Reading: Key and Detailed Points
Reading: Key and Detailed Points Revision
Key Points and Details
This page will explain how to do two things:
- To identify the key points of a text
- To understand the details
Make sure you are happy with the following topics before continuing.
In some cases, you may not necessarily need to read the entirety of a text to pick out the main points that are relevant to you.
To identify the main points, start by thinking in your head exactly what you are aiming to discover from the text before reading it.
Then, when it comes to reading the text, quickly skim through the key words to get the gist of the text.
- It may be useful to underline or highlight these key words, to piece the details together
- Sometimes, you could take a key word in the question and find it in the text!
If a text has a lot of detail, remember:
- Each paragraph usually has its own main point
- The most important detail tends to be in the opening paragraph
- Anything after would be additional details
When there is a text that is topic-specific, it may include specialist words that are related to that area.
Topics usually determine the use of specialist words.
Some topics may use the same specialist word, but different meanings.
For example, ‘sampling‘ could either mean:
The process of testing at the hospital
A large selection of people chosen for research
It is tricky to understand specialist words when you may not have any knowledge of the subject, however reading the rest of the details or looking them up in a dictionary will give the full picture.
Try and practice listening out for specialist words in daily life to become familiar at spotting them – this will save you flicking through a dictionary every time!
You may also find it useful to spot some punctuation within a text to find relevant information.
The main form of punctuation you may find the most useful to spot in texts are quotation marks.
- Contain information that someone may have said
- Often make a text more realistic
- Perhaps give more evidence to a sentence
I recently wrote a report for the local gift shop based on reviews by the community.
One said “this gift shop is amazing, it represents our beautiful city“.
The quotation marks contain information someone else has said, made it more realistic and provided evidence.
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Reading in More Detail
Some texts may require you to read in more detail.
After all, you wouldn’t sign a contract without reading it in full!
Like you would with reading for gist, think about what information you would like to receive from a text. In other words, have a clear purpose.
Two tips for making the most of understanding a text in detail:
- Read slowly
= This will allow your brain to comprehend the amount of detail in order to process it fully.
- Read an important section of a text twice
= This will ensure more complicated texts won’t cause confusion.
Example: Scanning for Key Points
Your task is to create part of a leaflet for the local zoo in order to provide information about the restaurants.
See if you can pick out the key points from the following text based on the information on the website:
There are a range of animals in our zoo, so choose your favourite! Some include: monkeys, gorillas, pandas and sloths. However, we cater for many more: snakes, penguins and even birds!
The food we provide is tailored to you! There are many available types of food at numerous stalls and restaurants located around the zoo. We have dishes from lasagne and pizza, all the way to steak and chips!
Follow our map handed to you on arrival. This will take you around the park in order of events so you don’t get lost! If you’re feeling peckish, take a break at our refreshment stalls. If you’re feeling hungrier, come and get a meal at one of our restaurants. The Turtle Tavern is located just to the left of the turtles and the Cobra Café just after the snakes.
Buy your tickets online or turn up to our tills and buy when you get here! Adult tickets are £25, child tickets are £10 and over 60s get 20% off.
Did you spot the heading for food and the map? Both of these headings should provide information about the restaurants. For example, what they serve or where they are located.
After spotting the headings, then you can read in more detail.
Example: Entry Level 3
Below is a newspaper article. Skim the text and pick out the key words in order to answer the question.
This text is about:
a) Current politics
b) How to eat fast food
c) A chef job vacancy
d) Healthy alternatives to fast food
Did you spot:
d) Healthy alternatives to fast food?
Looking at the text initially, you could infer from the big headline that the article would be about fast food but healthier alternatives.
Skimming the text, you can see the phrase ‘healthier alternatives’ which is also mentioned in the correct answer. This is useful to remember when looking for those key words.