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There are different styles of reading for different situations. Web
pages, novels, textbooks, manuals, magazines, newspapers, and mail
are just a few of the things that people read every day. The technique
you choose will depend on the purpose for reading. For example, you
might be reading for enjoyment, information, or to complete a task. If
you are exploring or reviewing, you might skim a document. If you're
searching for information, you might scan for a particular word. You
need to adjust your reading speed and technique depending on your
Many people consider skimming and scanning search techniques
rather than reading strategies. However when reading large volumes of
information, they may be more practical than reading. For example,
you might be searching for specific information, looking for clues, or
reviewing information. Effective and efficient readers learn to use many
styles of reading for different purposes, thus applying skimming,
scanning, and Reading for Detail Techniques will depend of the need
of the reader and the kind of document to process.

Scientific reading selections can be approached in different ways
depending of the time available that for the university students have to
read it, which is usually very short. Also, it depends of the wide of the
scientific reading selections they have to consult for research and
investigation purposes which is usually a lot of information available in
books, magazines and E-publications. Thus, university students should
experiment with the application of the skimming, the scanning and the
Reading for Detail Techniques to a variety of scientific reading
selections following each technique step- by- step. Developing these
three reading skills will help ESL students to manage their time
effectively and to have enough knowledge and experience to
discriminate which one to use depending of the need, content and
intention of the reader.


1. Skimming Technique Theory
Skimming is taking the most important information from the page
without reading all the words. (The term comes from the act of
skimming milk, when the dairy farmer skims the cream the richest
material from the top of the milk before its processed.) Strictly
speaking, skimming isnt a reading technique but rather a scavenging
technique. You hunt for the choicest information and hope important
material doesnt pass you by.
Skimming as a Speed Reading Technique
By Richard Sutz and Peter Weverka from Speed Reading For
Speed reading is a good way to absorb a lot of printed information
quickly, but sometimes you just need to get the gist of what is being
written about, without all the details. That's when knowing how to skim
text can be helpful. When you skim a page, you take the main ideas
from the reading material without reading all the words. You look for
and seize upon words that appear to give the main meaning. Readers
skim when time is short or when they need to understand the general
ideas but not the particulars of an article or book. Skimming occurs at
three to four times the normal reading speed. For that reason, your
reading comprehension takes a nose dive when you skim.
When you speed read, you skim to the extent that you dont fixate on
all the words. In effect, you weed out some words and focus on the
remaining ones. However, skimming takes the notion of passing by
some words to another level. In the act of skimming, you focus only on
the essential ideas and skip over the insignificant, marginal, and
secondary. Studies show that people read and comprehend text on a
computer screen more slowly than they read and comprehend printed
material. Readers cant skim as efficiently on their computer screens
either. When you read or skim a Web page on your computer, do so
more slowly than usual if you want to read and skim efficiently.
The first step in recognizing the essential ideas when you skim is to
know when to skim. Some materials and situations practically require

Needlessly lengthy white papers and convoluted business
reports are almost impossible not to skim.
Newspapers, with their ready-made word clumps, are designed
for skimming.
If youre on a time crunch, you often have to skim because you
dont have enough time to read the material.
Often, a works opening paragraphs and the concluding paragraphs
present the authors main ideas. Opening paragraphs often outline
what the author plans to prove, and closing paragraphs explain why
the authors proof is justified. Read these paragraphs closely; dont
skim them. (
Therefore, Skimming is used to quickly identify the main ideas of a
text. When you read the newspaper, you're probably not reading it
word-by-word, instead you're scanning the text. Skimming is done at a
speed three to four times faster than normal reading. People often skim
when they have lots of material to read in a limited amount of time. Use
skimming when you want to see if an article may be of interest in your

Since skimming is a fast reading to get the general idea or gist of the
text, there are many strategies that can be used when skimming. Some
people read the first and last paragraphs using headings, summarizes
and other organizers as they move down the page or screen. You
might read the title, subtitles, subheading, and illustrations. Consider
reading the first sentence of each paragraph. This technique is useful
when you're seeking specific information rather than reading for
comprehension. Skimming works well to find dates, names, and
places. It might be used to review graphs, tables, and charts.
Skimming Technique purpose:
v concentrates your attention on the essentials of a paragraph or series
of paragraphs
Skimming Technique steps:

1) read first sentence of paragraph
2) read last sentence of paragraph
3) read key words in between but dont stop in words you dont
Skimming Technique patterns:
for formal style typical of most text books (with long involved
sentences and long paragraphs: read using 3 steps outlined above)
for informal style (shorter sentences and paragraphs) read using first
two steps only.

Skimming Technique advantages:
after surveying article, you may feel it doesn't merit reading, but
is too important to discard
use to review material (previously studied) just before a test
will help you get through material faster

1. Scanning Technique Theory
Scanning is a technique you often use when looking up a word in the
telephone book or dictionary. You search for key words or ideas. In
most cases, you know what you're looking for, so you're concentrating
on finding a particular answer. Scanning involves moving your eyes
quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Scanning
is also used when you first find a resource to determine whether it will
answer your questions. Once you've scanned the document, you might
go back and skim it.
When scanning, look for the author's use of organizers such as
numbers, letters, steps, or the words, first, second, or next. Look for
words that are bold faced, italics, or in a different font size, style, or
color. Sometimes the author will put key ideas in the margin.

Reading off a computer screen has become a growing concern.
Research shows that people have more difficulty reading off a
computer screen than off paper. Although they can read and
comprehend at the same rate as paper, scanning on the computer is
much slower than on paper.

Scanning is a good technique to apply when the readers intention is to
get only a specific need. The specific needs could be established by a
list of questions or topics. Thus, the reader must approach the duty by
reading and understanding the list of questions or topics first. Then, he
should do a rapidly running of his eyes over the text, flitting around it,
back and forth, up and down, in order to locate specific details which
are the key words or ideas associated with the questions such as
words, phrases, names or numbers. In summary, the reader will
perform less reading and develop more searching activities.
Scanning Technique purpose:
v to help you find one specific bit of information within a relatively large
body of information
Scanning Technique steps:
1. i. visualize
thing to be spotted get clear mental picture of the words
2) use all available clues--capital letters, hyphens, italics, synonyms,
key words
3) use paragraph topical clues, such as words in boldface or italics
4) use systematic scanning patterns
5) run eyes rapidly down middle of column using a zig-zag motion
6) use wider side-by-side movement for solid pages of print
Scanning Technique patterns:
uncovers relevant information

accelerates reading speed and flexibility (can scan ten times your
present reading rate)
Scanning Technique advantages:
you know material has information you want, but can't remember
specifically what it is or where it is in the chapter
you are looking for something unknown you won't know exactly
until you find it (i.e., processing large amounts of information as
part of your job)

1. Reading for Detail Technique Theory
Reading for Detail Technique is the one applied when the intention of
the reader is to obtain a complete understanding of the topic contained
in the reading selection. This technique requires a careful and close
reading of all the reading selection in study in order to understand
deeply the content as well as the intentions of the writer. So, when we
read for details we have to read every word in the text and think
carefully about the overall meaning of each sentence.
This reading technique becomes a challenge when the text required to
be read is not in the native language of the reader. Therefore, it is
very important to add to the Reading for Detail Technique Theory
already presented information of certain Translation Techniques to
apply when the reader has interest in the information in a reading
selection in any other non- native- language.
Thus, for English as a Second Language Students at university level it
is very relevant to know that Translation is the process to transfer
written or spoken source language (SL) texts to equivalent written or
spoken target language (TL) texts. The basic purpose of translation is
to reproduce various types of texts, comprising literary, religious,
scientific, philosophical texts etc. in another language and thus making
them available to wider readers, to a greater number of target
audiences and to bring the world closer; however, translation is not an
easy job.

If language is just a classification for a set of general or universal
concepts, it will be of course very easy to translate from a source
language to a target language. But translation covers not only word for
word translation but also many other factors. The concepts of one
language may differ radically from those of another. This is because
each language articulates or organizes the word differently. The bigger
the gap between the Source Language (SL) and the Target Language
(TL), the more difficult the process of transfer will be. The difference
between the two languages and the difference in cultures makes the
process of translating a real challenge. The problematic factors include
translation like form, style, meaning, proverbs, idioms, etc.
Focusing the issue that Spanish is the native language of the students
in the Scientific English course, it is very relevant to make very clear
the importance to handle the Translation process, because it implies
an entire process of how a translator produces equivalences between
a text and portions of a text into another language. The translation
process in general can be described as:
Decoding the meaning of the source text (in English)
Re-encoding or translating this meaning in the target language
Spanish readers that need to apply the Reading for Detail
Technique to Scientific Readings in English language must see
themselves as translators which need in-depth knowledge in decoding
and then re-encoding the meaning in the target language. In many
cases for scientific readings, the translator's knowledge of the target
language (Spanish) is more important than his knowledge of the
Source Language (English) because now days, readers have
technological tools such as e-translators that will be very helpful to
speed up the translation process. Some of the best E-translators
available in the web are for free and only requires a little training to be
used. I can suggest selecting translator to translate
paragraphs and translator to consult specific scientific
words that could be confusing.

The following is the process that should be followed by Spanish
readers to approach English Scientific reading selections in the
century to ensure a well written, accurate translation:
1. Select The scientific reading selections from any scientific
magazine or book in English Language that will be translated
should be typed in an average computer using Microsoft Office
Word 2007 or any other compatible version
2. There are more up-to-date scientific reading selections that could
be found in the web and it is easier to download and save them
in a file of a computer.
3. Create a new document in Microsoft Office Word 2007 that has
inserted a two columns board.
4. Insert the scientific reading selection in English language in the
left side of the two columns board document.
5. Using internet, find translator and copy-paste each
of the paragraph of the scientific reading selection in English
language and click the option of automatic translation to Spanish
6. Copy-past teach of the paragraph translated to Spanish in the
right side of the two columns board document.
7. After the automatic translation of the whole document in Spanish
is done, copied and pasted in the right side of the two column
document, it is important to read it and to fix the mistakes from
the e-translator by replacing specific scientific words or rewriting
phrases or complete sentences to make it sound native and
Note: E-translators approaches the translation process applying the
word by word translation process and the mistakes occurs because of
the structural differences in grammar, syntax, idioms and semantics
between the source language text (English) and the target language
text (Spanish).