Survey or Preview the Text

Try to begin your encounter with the text by surveying or previewing it, which is to say, coming at it with a wide-angle lens, looking it over in its entirety, and activating your schema (your storehouse of accumulated knowledge and experience). Think of this encounter as similar to the strategy you take when downhill skiing at a new location, when shopping at a new mall, or when visiting a city for the first time. You want to get the lay of the land, know what you're getting into before you take a lift at the ski resort, before buying shoes at the mall, or before trying to traverse the city. You could waste precious time taking a lift to slopes you've no interest in; you could spend too much money by not doing comparison shopping; and you could get lost in traffic if you don't know where you're going. A little time up front can save you a lot of time over the long haul, so learn to get the broad view of a text before you try to read, analyze, and respond to it, and know that taking a look at your text this way is one of the most valuable skills you can learn as a writer, as a reader, and as a life-long learner.

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