A method to quickly grasp the main idea of an article or text by reading some sentences in each paragraph. Really saves time if you do it correctly.

Skimming, while possible to do correctly, more often than not is not. As an article in the Washington Post explains, skimming is the prime symptom of aliteracy, an increasingly commonplace malady in the United States. This problem is serious - people who do not fully grasp what they read are likely to base decisions on opinions they once had, and will likely always have. According to Mark Twain, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."

While illiteracy is relatively easy to detect, aliteracy is much harder to identify. The distinction that may allow students to resist aliteracy is between efferent and aesthetic reading. Efferent, meaning for the purpose of absorbing information, and aesthetic, meaning purely for the pleasure of reading. Teachers need to emphasize aesthetic reading more.

Skim (skim), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Skimmed (skimd); p. pr. & vb. n. Skimming.] [Cf. Sw. skymma to darken. √158. See Scum.]

1.

To clear (a liquid) from scum or substance floating or lying thereon, by means of a utensil that passes just beneath the surface; as, to skim milk; to skim broth.

2.

To take off by skimming; as, to skim cream.

3.

To pass near the surface of; to brush the surface of; to glide swiftly along the surface of.

Homer describes Mercury as flinging himself from the top of Olympus, and skimming the surface of the ocean.
Hazlitt.

4.

Fig.: To read or examine superficially and rapidly, in order to cull the principal facts or thoughts; as, to skim a book or a newspaper.

 

© Webster 1913


Skim, v. i.

1.

To pass lightly; to glide along in an even, smooth course; to glide along near the surface.

Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Pope.

2.

To hasten along with superficial attention.

They skim over a science in a very superficial survey.
I. Watts.

3.

To put on the finishing coat of plaster.

 

© Webster 1913


Skim, a.

Contraction of Skimming and Skimmed.

Skim coat, the final or finishing coat of plaster. --
Skim colter, a colter for paring off the surface of land. --
Skim milk, skimmed milk; milk from which the cream has been taken.

 

© Webster 1913


Skim, n.

Scum; refuse. Bryskett.

 

© Webster 1913

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