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Skimming and Scanning: Skills Required

In this worksheet, students practise the skills required (skimming and scanning) to help them retrieve information from texts.

'Skimming and Scanning: Skills Required' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  English

Curriculum subtopic:  Standard Comprehension

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Skimming and scanning are both skills that can help you find information from texts more quickly, but people often get confused between them.

Girls sitting on a sofa reading

 

Skimming is a way of getting the gist, or general idea, of a text quickly. Instead of reading every word, use features such as the title, subheadings or pictures to give you an idea of what a text is about.

 

Instead of reading the whole of each paragraph you can just read the first and last sentences, or try to pick out key words as you go along. This skill can take a while to master, but will be a great help to you if you can.

 

Scanning is a way of looking for specific information in a text. For example, you may be learning about King Henry VIII and want to know the date he became king. This will be shown as a number rather than a word, so instead of reading the whole text you can move your eyes quickly across the words until you come to a number.

 

As with skimming, you can make use of titles and subheadings to make sure you are looking in the correct part of the text, but then think about features of the word you are looking for. If you are looking for the name of a person, scan the text for words starting with capital letters, as these tend to stand out, or look for words beginning with the letter that you are looking for.

 

In this worksheet you can practise skimming and scanning techniques.

Match the terms with their definitions. Hover your mouse over the definitions to see them in full.

Column A

Column B

skimming
a way of reading quickly to find specific informat...
scanning
a way of reading quickly to get the gist of a text

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You have picked up a book on dinosaurs in the library and you want to decide whether to borrow it or not.

skimming

scanning

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You have got a book on football in front of you and you want to know who won the Premiership in the year 2005.

skimming

scanning

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

Your mum has asked you to find the phone number of a plumber in the local pages.

skimming

scanning

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You want to know what time your local library opens on Saturday so you are looking at their website to find out.

skimming

scanning

The following passage is about the author Anthony Horowitz.

 

Rather than read it slowly, word for word, skim it and decide what aspect of his life it covers.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

the type of books he writes

his early life

his adult life

the awards he has won

This time, scan the text to find out what year Anthony Horowitz was born and write the number in the answer box.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

Scan the text to find out who gave Anthony Horowitz a skull for his 13th birthday.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

his father

his mother

his teacher

What is the gist of this paragraph about Anthony Horowitz?

 

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Murder in Mind, Murder in the Wind and Midsomer Murders. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which is renowned globally, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering was released in 2007. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series, Horowitz Horror and the new series the Power of Five...read on, if you dare!

his later life

his career

his children

Which Anthony Horowitz film script was released in 2007?

 

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Murder in Mind, Murder in the Wind and Midsomer Murders. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which is renowned globally, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering was released in 2007. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series, Horowitz Horror and the new series the Power of Five...read on, if you dare!

Murder in Mind

Alex Rider

The Gathering

  • Question 1

Match the terms with their definitions. Hover your mouse over the definitions to see them in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

skimming
a way of reading quickly to get t...
scanning
a way of reading quickly to find ...
EDDIE SAYS
Lets do this! Remember what the introduction said. Skimming is reading quickly to get the main idea without reading every word. Scanning you use when you are trying to find specific information.
  • Question 2

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You have picked up a book on dinosaurs in the library and you want to decide whether to borrow it or not.

CORRECT ANSWER
skimming
EDDIE SAYS
You would probably skim the blurb on the back of the book and the chapter headings to see if you wanted to read it. This would give you an idea of what the book is about. Keep going well done!
  • Question 3

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You have got a book on football in front of you and you want to know who won the Premiership in the year 2005.

CORRECT ANSWER
scanning
EDDIE SAYS
Good effort. You are looking for specific information so you could scan the chapter headings to see if there is a list of Premiership winners and then scan the list of winners, looking for the date 2005.
  • Question 4

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

Your mum has asked you to find the phone number of a plumber in the local pages.

CORRECT ANSWER
scanning
EDDIE SAYS
You got this! You are looking for a specific piece of information so you would be scanning. The local pages may have an index, but if not you could flick through it quickly, looking for the word \'plumber\'.
  • Question 5

Would you use skimming or scanning in the following situation?

 

You want to know what time your local library opens on Saturday so you are looking at their website to find out.

CORRECT ANSWER
scanning
EDDIE SAYS
Again, you are looking for specific information. You would probably start by scanning the page to see if there is a heading that says \'Opening times\', and then you would scan the times for the word \'Saturday\'. You getting the hang of this?
  • Question 6

The following passage is about the author Anthony Horowitz.

 

Rather than read it slowly, word for word, skim it and decide what aspect of his life it covers.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

CORRECT ANSWER
his early life
EDDIE SAYS
Good effort! Remember when we skim read we don\'t have to read every word. Try to read the first few lines and last few. The text describes his early life and his parents.
  • Question 7

This time, scan the text to find out what year Anthony Horowitz was born and write the number in the answer box.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

CORRECT ANSWER
1956
EDDIE SAYS
Great job! You are looking for a four-digit number so you can scan the text quite quickly.
  • Question 8

Scan the text to find out who gave Anthony Horowitz a skull for his 13th birthday.

 

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says — so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. Anthony's mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That, too, shaped his view of life. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.

CORRECT ANSWER
his mother
EDDIE SAYS
Super effort! For this you could scan the text for the number 13 or the word \'skull\'. Doing this you will find the last sentence \" His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday.
  • Question 9

What is the gist of this paragraph about Anthony Horowitz?

 

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Murder in Mind, Murder in the Wind and Midsomer Murders. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which is renowned globally, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering was released in 2007. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series, Horowitz Horror and the new series the Power of Five...read on, if you dare!

CORRECT ANSWER
his career
EDDIE SAYS
Nearly there well done! You need to skim the text for this one. When you skim this text you can see that examples of work he has written are mentioned. This indicates that the piece is about his career rather than anything else.
  • Question 10

Which Anthony Horowitz film script was released in 2007?

 

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Murder in Mind, Murder in the Wind and Midsomer Murders. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which is renowned globally, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering was released in 2007. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series, Horowitz Horror and the new series the Power of Five...read on, if you dare!

CORRECT ANSWER
The Gathering
EDDIE SAYS
High five for effort! You need to scan the text for this one, looking for the date 2007. Remember you scan the text when you are looking for specific information.
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