: Where’s the Wookiee?” helpful for SATs preparation?

These fun loving books help children to develop their skimming and scanning skills before undertaking a SATs paper. Skimming and scanning are useful skills for your child to develop.

When faced with a SATs paper many children find they run short of time and struggle to complete the paper in the expected time. By learning how to extract key information from texts using skimming and scanning they will be improving their time management skills.

Skimming is useful for when you want to understand the main points of a text. The main ideas are normally found in the first sentences of each paragraph and in the first and last paragraphs.

Scanning refers to locating specific facts or pieces of information. Scanning is useful for finding a specific date, name, statistic or fact without reading an entire article.

Try to practise scanning skills as often as you can (but don’t let on that you are doing this to prepare them for tests) e.g. glance though a blurb and ask your child to tell you the name of the main character in the story. If you have a class list at home play a “scanning game” e.g how quickly can they find different names. Look at a website and ask them to find a fact. Look at a bus or train timetable and ask them to find the time of a specific train. Scan to find out what time their favourite programme is. Find a specific word in a wordsearch. The list is endless!

Follow the steps below to skim or scan a text:

Read the title.
Read the introduction.
Read the first line of every paragraph.
Try to find important information such as names, dates and unusual words.
Read headings and of course subheading.
Don’t forget to read the conclusion and summary.
Do not read every single word.

Remember the word or piece of information you are looking for when you are searching.
Your eyes should run quickly over the text.
Skip over text that does not contain the information you are looking for.
Scan from top to bottom then bottom to the top of the text to look for information you might have missed.

Janine is a dyslexia expert. To book a session with her, or one of our excellent tutors, please call us on 020 3198 8006, email us at [email protected], or complete the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page.

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