Reading plays a huge role in determining your success in college. In fact, studies show that reading ability and comprehension are the number one and two factors that predict college success or failure.
Speed reading has always been shrouded somewhat in mystery. Many people think they cannot learn how to speed read, and that some people can do it while others cannot. The fact of the matter is, anyone can easily increase their reading speed and comprehension by a couple hundred percent by learning how to speed read. It’s even possible to speed read at such a rate that one can comprehend entire pages in seconds.
The speed at which most people read is really a matter of habit. To learn how to speed read you have to create new habits by practicing a few simple techniques. Below we take a look at a few easy techniques that will teach you how to speed read.
1. Focus Attention – most people engage in reading in a similar fashion as they watch television. They may be reading every word, but their minds are focused on something else. Have you ever read an entire paragraph or page and not even known what you just read? Reading takes focus and attention. You have to engage your mind completely no matter how fast or slow you read. This is the first skill you need; the ability to cut outside influences and bring your attention solely to your speed reading.
2. Stop talking to Yourself – talking to yourself while reading slows you down. People talk to themselves in a couple of different ways. The first way in which people talk to themselves is through out loud vocalization. They actually verbally speak each word as they are reading. The second way people speak to themselves is referred to as sub-vocalization. This occurs when you talk to yourself in your head. These two activities slow you down because you limit your reading speed to how fast you can talk. For most people that is around 225 words per minute. The eye and brain can move a lot faster than the muscles associated with speaking, so by removing vocalization from your reading, you can read more quickly. The second skill you can attempt to use is to eradicate vocalization. Practice reading without speaking the words in your head.
3. Read in Groups – Poor readers fixate on every single word as they read. The human mind is capable of focusing on groups of words while maintaining comprehension. Studies show that comprehension actually increases when you focus on groups of words rather than single words. Focus on reading in groups of three or four words at a time. Your mind will be able to comprehend the sentence while seriously increasing your speed. To practice this skills, identify a group of words and focus your attention squarely in the middle of those words. Your peripheral vision will pick up the others. Then do it with the next chunk. This skill is really the basis of all speed reading and will have the greatest influence.
Speed Reading Techniques – the human eye is drawn to motion. Expensive speed reading classes teach simple techniques to create movement on the page. The following techniques use manual ques to help you to implement the steps above. By taking some of the weight off your brain and onto your hands while reading, your ability to speed read is improved, and you can become better, more quickly.
* The Hand – the easiest method is to use your hand and move it straight down the page at a steady pace. This will increase speed naturally. Keep the same pace without stopping through the entire page.
* The Card – this technique requires you to use a card or a piece of folded paper. Hold it above the print you are about to read and draw it steadily down the page. Your goal is to read the line before you cover it up. It will increase speed and break you of the habit of re-reading phrases. Use a pace that forces you to read quickly. This has the added benefit of shutting out words you’re not supposed to read yet, ensuring maximum comprehension.
* The Eye Sweep – this method uses a left to right motion going across the page with your head. It helps you keep your eyes moving at a steady but quick pace. This is more difficult to do while you’re working on the steps toward speed reading, but after some practice, this will enable you to “flow” through the page with minimal effort and maximum speed. Congratulations, you’re now a speed reader!
Have you had any experience with speed reading, BrainMassers? Let us know by leaving a comment!