Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3 Reading Tips for Speedreading

In my last post I talked about the my goal to triple my reading speed. Since that post, I've read a little more from my book that teaches the reading techniques that the author claims will speed my reading rate to basically a book in 2 hours. While I haven't formally measured my new current reading speed (since I've only bee using the speedreading strategies for a couple of days), I can tell that my speed has significantly increased, while my comprehension is still pretty good. One benefit of this technique, which I will discuss shortly, is that it's a lot easier to identify and skip unnecessary texts, like when the author writes 5 examples about the same thing just to prove his or her point. This makes finishing a reading assignment a lot more efficient.

Reading Tip #1

Don't sound the words out in your mind as you read. This is the foundation of speedreading. If you take the time to pronounce each word as if you were reading the book to someone, then you can only read as fast as you can speak (maybe slightly faster if you try, but not my much). Instead, and this takes lots of practice, simply look at the word and train your mind to recognize what you're looking at. After a while you can feel yourself understanding what's going on, even though there's no sounds, no words, no nothing, just reading at its best. It helps if you put on some relaxing music so you sort of can't hear your inner voice trying to read the words to you.

Reading Tip #2

Don't focus on each word as you read a paragraph. Instead of focusing your sight on a word, then on the next, then on the next, and so on and so forth, try looking at the space between two words. By focusing on the white space, train your eye and your brain to capture the image of those two words without ever looking directly at them. As you practice this reading technique, you'll be able to look at a word, but read (capture) that word, and the words to the right and to the left of that word. That means you'll be reading 3 words at a time. Then as you practice more, look at the blank space between, not 2, but 4 words! Train your mind to read 2 words to the left and 2 words to the right of that white space.

Reading Tip #3

Don't move your eyes back where it's already been. This is what's being the toughest for me to master. As you focus on certain spots on the page so you can read as many words at a time as you can, be sure to go slow enough that you capture and digest all the words (at least all the important words) that you read. This way you don't waste time moving your eyes back to the left and reading something over again. From what I've read, you should practice the eye fixation part first, being strict with yourself and never moving your eyes back and reading something a second or third time. For the first few days your reading comprehension will be quite low, but your eyes will be getting a good training from the reading technique. With time, as the book promises, the understanding will catch up.

Next time I write I will post some more reading tips and techniques, as well as some bench marking of my current reading speed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Triple your reading speed (speedreading)

Today I decided to check out a program that claims to help the reader to speed his or her reading speed. I downloaded a book by Wade E. Cutler titled Triple Your Reading Speed: Enhance your reading skills with the Acceleread methodTriple your reading speed. As I began reading it, the author instructed me to stop reading and take account of my current reading speed. I timed myself and found out I currently read 120 words per minute. My current recall and understanding is pretty decent, although I'm not sure how to measure and put a number on that. Overall, I'm pretty excited about this book. The book claims that after finishing the program, one is able to increase reading speed to 1000 words per minute, or 3 times faster, whichever is greater. The book also claims that the average reader of the book increases reading speed 7% to 12%. We'll see how this goes. I'd like very much to be able to read at least 300 words per minute with about the same recall.

Since I only got to this first exercise, I don't know what the other reading strategies are that the author Wade Cutler uses in the book. I'm sure there are various ways to improve your reading skills, and I'm sure there are other people out there that would like to know some reading tips, so as I read more of this book, I will be sure to post what I learn about speedreading.