4.1 - Scanning
Learning Objectives: When you finish Mod 4.1 you should be able
to answer the following questions:
What is scanning?
can I improve my scanning technique?
and how is scanning useful as a study reading strategy for college
confused with skimming, but is in fact a distinct reading
strategy involving rapid but focused reading of text, in order
to locate specific information, e.g. looking for particular
details such as dates, names, or certain types of words. It is
processing print at a high speed while looking for answers to
specific questions. When you scan, you must begin with a
specific question which has a specific answer. Scanning for
information in this way should be both fast and accurate.
rates: 1000 wpm or more
an example of scanning for specific information: Try this scanning
of materials appropriate for scanning:
lists, dictionaries, tables, signs, classified
simple: reference works, tables of contents,
indices (indexes), web pages
continuous prose - documents, articles, books, long
scanning is a regression while reading to check a specific word
or one's understanding of a specific word. This happens so
quickly that often a reader is unaware of the unconscious action
whereas regular scanning is a conscious, focused action.
can I improve my scanning technique?
scanning to help you find
information quickly. Here
are some tips to help you improve and maintain your scanning
speed without reading the text in any depth.
the arrangement of the information:
by previewing the material if you don't already have a
"map" (a mental outline or visualization) of how
it is structured.
- Use the index/heading/bold type etc. to find the
information you require.
scanning more complex material, you'll need a thorough
prior knowledge of the material: the organization, the
content, stylistic devices, and rules of rhetoric and logic.
the case of a dictionary, for example, you know the
words are arranged alphabetically.
Using the guide words at the top of the page, you can locate the
correct page quickly and being immediately to scan the
alphabetical arrangement of words.
arrangements: resource material such as a
dictionary, the index of a book, guides and reference listings
data and tables
and year - chronologically
categories: baseball, football, tennis, etc.
according to number of copies sold
Material: articles in newspapers and magazines,
sections in encyclopedias or other reference materials
the source of reference you are using, you can be sure it is
arranged in some logical way. In order to save reading time,
it is important for you to know the arrangement of the
material in the resource you are using. Therefore,
to prepare for
scanning, you must take a few minutes to discover
the organizational pattern. This will give you a general idea
of the order of ideas and topics. Once you understand the
arrangement of thoughts in the selection, you will be better
able to predict where the information you want may be located,
and you can quickly and efficiently find what you need.
clue words in mind:
your specific question and understand it.
a mental image of the fact, word, or phrase for which you
the fact, word, or phrase does not appear, be ready to look
for synonyms or closely related ideas.
clues provided by the author.
alert and keep that clear idea in your mind (repeating it to yourself
if necessary) as you scan quickly through the text to find
the necessary information.
your eyes in a scanning pattern and don't stop to read until
you find the specific information you are looking for
goal should be 100% accuracy
- Use hand/finger movement to help you to move swiftly down
the page. This will help you to ignore whole blocks of
information which are not relevant to your question.
your eyes" or using a soft focus may help you to avoid
irrelevant material and see the information you want more
quickly. Try this interesting slide show to help you get the
self-pacing techniques to practice
Hold a book at a comfortable distance
from your eyes (generally 18 inches). Move your eyes rapidly in
an hourglass pattern from one corner of the page to the next for
approximately 10 seconds. Now all six sets of eye muscles should
be warmed up and you're ready to begin.
Turn to the first full-text page in
any book you are about to read. Practice
the way down the page, using your index finger as a pacing
device and horizontally scanning from the beginning
to the ending of each line, moving rapidly to the next line,
then the next. (Remember The
Zigzag from Activity
3.1?) Don't attempt to read the words! Just move
your eyes back and forth as fast as you can. You will only stop
to read when you have located the specific information for which
you are scanning.
try the same "Z" sweep technique with a variation.
When you are moving your index finger (and, of course, your
eyes) in the downward direction (the diagonal slant of the
"Z"), take in 2 to 3 lines instead of just 1. You
should begin your next left to right sweep 2 or 3 lines down the
page. Repeat this hand/eye movement down the page.
increase the number of lines encompassed by the diagonal slant.
With some material you may be able to scan the whole page with
one "Z" pattern.
pacing pattern is similar to the "Z" sweep except you
will move your pacing device and eyes in a
more open, curved
pattern. Instead of sweeping your hand on a diagonal slant
between the lines to always start at the left of the line, curve
it around under the next line from right to left. Then curve it
around the next line from left to right. Alternate directions,
left to right, right to left, left to right and so on.
this technique first line by line then increase the curves to
take in 2 or 3 lines at a time. In addition, practice cutting 1
to 1.5 inches off
each end of the lines. Gradually modify your hand movement,
decreasing the length of the left to right, right to left and
increasing the number of lines included in each curve. Remember The
3.1? Think of this as an expanded Sweep that moves very
your "S" curve moves more and more rapidly, it can
evolve into the straight down movement we have used before with
newspaper and other narrow columns. For purposes of scanning
especially this technique may be practiced with wider columns.
your whole hand on the printed page about 2 lines down from the
top of the print with your fingers spread slightly so that they
extend across the entire line of print. Move you hand down the
page evenly and smoothly, without stopping under any line. When
you go to the next page, you hand again starts about two lines
down from the top of the print and then moves straight down the
page. Your eyes may either move directly down the center of the
page or make 2 stops on each section of print: 1 stop in the
center of the left portion and one in the center of the right
simple material: to find particular names, facts, words,
numbers, and specific information
less simple material: to find services, data, resources,
when exact wording is not available
complex material: to visualize and follow an argument,
style, reasons, motifs, patterns, support for inference,
evidence of sound logic/ reasoning, evidence of faulty
reasoning, propaganda, and/or bias
the web: Scanning is a method often employed to
sift through the plethora of information available on the
web. Check out this site that attempts to explain the
differences between reading text and reading on the
web. Has the author accurately described your website
is scanning useful as a study reading strategy for college
a student, you will find scanning to be a valuable skill for
locating information in reference materials.
Scanning is also a
fast and efficient way to
locate or review material in your
textbooks. Scanning enables you to locate the section you need
quickly so that you may spend your time re-reading the relevant
material more carefully.
When students face a
new text they tend to read word by word. This way of reading
affects the general understanding of the passage, and the time
taken to finish the reading can be too long for the final
results. The students can end up reading every word very well,
but in the long run the idea of what they have read is lost. To
avoid this loss of time and effort a reader can use scanning to
help. This type of scanning consists on running your eyes down the
text, searching for important or key words, as well as the most
outstanding facts. Scanning can be a preliminary step in reading
because with it you can locate new terms, look them up in a
dictionary or a glossary and save time when you actually begin
to read. This type of scanning should not take more than a couple
of minutes. After that you must decide which terms are the most
important and which part of the reading deserves more attention.
Do not forget that this is only a comprehension technique
designed to help you get into the reading, in order to interpret
the author's intentions and ideas it is important to read the
whole text ,and then your analysis of it must be done with more
attention to detail.
and Scanning Scientific Material. These tips are good for moving quickly and efficiently through
any type of textbook - not just science.
4.1 - Scanning Practice
this activity you will be using exercises from your DRV
scanning practice. You will find a variety of formats from simple to complex arrangement of
information and questions designed to give you practice scanning for specific information.
Read the introductory material and complete all 4 exercises on
pages 150 - 158 in DRV. You may answer the
questions in your book if you don't mind tearing out the pages;
otherwise, answer on notebook paper. Leave your responses in
your lab folder (clearly labeled as Activity 4.1 - Scanning
sure to follow the guidelines in your book regarding time
a steady, rapid pace; use your hand movements to push yourself
(your eyes and your mind) to keep up that pace pausing to read
only when you have (or think you have) located the specific
material for which you are scanning. Don't relax; feel a sense
of urgency as you scan. Work with all the pacing techniques
introduced above and choose the one most effective for you.
Remember to work to increase your focus, concentration, and
a paragraph at the bottom of your
exercise answers reflecting on
your attempts and success so far with scanning. Which
pacing techniques work best for you? How can you use scanning to
help you be a more efficient reader?
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