Scanning and Skimming: Instrumental English Reading Strategies

Scanning and Skimming are Instrumental English reading techniques. A reading technique is a strategy to help translate texts into English faster. To use the techniques, you need to know what the intention is when reading the text and knowing the type of content to be read.

When you tap your eye on the text for specific information, then the proper technique is scanning. Already for the moments in which the text has already been read, the reader needs to explore it once more and make a magazine for the words, so the technique to use is skimming.

We analyze two reading strategies: Scanning and Skimming that are part of this method so that you better understand each one of them. Check out!

What is Scanning and Skimming?


Skimming consists of watching the text quickly only to detect the subject’s overall subject without worrying about the details. To do so, it is necessary to pay attention to the layout of the text, title, sub-title, cognates, first and / or last lines of each paragraph, as well as non-verbal information (figures, graphs and tables). In the academic context, the skimming technique is widely used in the selection of bibliographic material for research work.


Scanning is a reading technique that consists of quickly scanning the text until you find the specific information you want. Scanning is a routine practice in people’s lives. Some typical examples are the use of the dictionary to obtain information about the meaning of words or the use of the index of a book to find an article or chapter of interest. This technique does not require complete reading or detail of the text.

Scanning is an excellent technique for solving proficiency tests in English language reading of masters and doctorates that charge interpretation of texts. Here are a few steps to apply the scanning technique to the test:

“Do not start by reading the text. Read the question first and identify the key word of the question that is most often a noun;

– If the question is written in your native language  and the institution allows the use of the dictionary, look for in it the meaning of this keyword;

– Then go to the text, quickly look through it and locate the key word of the question;

– Read only the paragraph where you found the keyword. Most of the time the answer will be in it. With this you do not have to read the whole text gaining a lot of time in the test.

English Instrumental

A specific Instrumental English course is the best study methodology for effective results in a short time.