How to practice skimming using the HandsFreed customizable bookmarklet


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The other day in class, I used an online teleprompter to have students skim a text as part of a pre-reading task. I blogged about this technique before, but it does require copying and pasting the text into the teleprompter to make it work. I came across a customizable bookmarklet that allows you to auto-scroll a page much like a teleprompter. It can be used on any webpage without doing any copying and pasting. Here is how it works:


  1. Go to HandsFread.
  2. The ms box dictates how fast the page will scroll. The smaller the number, the faster it will scroll. Type in a number and hit enter. You will see the example text at the bottom begin to scroll either faster or slower depending on the number you have chosen.
  3. The px box will also change the speed of the text, but it also effects how smooth the page will scroll. I wouldn’t recommend changing this unless the ms number is at its fastest and you still need to speed up the scrolling. Leave it at 1 px for now.
  4. A little further down the page, there is a link that says ‘HandsFread’. Click-and-drag that link to you bookmark bar. This is your newly customized bookmarklet. You can also copy and share it with other computers if you have a computer lab at school.
  5. Go to a website that you want to read and click on your new bookmarklet and the page will start to scroll automatically.

You can use this with a IWB or projector in class for students to read text. You will probably have to enlarge the text before starting it so all the students can see it. You can also tell students to go to the same webpage in the lab and then have them all start at the same time. When you see it reach the bottom, you can stop them and give them a series of questions or review any new vocabulary from the text. This works really well with graded stories such as you would find on Lit2Go.

Here is a video on how to use it:

Please feel free to add your comments or send me a tweet at @nathanghall. Thank you!


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