The RSSG Method

Learn the skill of finding the main and most important points in a written material (book, article, paper, blog post, etc.). Be able to cut through large amounts of words to find the most pertinent info and produce a helpful and concise condensation of it.

RSSG = Read, Skim, Scan, and Glean

1. Read the material all the way through once.

2. Go back and Skim the material quickly.

When skimming you do not read every word. You merely want a quick review and overview of the material. Read the topic sentence of the chapter and then place your finger in the middle of the paragraph (starting at the top of the page). Drag your finger down, keeping it in the middle, and take quick note of what is on either side of the finger.

3. As you skim, Scan to find the most important words, themes, and points.

Scanning is looking for specific important information using cues the author has chosen to emphasize. Take special note of the chapter and section titles, any subtitles used, topic sentences, and things written in bold, italics, or underlining. Pay attention to last sentences in paragraphs and phrases like 'in conclusion,' and 'to summarize.'

4. Glean the most important points.

Gleaning is writing down the information you have found, in free flowing notes. Use bullet points or an outline format or any other method that will help you collect your notes.


After you have used the RSSG, organize your notes. Write a succinct synopsis of the material as if giving the information to someone who has not read it.

a. The theme was...
b. The key points were...
c. The bottom line or conclusion was...

Note: there are usually an abundance of words used in writings that give many details and talk profusely about the subject of the material. These are good to read for a well rounded and more thorough understanding of the subject. But many words can also hinder gaining a concise grasp of the subject. The RSSG Method can be helpful to overcome this problem.

Note: the RSSG Method is excellent to use when studying for a test.

1 comment:

  1. What a great method! It's been years since you first shared it with me. This was a great reminder! Thanks so much!


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