When you read a scientific article, you do not want to read it straight through in order - at least not on the first time through. There are different ways to go through an article.
Here is how I usually approach scientific articles to get a basic understanding of what the article is about:
Dr. Jennifer Raff, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Kansas, wrote a blog post about how non-scientists should read and understand scientific articles that was then featured in several online news sources. Below is a link to her guide.