Reading Skills

It’s important to understand the concept of various reading techniques like scanning and skimming. Knowing these techniques can help you vary your speed based on the text and time given. It also makes us capable of withdrawing conclusions from the information scanned/skimmed.



When we are looking for a specific piece of information, we do not read each and every detail given in the reading material; rather we quickly run through it. In other words, we scan the passage to locate the information we want. For example, we scan through-

  • the telephone directory to locate a phone number

  • a page of a dictionary to find out the meaning of a word

  • the newspaper to locate a piece of news or information, e.g. Tour packages being offered by different travel agencies

  • a chapter in a text to locate specific information


Skimming is one of the tools you can use to read more in less time. Skimming refers to looking only for the general or main ideas, and works best with non-fiction (or factual) material. With skimming, your overall understanding is reduced because you don’t read everything. You read only what is important to your purpose. 

Difference between Skimming and Scanning

Skimming is reading rapidly in order to get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts. While skimming tells you what general information is within a section, scanning helps you locate a particular fact.

How to attempt reading comprehension

You may get to appear in some tests and “reading & comprehension” is a common section to assess reading skills of candidates. In this section, you will get a paragraph to read and some questions to answer. 

These questions can be of 6 types:

  • Questions that ask about the main idea

  • Questions that ask about supporting ideas. (Hint – these all support the main idea)

  • Questions that ask you to make inferences

  • Questions that ask about the author’s tone/point of view

  • Questions that require you to make an analogy or to hypothesize what would happen under different conditions

  • Questions that ask about the logic of the passage.  This means the structure/ purpose of the argument.  What is the passage trying to accomplish?

Process you can follow for reading and comprehension:

  • First read the title

  • First sentence of each paragraph usually gives away the topic of the rest of the paragraph

  • Look for keywords

  • Read in blocks

  • Read the questions first (but not the answer options)

  • Take notes

  • You don’t necessarily need to know the details

Activity: Reading & Comprehension

When: during session

How: Read the Passage Below and Answer the Questions) 

We must do all we can to stop conflicts and civil war. Most conflicts happen in poor countries, especially those which are badly governed or where power and wealth are not distributed fairly between different tribal or religious groups. So the best way to check fighting is to make a political arrangement in which all groups have their representatives. The need is to ensure human rights and economic development of all.

The next fundamental freedom is one that is not mentioned in the UN charter. In 1945, the leaders could not imagine that such a situation would arise. That is the freedom of future generations to live on this planet. Even now many of us have not understood its importance. We are using up the limited resources for our present use. We are over using and even wasting them. We are, in fact, robbing our children of their right to live. We must preserve our forests, fisheries and wildlife. All of these are collapsing because of our own habit of consuming or destroying them.

  1. Most wars happen in which countries? 

Answer: _________________

  1. Which is the best way to check fighting?

Answer: _________________

  1. How are we robbing our children’s right to live?

Answer: _________________

  1. Which Freedom is not mentioned in the UN Charter?

Answer: _________________

  1. Name one Limited resource mentioned in the Passage?

Answer: _________________

Activity: Reading and making a decision

When: during session

How: Read the situation and do the needful under trainer’s guidance

Situation: You are planning to take a short break from work without spending much time and money. You come across the following pieces in a newspaper. Scan through them to decide which place would be the best option. 


Madikeri, the district headquarters, is the only gateway to Coorg. The misty hills, lush forest and coffee plantations will cast a spell on you. Find a resort, coffee estate or stay in a home for a truly Coorg experience.

By Air: The nearest airports are Mangalore (135 km) and Bangalore (260 km). There are flights to Mangalore from Mumbai and to Bangalore from 

Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

By Rail: The nearest railheads are Mysore, Mangalore and Hassan.

By Road: There are two routes to Coorg from Bangalore. Both are almost the same distance (around 250-260 km). The route via Mysore is the most frequented one. The other route is via Nelamangala, Kunigal and Chanrayanapatna.


Kumaon is a place which dreams are made of. Be it Ranikhet, Nainital, Bhimtal, Pithoragarh or Almora – they form the rich, picturesque mantle of Kumaon.

If you really want to relax, then visit only one place at a time. The fabulous Kausani is one of the many queenly haunts of Kumaon. October is great when the going is comfortable, the air bracing, balmy and crisp.

You have two choices to reach there. Either you can go via Ranikhet or via Almora. Either way the distance is more or less the same for Kausani, which is around 303 km. From Delhi one can go by train till Kathgodam. Convenient bus and taxi services are available from Delhi and Kathgodam. Ideally, take your own vehicle. The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Guest House provides excellent accommodation. It offers rooms between Rs. 250 to Rs. 800.

Kausani is famous for its sunrise and sunset. One is completely mesmerized by the sight. The area has a number of pilgrimage spots. Simply sitting and gazing at the distant peaks is rejuvenating for the people living in polluted Delhi.


Dhanaulti is a romantic getaway: covered with snow, few people around, an early morning mist to give you the feeling that you are walking in the clouds. Lambs gambol in meadows. The beauty of the pine forest can transform you.

The drive from Mussoorie is grand. In March, the mountainsides are mantled with alpine flowers, wild pear and apple blooms and the rhododendron sets the forests afire with its ruddy flowers. Round the year it is great for trekkers. When you reach Dhanaulti, stroll down in any direction. No vehicles and no pollution. Tracks lead through deodar and pine and you come upon stone house clinging to mountainsides.

There is a great variety of birds: the blossom-headed parakeet, the flycatcher, the whistling thrushes, Tickell’s thrush, chloropsis or the greytit. Take the loop and come down via Mussoorie, 25 km away and watch the white-cheeked bulbuls and the blue magpies.

From Delhi, you can drive to Mussoorie that is about 250 km, then to Dhanaulti; or, take the train to Dehradun, then drive three hours to Dhanaulti. GMVN Guest house offers rooms for Rs. 250 to Rs. 400. Dhanaulti Breeze rooms provide rooms from Rs. 800 upwards.

Justify your choice: (give two reasons)

i).__________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

ii).__________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

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