Level 2 Integrating EdTechs in Natural Science: The Scientific Method

2.3 Developing scientific reading skills: Pre-Reading

Key Questions

  • Why should we teach reading in a Natural Science class? Isn’t reading meant for the language class?
  • Where would I start teaching scientific reading?
  • What’s the difference between skimming and scanning anyways?

Reading Skills in Science

In order for learners to formulate scientific questions from background readings, and identify problems, it is important that they develop the ability to read scientific texts and access the knowledge in this.

Developing visual literacy and the skills to read a range of scientific texts is of course critical to all aspects of the science curriculum. Technology can assist them in developing these reading skills. Let’s explore how!

What was different about the way you read the three text types? Did you have to concentrate more with some text than with others/

Reading different text types requires different reading skills. It means engaging different critical reading strategies that are made up of pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading.

Steps in the reading process


The first step of critical reading involves previewing the text and making inferences from it.

Imaging your learners are working researching the topic, Fossil Fuels and Electricity. They need to know that fossil fuels were formed in the Earth’s crust millions of years ago from dead plants and animals (CAPS).

Look at the two text types below. You don’t need to read the text, just preview Text 1 and 2. Which text do you think would be more appropriate for learners to research fossil fuels?

However, if you only preview the surface features, how would you know if you are really getting the most useful information or perhaps missing some crucial facts or key details?

Previewing a text means to see at a glance if a text is relevant to the task. To find out if the information is really useful we use a technique called scanning.


Scanning is a pre-reading process. It allows you to scan a chunk of text quickly to identify key words and facts. This allows you to distinguish whether the information is relevant or not.

What else can you do?

While learners are still in the pre-reading stage, what other strategies can teachers use to prepare learners to read for meaning in Step 2? Play the game below to find out.

Now that we know how to prepare learners with the skills for pre-reading scientific texts, let’s explore strategies to help them develop skills for Step 2: DURING reading.

Mark this unit as complete before moving on to the next unit.

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