How to Preview Materials


Take 30 seconds to preview for shorter articles or reports, and take up to 3 minutes for longer ones. Read the titles, headers, bold print, and first and last paragraphs of the main sections.

When previewing a book, examine it for 3 to 5minutes .

Look at the front and back covers. Read the comments from the front and back flaps, foreword, author's preface, table of contents, and index. Skim the first and last pages.

Glean a context by your survey. Notice the copyright date and any other details that appear relevant. Determine the gist of the book or the main point of an article.

Pull out trigger words from the materials

Let your eyes skim the pages. When previewing a book, examine a page every 20 pages or so. Notice key words that catch your attention . Notice high powered words or phrases that seem important. Pull out 20 to 25 words in total. If you like, write them down.


Take a few minutes to review the information you found during your survey of the materials. As you think about your list of trigger words, be curious about the meaning of the words. Ask your mind about the relevance and relationship these words have to the material you will be reading.


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