The Advantages and Rewards of
One of the main means for us to acquire knowledge is by reading. Since most of us are visual learners, reading is one of the most effective ways of feeding the mind with information to promote intelligent thinking, imagination, innovation and to expand our creative and intellectual edge as a whole.
An amazing fact about the human brain is that it can take in unlimited amounts of data. When you pair this with the natural appetite for knowledge that most of us have, you’ve got an awesome combination.
Since you are into Personal Growth and Self Improvement, it’s easy to assume you are fond of reading, and would love to read (and learn) more in less time. After all, with all the breakthroughs and incredible content available to us nowadays, we would need another lifetime just to learn and absorb all that we want to read!
Do you agree? If so, speed reading may be a powerful skill to acquire. In fact, this is a MUST for people that are required to read a lot in school or at work. Fortunately, the idea of attaining this skill has been widespread. I believe that this skill should be incorporated as part of the usual curriculum in schools. After all, we are living in the Information Age, and the amount of available data in all kinds of subject matters is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
On the contrary, as information is being made mmore available, people from all walks of life take it upon themselves to pursue and attain a speed reading ability. Since you’ve landed on this page, most likely you are part of this group of people who recognize the importance and the advantages of acquiring this skill.
The good news is that a variety of programs exist today that allow you to learn to read extra fast without decreasing comprehension and while enhancing the retention of the information read. Some of these trainings can be quite pricey but fortunately, you do not actually have to spend hundreds of dollars to attain this talent.
Learning the basics is relatively easy- there’s almost no need for expert guidance. As with the learning of any new skill, all it takes is a good guide, the desire to learn and the commitment to practice it by yourself. As with anything else. repetition is key. It strengthens and solidifies the learning, so the more you practice it the better you get at it.
Here are a few steps on the basics of speed reading.
- Get your vision checked
First, let’s talk about the obvious. Poor vision can be a hindrance. It strains your eyes as you read, making them become easily fatigued. So, if you believe your vision is not at 20/20, visit your ophthalmologist or optometrist and get your eyes checked. You may need prescription glasses. This will also help you with increased focus and concentration when you are reading.
- Consider the place in which you read
Choose the right setting in which to read. If indoors, make sure the temperature is not too cold or too hot and that the area is well ventilated with fresh air. This will keep you from getting drowsy. Sit in a comfortable chair suited for reading. Your spine should be well aligned too. This alone will help make your reading more enjoyable. Also, make sure you always read in a well-lit area to prevent eye tiredness and damaging your vision; preferably with the shaft of light coming from your back (over your shoulder) and into the book.
- Free yourself from distractions
If studying, it may be a good idea to get rid of any music in the background, unless it is a classical piece by Mozart which can help with comprehension. A busy room may also be distracting. Also, if you read outdoors, avoid places that are too noisy, such as kids playing nearby or close to a busy street or park. It’s very important to minimize distractionsto enhance comprehension and retention.
- Be aware of your reading time
Use your watch or a clock to keep track of your reading pace. Make sure you take note of the time you start reading and the time you finish. This way you will be able to first, see how fast you read; and it’ll help you track your progress as you learn speed reading as well.
- Get rid of fillers in the items that your read
This is one of the first things people do when trying to improve their speed reading. Try to focus your attention on the words that play a major role in every sentence. You may also want to skip words and focus on the complete thought. This ability -known as skimming– involves searching the words within the sentences for clues to meaning. This comes naturally for some, but most people require learning how to ‘skim’ though the pages.
- Speed over comprehension
When you start at speed reading, concentrate on hastening your pace leaving comprehension for later. Try to read one page as fast as you can and then take a pause to assess what you understood. As you go about your day, try to remember what you read and evaluate your retention of information as well. With constant practice both, your comprehension and retention will sharpen by themselves.
- Avoid re-reading
Re-reading will make you waste more time making your reading actually slower. The key is to use a guide, such as your finger or a pointer when reading a sentence. The usage of guides is called meta guiding. This will facilitate your reading and will lessen the chances of having to re-read words or sentences.
- Do not read out loud
Sub-vocalization as it is called, can slow you down because you end up reading word per word. Aside from that, your own voice could also act as a distraction and affect your focus.
As the cliché goes, “Practice Makes Perfect.” You’ll need desire to learn this skill and persistence to acquire it. By applying yourself to the task of learning you’ll eventually master speed reading. Above it all, do not stress over it. It can affect your learning curve and get you frustrated. Do it gradually, keep it fun. Before you know it you’ll get a hang of speed reading.
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