Sail through the barrage of information out there by using some key reading and skimming skills.

Read different materials at different speeds: Skim or speed-read less important items, and save critical or difficult works for when you are most alert and have time.

Pick out the main ideas of a book by reading its cover flaps and scanning the table of contents. Use the index to quickly locate key words.

Survey the layout of your reading material. Look at the title and the boldface section headings, and piece together the logical flow of the paper. This framework will guide you in reading the piece more carefully.

If you need to skim, try reading the first sentence of each paragraph (which usually is the topic sentence) to get a general idea of its content.

Practice reading more quickly by moving your index finger down a row of text at a speed slightly faster than your normal reading speed.

Highlight or underline sparingly so the truly useful information doesn't get lost.

Jot down quick notes, questions or thoughts that will make it easier to refer to the material later. Taking notes also makes for active reading and better retention of important points.