speed reading > articles
Consciously force yourself to read faster
The fact is that what most people need to improve is reading efficiency - that is,
reading with a purpose, practicing skimming, looking for main ideas so that you can read
them more carefully, and taking notes. If physical reading speed remains a concern, the
best and most effective way to increase it is simple:
consciously force yourself to
Our brain uses schema for decoding text. Each of us has a lifetime of experiences
stored in our memory map. Stored experiences that writers expect us to possess and use
Probably the best way to demonstrate schema's important role in making text meaningful is
by giving you a paragraph to read that is completely lacking any schematic clues. Although
the words in this passage taken from my Advanced Learning and Study Skills Program are
simple and familiar, you will find them almost impossible to read.
Let's use an example to learn how you use schema to interpret text. Imagine I wrote a
story and told you, "The woman wore a red dress." I would expect you to know
what I meant by the word woman. As a reader, you don't expect me to explain to you that a
woman is a female. You already know this information. You are using your schema or life
database to read this text.
You’ll be conscious of using it and that may
very well distract you a little from comprehending what you’re reading. But keep
practicing and the technique will become automatic, no longer requiring your conscious
attention, allowing you to put your full attention on the content of the written material.
At that point, you will have gained an increase in reading skill to enjoy for the rest of
Speed reading is voluntary self-improvement. When you taught yourself to ride a bicycle
or play a sport - that was voluntary self-improvement. When you succeeded and did it well,
it felt good. Self-improvement is self-development; it feels good and it is good.
The only way you are going to read faster and understand your reading better is to
learn to first tap into this incredible brain power you are gifted with and then second,
to build a sharper focus. Once you focus better, your comprehension improves, your recall
and memory improves and your appreciation and enjoyment of the reading process are more
likely to improve. And the reality is you were probably never taught to focus in school,
at work or in college.
If you think about reading faster, you will make an effort to pick up the pace. Reading
speed is something you must work on and concentrate on until it becomes a habit.
Tips: Review Speed reading strategy
- Think about what you knew before.
- Write down what you have learned. Extra Tips
- Pacing: As you read, follow the text with a pencil, finger, chopstick -
you get the idea! This will help you to focus, eliminate distractions, keep
your place and encourage your eyes to take in bigger chunks of text.
- Use a dictionary if necessary.
- If you are looking for opinions skim for key words - but, how, however,
yet - so you can jump to where the argument is going.
- If you are looking for information skim for key words - who, what, when,
where, how, why - so you can gather it quickly.
- Read with your eyes not with your ears - don't speak the words in your head
- learn to skim.
- Write key words in the margin or use a highlighter - or if it's not your
book - post-it notes.