It is always a good idea to skim or scan something you are about to read especially if it is from a textbook. Textbooks are written with a structure that can help you find the main ideas, examples, facts, etc. quickly. Textbooks bold headings and important words. The main ideas of the paragraph can be found in the topic sentence of each paragraph. In addition, there are visual elements such as maps, graphs, definitions, pictures, etc. that will help you understand the material better.
Previewing a text is also very helpful in test taking when you have to read a passage and then answer questions about it. Once you preview the questions, scan the passage, and then read it in its entirety. You will read it better for content if you do this easy reading technique. You will be surprised of the details you will remember, and by identifying the structure of the text, you will become a better reader.
It is very important to preview an entire chapter or article before reading it. By doing this, you will have an idea of what the main topics are of the chapter or article. Book chapters are usually divided into sections. Sometimes articles are also divided into sections. Each section is further divided into topics. Vocabulary words may be highlighted. By looking at these topics and sections, you will have an idea of what you will be reading before you begin to read the chapter or article. This will help you to develop questions about what you are going to be reading. It also may help you create an outline or web to help you identify the main ideas of the reading before you start the assignment. By doing this pre-reading activity, you will be better prepared for reading the entire chapter or article.