Scanning is a technique where you search for key words, ideas or phrases. Often you know what you are looking for - finding a particular answer. Scanning involves moving your eyes back and forth across and down the page specifically seeking out specific words or phrases! Scanning is also used when you first find a resource to determine whether it will answer your questions. Once you've scanned the document, you might go back and skim it or read it for understanding if time permits.
When scanning you might also look for how the author has organised the writing. You might look for numbers, letters, steps, or the words, first, second, or next. You can also look for words that are bolded, in italics, or in a different font size, style, or colour.
Example: Scanning is what you do when you pick up a newspaper - you tend not to read the newspaper word for word but rather scan the headings. You might also scan when you look up a word in the dictionary! Click on this link to find out more about scanning.