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Speed Reading Basics
by Jonathan Mayheart
Speed reading is vital in today’s business and academic world, with the vast information that the internet offers, and the huge amounts of reading tasks an average manager or student faces, there is really no choice but to try and increase the intake of information.
In the last forty years there has a been an explosion of information, we are living the information revolution and that requires a lot of young professionals a great deal of effort in digesting this information and making good use of it.
Most of the people who attend speed reading courses and classes have some kind of problem, or believe they have some kind of problem, with their reading, here are a few of these potential problems.
Lack of concentration or partial/impaired concentration is an obvious problem for speed reading, the effects of the environment on ones reading rhythm and the general tendency of some people to be able of acceptable reading rate only in ideal situations. This problem is one of the basic speed reading problems and is usually dealt with in most courses.
Poor eye movement may cause some readers to shift their eyes to other directions and than go back to the book or paper to relocated the last point read. This problem also correlates with poor mechanical skills, which can be a real problem in speed reading.
Short attention span is a clear problem, almost everyone knows this problem, you start strong and begin to slow down as you read on. This kind of problem typically creates a situation of going back to re-read some lines over and over again, or a need to read the same sentence a couple of times for lack of understanding or loosing the line of thought altogether.
Reading by heart, when a person reads to himself (muttering the words or even reading out load) is an obvious problem since speed reading is much faster than talking, the reading out load inhibited the ability to read fast and also regulates a slow input of information into the cognitive.
Delayed reaction to information and material – This delay often comes from inattention, reading ahead or distraction. Desire to remember every word – This is loosely related to the tendency to re-read or slow down.
So what can you do to increase your reading skills? Do you really need to try speed reading you should you consider just eliminating some of these problems. The answer is most likely dependent of what you need, no matter what you problem is, you need to address the problem.
To try and read faster, here are a few tips that would get you going. Think of reading as a ‘pick and choose’ activity, where you can choose to read the words and phrases that are critical to comprehension, and skip over the connective tissue.
One major key in speed reading is filtering out all the words that has nothing to do with the subject and naturally, there a lot of them. All the connecting words, basically words that are there to connect one word with the other to make a sentence (TO make A sentence) the “and” “it’s” and “and’s” have got to go, just make yourself blind to them, go over these words and do not dwell on reading or noticing them.
Practicing time reading is also good, set up a timer and see how much you read in one minute, and in five minutes. Try and honestly estimate how much did you get from the text (make sure this is something you read for the first time), and try to beat yourself at this over and over again, until you start to feel that you have moved up one level. Experiment with different texts, and try to find books with text that has some questions about what you just read so you can apprise your understanding. Evaluate your situation every time you do this, reading faster sometimes mean that you will make more mistakes on understanding the subject, you should start making “mental notes” while reading so you will not fail answering the questions.
Train yourself to read more quickly by forced timing. If you are a runner, training for a race, you go out and run every day and you try to improve your time or your distance.
Set a timer and run a reading race every day for two to four weeks. You do not have to spend more than five minutes on this exercise. You may become frustrated, at first, by the fact that you cannot read as fast or remember as much as you would like.
Practice makes perfect, and this is the most basic thing you can do to increase your reading speed, in two weeks you should see some improvement, and you should work on the weaker aspects of your reading skills. This is the start of speed reading, and once you master the basics you will be on your way to becoming a speed reader.