Implementing various speed reading tips and techniques can free up so much of your time. Given the time that reading consumes in our daily lives, it may be a skill that we can, and should improve, in order to get more done throughout the day.
Speed Reading is a skill that can be learned since it involves mainly of breaking old habits that you may have developed from the time you started learning how to read. I am sure you have heard of the phrase "knowledge is power", and of course, reading increases our knowledge. So wouldn't it be great if you could read 10 books in the same time it takes the average person to read 4 or 5 books? Absolutely!!!
Before I go any further I would like to share a few important facts:
As mentioned above, one of the speed reading tips is to overcome some of the most common bad reading habits that you might have acquired in time. There are 3 main old reading habits you need to change if you are going to improve your overall reading efficiency. These habits are as follows:
(1) FIXATION - This is the action that your eyes do while reading words on a page. Before images can register in your mind, your eyes need to stop moving so they can focus on something specific, enabling them to send the image to the mind. This action happens at a very fast rate which is not noticeable, but it happens.
If your eyes jump from one word to another, which is how the average person reads, then the fixation position is one word. But what happens when your vocabulary increases and you practice speed reading - your fixation increases to not one word, but a block of words, enabling you to read much faster.
So one of the speed reading tips is to practice reading "chunks" of words, not one word at a time. At first you may think you will not understand what you are reading, which is logical, but rest assured, your subconscious is taking it all in, and your comprehension will increase with practice and time.
(2) REGRESSION - This is when you are reading something and then you go back to read it again. The average person goes back to read something again 33% of the time, which means every 3 hours of reading, you spend 1 hour reading over the same material. A point to make here is that, if you were reading out loud in public, would you ever go back to re-read a sentence because you thought you didn't understand what you read? I hope you answered "No"!!!
One way to tackle regression is to work on your "focus" abilities. Regression occurs because we lose our focus by either outside distractions, tiredness, or sometimes just pure boredom. If you feel that you are losing your focus, just stop reading for a few minutes and take a break.
You also need to avoid "pointless regressions" which means that when you sometimes go back and read something again, you don't really need to. Usually you might read a sentence again because you did not understand it, but what if you carried on reading? Chances are that the second and third sentence will make the first sentence make some sense after all.
Therefore another one of the speed reading tips is to try and avoid any outside distractions and to carry on reading, even though you might not understand a particular sentence.
3) AUDITORY REASSURANCE – Also known as sub-vocalization. This is when you are reading words silently in your head. It is the process of reassuring yourself that you understand what you have just read, by saying it.
When we first started to learn how to read, we would read out loud in the classroom for the teacher to listen and correct us. Auditory reassurance is the same;the only difference being is that we are reading to ourselves.
You will find that when you read something out loud, you will probably read as many words in a minute as you would when you read to yourself (your “talking” speed), and this is what you need to change. The average reading speed and the average talking speed is approximately the same speed, which justifies what I have just mentioned a while ago.
To increase your overall efficiency in reading you need to increase the speed at which you read, your comprehension (how much you understand of what you have just read), and your retention (how much you can remember of what you have just read). In the beginning as your speed increases your comprehension and retention levels will decline.
One of the best speed reading tips I have personally found to be of use is to use my finger or a pen to go across the words when I read. The logic behind this technique is that as you move your finger or pen across the lines of a page (from left to right for material in English), then your eyes will follow. So the faster you move your finger, the faster your eyes will follow (read). This is because by nature, the human eye is attracted to motion.
It’s Time To Test Your Skills . . .
From the beginning of this article, until this current point (HERE), is exactly 1000 words. (please don’t waste your time counting the words, just trust me on this one J)
You have probably taken about 5 minutes to read up to this point which is o.k., but let’s start making things interesting. I want you to use an online count down timer – Click here to use one (TIMER), set it for 4 minutes and then start reading this article up until the point I suggested (1000 word point), using your finger or a pen to go across the lines. Remember to focus your eyes on the tip of your finger/pen as you scroll across the words.
Ready set go . . . . . . .
Did you finish 1000 words in time (4 minutes)? If you did then that’s great – you have just exercised your eyes for speed reading and you have already increased your reading speed to 250 words per minute. Actually you have just achieved a bit more, because reading online is usually slower than reading something on paper. This is due to many reasons, but the most obvious is the light reflection of your computer screen distracting and exhausting your eyes.
If you didn’t get to finish the article don’t worry, I’m a very lenient teacher, however . . .
now read the 1000 words again, but this time set the timer to 3 minutes.
Ready set go . . . . . . .
So how much of the article did you read? Do this several times, teaching your eyes to focus on the tip of your finger/pen while you move across words faster and faster each time. Soon speed reading will just become normal.
When you practice speed reading, you will find that the speed in which you read becomes natural, so therefore you can now concentrate on your comprehension. When you practice and focus on your comprehension while speed reading, it is only a matter of time that your comprehension level will increase and that is when you move on to focus on your retention level.
Think of this procedure as if you were a basketball team coach. For a certain period of time you will have your team concentrate on their defense. Once it has improved, you will then train your team to master their offensive skills. Then dribbling, 3 point shots, fatigue and so on. You will take each skill, improve it and then move on.
Then finally you will bring all your teams improved skills and combine them to have an improved result. The same thing happens with reading – increase the speed at which you read, then your comprehension level, and then your retention level.
A few more Speed Reading Tips:
In just over 2 weeks my reading speed has gone from 250-300 wpm, to 450-550. That's almost double in just 2 weeks. I want you to outperform me!!!
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