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Speed Reading - Getting The Main Idea
by Rene Graeber
Getting the main idea in reading is central to effective studying.
You must learn what the author's central idea is, and understand it in your own way.
Every paragraph contains a main idea. Main ideas are perfect for outlining textbooks. Make it a habit to find the main idea in each paragraph you read.
Extracting Important Details
Extracting important details mean that you locate in your reading main and most significant ideas.
There is usually one important detail associated with every main idea. The more important details you can identify, the easier it will be to review for examinations because you have made a link between an idea and information that supports it.
The more links you can make between details and ideas, as well as ideas themselves, the more powerful will be the efforts of your study.
The first things to ask yourself are: “Why you are reading the text? Are you reading with a purpose or just for pleasure? What do you want to know after reading it?”
In other words, identify your purpose.
Once you know this, you can examine the text to see whether it is going to move you towards this goal.
An easy way of doing this is to look at the introduction and the chapter headings. The introduction should let you know whom the book is targeted at, and what it seeks to achieve.
Chapter headings will give you an overall view of the structure of the subject.
After grasping ideas from chapter introductions, ask yourself whether the book meets your needs.
Ask yourself if it assumes too much or too little knowledge.
If the book weren't ideal, would it be better to find a better one?
Take 1-2 minutes to skim through the article to find the core idea. Know what is being expressed. Do you need more details? If not, find another article.
Read lightly and flexibly. Know what you need. Slow down to fulfill your purpose, answering questions that are most important to you.
Since very few words carry the meaning, speed up to pass redundant or useless information.