Knowledge workers, students, and general readers accomplish more and enjoy the experience
Selective reading within a text is easy and efficient. You get a good overview of each section (valuable in itself), and you can skip the less interesting sections.
QuikScan summaries provide “detail on demand.” Because of the numerical pointers, when you encounter an interesting idea within a summary, you can quickly switch to the author’s full discussion of that idea. In some implementations, the numerical pointers are also hyperlinks.
When you read the summaries and the full text, retention improves dramatically. Even though the summaries make the QuikScan text 15-20% longer than the original text, reading time is no greater because of improved information processing (van der Meij & van der Meij, 2011).
Many readers can’t or won’t tackle complex, highly challenging texts. But QuikScan greatly eases comprehension. Browse the QuikScan Library for the world’s most accessible editions of some great literary works.
Drawbacks to QuikScan
QuikScanning requires extra work. You need to write the summaries and do some special formatting. However, as technology advances, autosummarization will take over some of the work. QuikScan also increases page count.
Educators, corporate managers, and others may not want to help their readers read selectively. Consider, however, the uncertain benefits of hit-and-miss skimming and unmotivated reading. Educators, moreover, can create ActiveReading QuikScan texts in which the summaries are incomplete and include questions.
Can a QuikScanner write biased summaries that reflect some personal agenda? Yes, but so can any editor. Plus, with QuikScan, the reader easily recognizes biased (or incompetently written) summaries because the author's text is found just below each summary.
Certain highly condensed texts don't QuikScan well. It's not always productive to summarize a text that is itself a summary. Also, QuikScan may not work for elaborately formatted pages, such as magazines with multiple and irregular columns.