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Scanning in Reading

What is scanning in reading?

Scanning in reading is a process of reading in which your eyes quickly run through a piece of text to find a piece of relevant information. Scanning in reading is a common practice to locate a word in a dictionary. We are not interested in understanding the summary of the text or what the text is about while scanning.

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Scanning in reading is different from skimming in a lot of ways. Scanning is when the reader looks for a piece of specific information and in skimming, the reader would run through the text to get an overall understanding. In this way, skimming is different from scanning. The perfect example of scanning is when we try to find out the meaning of a particular word from a dictionary. In order to find the meaning of a word, we will not go through each and every word in the dictionary, but rather we would run our eyes through the pages. 

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Readers who know how to differentiate between skimming and scanning are flexible readers. Both these processes ensure the readers read according to their purpose and get the information they need without wasting a lot of time reading the entire text. They do not have to read everything which makes the reading process quick and increases their reading speed as well. 

Skimming is basically the act of glancing through the text to get an idea of what the text is about. It just gives a gist of the topics which are covered in the text. Skimming is usually done to analyse whether you’re interested in reading the entire text or not. If a reader finds the text interesting by skimming, then he can invest his time in reading it. Scanning is a part of the reading process where the readers tend to take a cursory glance at the content. Scanning and skimming are two different concepts of reading.

Scanning gives you a rough idea as to what information is contained in which part of the prose. What is scanning in reading can be understood by reading its benefits. Scanning of texts while reading helps the readers to retain the information for a longer period of time and read closely. Scanning helps to locate a particular fact in the entire text. It helps to save time while reading as you can just focus on the important parts of the text. Scanning involves reading the text rapidly in order to find particular facts or areas that you are looking for. Scanning is often used by students while solving their reading comprehension questions. Skimming and scanning both are very useful techniques that a reader must know.

Another example for scanning would be how we find a particular contact number from a directory. Scanning would let you save a lot of time as it enables you to quickly find the relevant information. When you scan a text, you will try to locate certain words or phrases. You will be using your hands to locate the information you are looking for when you are involved in the process of scanning. Hands can help you find the data more easily. You can scan effectively by using your peripheral vision.

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