Chapter 1




Reading Techniques

Reading Techniques

Most of us were taught to read by first examining letters, then words, and finally sentences. Now we realize that reading for understanding is quite different from simply examining the text.

Reading is not the process of visually looking at each word until all the words have been looked at. Rather, reading is a process of assimilating the text into some understanding that is relevant to your own experience.

This chapter will present skimming, scanning, and the SOAR reading techniques


Skimming is a reading process where the text is looked at superficially, usually to ascertain the chief ideas of plot. The titles of chapters and headers are read and then the text is either skipped or briefly examined depending on the relevance of that particular part of the text. Some people use hand-eye technique when skimming to increase their reading rate. They force their eyes forward by rapidly moving hand or finger. Other people simply keep turning pages faster than the text can be read.


Scanning is different than skimming in that the text is being quickly examined in order to find a particular word, phrase, subject, or section. For instance, searching a chapter for answers to a study guide questionnaire. Usually, certain keywords or phrases are being looked for and, when found, a more in-depth reading of the text occurs.

 Practical Academic Study Skills Page 9

Reading Techniques


SOAR is an acronym for Survey, Organize, Anticipate, Recite, and Review. It is a structured reading approach that is very effective. Try to use this technique for all your reading assignments.





Survey the entire book paying particular attention to the table of contents. Get a feel for the level of difficulty and break the reading into chunks which are within your time and reading ability.

Organize what you are reading through note taking, highlighting (if allowed), and outlining.

Anticipate the test questions. If you have a study guide with the assignment, the review the guide as you enter each new section for what questions should be answered. Remember the questions in your thoughts as you read. If there is no study guide, prepare questions by using headers, the table of contents, or main ideas. Think about what your teacher might ask about the material and search for the answers as you read.

Recite, by saying aloud or in your thoughts, the questions and answers that were found in the reading. Reciting is much stronger than rereading if you have transformed the ideas into your own words and thoughts.

Review is reciting again. Research has shown that most people lost 40% of what they have learned within 24 hours. By reviewing, the knowledge is regained and eventually mastered




Page 10 Practical Academic Study Skills

Here are some strategies from Dartmouth.