Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Skimming Matters Most

Is skimming the most important skill needed by readers today? In the technology driven, Web 2.0 world, readers are faced with information overload. Just the number of words thrown out at readers on the Internet causes an overload for struggling readers. Web pages are jammed with facts, opinions and statistics. Links to everywhere just wait to lead the reader astray.

Just looking at the main page of the Reading Workshop blog must be daunting for someone struggling to get through the words. On top of that, you have the words in different colors and in different places. The day of just reading from top to bottom and left to right is over. Now readers must know, at a glance, what is relevant.

This week as we began reading and writing persuasive essays, the challenges of just a simple Google search overwhelmed some struggling readers. Limited vocabulary made for unsuccessful or irrelevant searches for many students. Even when provided with key words, the need to quickly skim the results and evaluate for relevancy, was quite a challenge.

Determining whether or not an article was just on topic, or if it provided information to support a persuasive essay was another challenge. Students searched for facts to support their opinions. Just this part of the writing/reading process was hard work.

In order to search successfully, students needed to follow these steps:
1. Choose appropriate search terms,
2. Skim the search results,
3. Find links that most likely fit the topic,
4. Determine if the web pages provided appropriate information,
5. Decide if sites might include facts to support their opinion,
6. Go to the websites and skim for facts and information,
7. Save appropriate information and sources,

On top of these tasks, the ever-present web filter blocked many search results, and students only had 30 minutes of class time. Even faced with all of these obstacles, many students found research results with statistics and facts to begin to build a convincing persuasive essay.

As students continue their search today, maybe the best topic to write about would be "Skimming is the Most Important Reading Skill."

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2 comments:

corbit c. said...

Skimming matters because if you do not have a lot of time to read you can skim it. Another is if you are looking for a word you can skim until you find it. Skimming is a good way to find information fast.

Colton said...

Skimming is one of the most important things you need to know how to do. Why you need to know how to skim is because if you need to find important details in a article fast you need to skim. I skim all the time to find important details. When you write a essay you will need to skim some things just to find things you might want to add in your essay. So you need to know how to skim because you use skimming for a let of things.