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22 May, Wednesday
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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Skimming



Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Blogiessee / 1 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 2 minuuttia.

Many people think that reading a book means reading it from cover to cover. But what if I just read 2 or 3 chapters? What if I read a few paragraphs and look at the pictures and graphs? And what if I just skim through?

Last semester I hosted an essay paja and while the first part consisted of giving feedback to each other, looking through SYNTRE’s essay guidelines and policies as well as Proakatemia guidelines; the second part was a new topic for almost all. As a pre-task I asked everyone to go to the library and bring a book that is completely new to them. I didn’t mention the length or even a specific topic, only that it should be a professional book of sorts. The book served as a tool for exercise, where we had 25 minutes to skim through the whole book and then in 5 minutes create a mind map of the book.

What is skimming?

Skimming is one method for speed reading, where the reader tries to get the general idea while going through the material as quickly and efficiently as possible. Skimming works best on non-fiction and on professional writing, when the goal is to get a general understanding rather than a comprehensive one. (UTC n.d.)

How to skim effectively?

Skim reading is an organized chaos. First, it is best to carefully read the list of contents and the introduction chapter or the first few paragraphs to see the general direction of the book and to conclude that it contains relevant information for the research or interest. After this we need to read the first sentence of each paragraph and go through them as fast as possible and then glance at the rest of the paragraph to look for relevant keywords. The last paragraphs of certain chapters may summarize the content before so it is okay to stop skimming and read those carefully as well. Making notes while skimming can be helpful as well, in remembering where to go back for certain topics and elements. (UTC n.d.)

My own experience with skimming and “homework”

As “homework” I asked everyone to in an essay format reflect on the exercise, by writing an actual essay about the book, a review of the experience, or a combination of both.

During the paja, I was skimming Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D.

Figure 1. Mind map created based on the skim reading of Play by Stuart Brown, M.D.

When reading the book during the paja, I was surprised at how much I could retain by just reading a very small portion of the whole. In the end, my mind map contained almost the same words and information as the table of contents, but with added keywords and questions that I thought of. Writing a fully formed essay with this method doesn’t sound too difficult as I already know the big picture and have notes to find more information. Overall, the experience was interesting and useful.

 

Sources:

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga. n.d. Skimming and Scanning. https://www.utc.edu/enrollment-management-and-student-affairs/center-for-academic-support-and-advisement/tips-for-academic-success/skimming

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