Look and Listen... | Regardez et écoutez ...

Skimming | La technique d'écrémage

Skimming is a reading technique used to quickly identify the main ideas of a text.

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Skimming a text allows a reader to get an overall sense of the key ideas, information or topic. The reader aims to move his eyes quickly horizontally throughout the text to read the main points, skipping over the details. Skimming a text can be completed at a much faster rate than reading the same text in detail.

Skimming helps a reader:
  • decide if a text is worth a thorough reading and/or suitable for his or her purpose
  • locate text features such as indexes, headings/subheadings, captions, labels and drop-down menus to further help understand texts
  • search through a vast amount of material in a limited amount of time
  • rapidly locate appropriate sources for projects or assignments
  • efficiently navigate the Internet to find information
  • determine the structure and/or genre of a text
  • locate cognates to make reading texts less overwhelming
  • further predict what the text is about
  • preview a passage before reading it in detail
  • refresh the understanding of a passage after reading it in detail
  • save time and improve learning efficiency

To help your child develop skimming abilities, practice skimming through texts with your child and discussing the contents.


  • the first and last sentences of each paragraph
  • the first few paragraphs, then a couple of paragraphs in the middle and then the last paragraph
  • the first paragraph and the last paragraph
Looking at:

  • the title | le titre
  • the subheadings | les sous-titres
  • italicized words | les mots en italiques
  • boldface print | les caractères gras
  • underlined text | le texte souligné
  • graphics such as diagrams, graphs, charts, illustrations and photographs | les graphiques tel que les diagrammes, tableaux, illustrations et photos
  • chapter headings | les titres de chapitres
  • quotes | les citations
  • captions | les légendes
  • the true cognates | les vrais amis
Glancing through:

  • the bibliography/works cited and references | la bibliographie/les ouvrages cités et les références
  • the preface | la préface
  • the table of content | la table des matières
  • chapter summaries | les résumés des chapitres

With any of the above skimming tips, allow your child to return to the text after your discussion, to confirm or verify the ideas exchanged.

The goal to skimming a text is to have your child avoid reading every word.

Your child will come to understand that it is possible to gain meaning without reading every word in a text.