What is the Difference between Skimming and Scanning in Reading Skills?

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Difference between Skimming and Scanning in Reading Skills

Difference between skimming and scanning in reading skills: Skimming and scanning are two reading techniques used to gather information from a page, notes, or document rapidly. Skimming is a faster process than scanning. Another distinction between the two techniques is that skimming is just an overview, whereas, scanning is more targeted. To discover other contradictions between the two reading techniques, keep browsing. In addition to the distinctions, we will also introduce you to the meanings of skimming and scanning. Keep reading!!

Also Read: Importance of Reading for Students

What is Skimming and Scanning in Reading Skills?

Before we dive into the parameters defining the key differences between skimming and scanning in reading skills, let us understand the definition of both these reading techniques. 

What is Skimming in Reading Skills?

Skimming involves quickly going through a text to grasp its main ideas without getting into every detail. If you are reading a chapter in your NCERT textbook, it is advisable to skim it initially to understand the overall content. You can always return later for a more thorough read.

For instance, when working on an assignment or a class project, you might discover a book or website that seems beneficial. Before diving into the nitty-gritty, you must skim through the material. This way, you can determine its usefulness upfront and potentially save yourself a considerable amount of time.

What is Scanning in Reading Skills?

Whereas, scanning is a reading method where the reader quickly moves their eyes across the page to locate specific information. It involves actively searching for particular details rather than reading the entire text. When you scan, you already have a clear idea of what you are seeking, and your goal is to identify and extract that specific information efficiently.

For example, when you search for a word’s meaning in a dictionary, you scan the pages to locate the exact word you are looking for. Therefore, for successful scanning, you need to understand how the content is structured. Also, you must be able to interpret what you read swiftly and pinpoint the relevant information.

Also Read: 5 Amazing Ways to Develop Reading Readiness

What is the Difference Between Skimming and Scanning in Reading Skills?

Source: Colleen Dafoe

Now that you understand the meaning of skimming and scanning, it is time to identify the difference between skimming and scanning in reading skills. These reading skills differ on parameters like technique, implementation, reading method, objective, familiarity, and purpose. Now, let us analyze distinctions based on some important parameters, which are as follows:

1. Objective

Skimming is used to quickly get an overview or
a general sense of the content of a text.
Scanning is used to locate specific information within a text, such as a particular word, phrase, or piece of data.

2. Technique

In this reading technique, readers usually glance over the text, reading headings, subheadings,
and the first and last sentences of paragraphs.
In this reading technique, the reader moves her/their/his eyes quickly over the text in a systematic way, looking for keywords or specific information. 
To skim through notes, you can look at bold or italicized words, graphics, and any other prominent features.In this process, readers do not read every word but instead focus on finding the information they need.

4. Speed

It is a fast reading technique. It takes a little bit more time than skimming. 
It quickly identifies the main ideas and the
the overall structure of the text without
focusing on every detail.
It helps the reader search for specific details rather than trying to understand the entire content in a targeted manner. 

5. Use Cases

It is usually used to preview a text to determine
its relevance when reviewing a reading material. 
It is generally used when we have to search for answers to specific questions.
It is done in case of grasping the important
points of a page or an article.
Also, scanning is opted for when one needs to find specific details in a text. 

Also Read: 📖Essay on Importance of Reading: Samples in 100, 150, and 250 Words


Q.1. What is skimming in reading skills?

Ans: Skimming is a rapid reading technique where one quickly glances over a text to gain an overview of the main ideas and structure without reading every detail.

Q.2. What is scanning in reading skills?

Ans: Scanning is a quick reading method focused on finding specific information by swiftly moving the eyes over a text to locate keywords, phrases, or details.

Q.3. What is the difference between skimming and scanning in reading skills?

Ans: Skimming and scanning in reading skills differ based on objective, speed, technique, and use cases. 

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