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The best way to get a general overview of a reading is by skimming. In five basic steps, you can get the "whole picture" or "google map" of the reading. This strategy works because when you know where you are going, you don't get lost!

  1. Read the title and make sure you know the topic words.
  2. Read the introduction paragraph to focus on what the text is about. Predict or guess what the main ideas and arguments will 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 bigger idea of the article.
  5. Pay attention to the concluding paragraph. What was the main idea or argument?

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.  

This video addresses skimming - particularly when you trying to answer a question.