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Gist is the general meaning or purpose of a text, either written or spoken. Reading a text for gist is known as skimming.
Before answering detailed comprehension questions on a short story, learners read it quickly for gist, and then match the text to a picture that summarises what happens in the story.
In the classroom
Readers employ a variety of reading skills including prediction, reading for gist, scanning and intensive reading. Learners need to be shown these and taught how to use them in order to find their own effective strategies.