How you read the text will depend on whether you are reading it for the first, second or even third time. These techniques will help you.


  • The first time you read a text, read it quickly to get a general idea.
  • Your eyes follow the text from start to finish.
  • Skim the introduction to get an idea of what the text is about.


  • The first time you read a text, scan it quickly to find specific information.
  • Your eyes move quickly all over the text; from left to right, up or down.
  • Scan to find names, places, numbers or dates.
  • As you read the text, circle the numbers, dates, names, etc.

Reading for detail / specific information

  • The second time you read the text you will be looking for detail and specific information.
  • Read slowly and carefully.
  • Read parts of the text again and again.


How well did you do in the exercise? Can you think of any examples or situations when we might skim, scan or read in detail? For example, we scan when we read a bus timetable.



amawes's picture
amawes 30 September, 2016 - 08:09

I did good on the test 7/8.
There are plenty of moments in life when we decide to just skim through something, for example when you're handed a piece of paper at the mall you might just skim through the text to see what is is about. You scan a text more thoroughly when you're reading like a buse time table or something like that. We often read in detail at like a test or something

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navya's picture
navya 22 February, 2015 - 11:42

Yes I can but is to difficulty for me becouse I can't study English at my school for this I go to study English with a course with the tree of MoMo.
And I'm the cleverest of my class,so is to difficulty.

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Ilehana's picture
Ilehana 27 July, 2013 - 01:28

well, I think this advice is very usefull, I got it in my school from a very good teacher, and I would add as a new advice, that you can seek for the words that are similar to your language, for example, in Spanish ''International'' is ''Internacional'' the writing is similar, and then you asume that they have the same meaning,therefore you can get a general idea of the text from words that you ''already'' know, I don't know if this works for another languages , but I think is very useful in spanish, specially when you have to traslate or do a summary from the text or even giving you opinion.

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Rainbow Colours's picture
Rainbow Colours 24 January, 2013 - 18:16

Very well :)
We usually skim books in a bookshop to know its general idea. We read in details if it's interesting. And if we need to know a certain information mentioned in the book for a school assignment -for example- we scan the book .

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venkatgade10's picture
venkatgade10 17 October, 2012 - 04:42

Ya, There are plenty of bus number in the timetable but we have to see only our bus number during that time we will just scan the bus number to identify our bus. here scanning technique will be useful. thanks for this discussion , it helps me to get better understanding of what is scanning in reading

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