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The best way to get a general overview of a reading is by skimming.
A few tips on SKIMMING:
  1. Prior to skimming, try some visualizing techniques.
  2. Read the introductory paragraph to focus on what the text is about. Try to predict what the coming discussion or arguments might be.
  3. Read the first one or two sentences of each paragraph and the concluding sentences.
  4. Don't try to understand or translate every word in the text. You want to understand the gist of the article.
  5. Pay attention to the concluding paragraph. What was the author trying to say or prove?
  6. Time permitting, go back to the beginning and re-read carefully what you might have missed. Now you can look up any new terms or words that appear more than once in your reading.