What is preview and why is it important?

Preview is a quick type of reading that helps you get a general sense of what a passage, article, or book is about and how it is organized. You scan quickly over the page to find answers to questions you need.

It is an important fluency skill - it helps you gain flexibility, speed, and comprehension in your reading. Invest a minute or two of your time in previewing before you start reading. The following points may help you understand how it can benefit you:

1. The aim of previewing is to get an idea of what you will find in a text before you read it. When you preview, you make a rapid assessment of what the text will contain, how it will be organized, and what challenges it may present.

2. In previewing, your eyes focus only on certain parts of the text and skip over most of it. In fact, it is possible to understand a lot about a text without actually reading it all.

3. Previewing activates background knowledge and allows you to make connections with mental schemas (frameworks) into which you can plug ideas and information as you read.

4. Previewing gives you a better understanding of the task ahead of you, so when you read you can direct your attention more effectively to the more important parts of the text.

In previewing an article or essay, you look at most of the first paragraph, the first sentence of each paragraph, and the concluding sentences. You should ask yourself questions like the ones below

* What is it about? What is the title? What do I already know about this?

* What kind of text is this? Is it a description? An explanation? An argument? A narrative (history)?

* Is the text divided into parts? How is it organized?

* Are there any maps, numbers, italicized words, or names in the text?

To check how well you have understood this part, please complete this exercise
Previewing 1
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In previewing a textbook passage, the following tips become helpful

* Read the main heading

* Check to see if the passage is divided into parts

* Read the first few sentences

* Read the first sentence of each paragraph after that

* Read the final sentences of the passage

Complete the exercise
Previewing 2
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