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Skimming is a high speed reading process and involves visually searching the sentences of a page for clues to meaning. It is conducted at a higher rate (around 700wpm plus) than normal reading for comprehension (around 200-230wpm) (sometimes known as rauding), and results in severely lower comprehension rates, especially with information-rich reading material. Skimming when used as the main reading method is considered by reading experts to be hazardous, and should instead only be used when comprehension is not an objective.

Speed reading courses which teach techniques that largely constitute skimming of written text also result in a very low comprehension rate (below 50% comprehension on standardized comprehension tests) (Carver 1992). Speed reading is more limited in comparison to skimming because it requires constant practice and results in decreased ability to extract details from a text, and it decreases the reader's ability to judge their own comprehension.


  • Carver, R. P. (1992). Reading rate: Theory, research and practical implications. Journal of Reading, 36, 84-95.
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