Magic Speed Reading. Widen your eye span.

Some facts about eyes

Corner (peripheral) vision can be trained. From our earliest moments in life we develop our ability to use sight to match up information with our movement system and other senses to organize, confirm, and develop experience. Vision also becomes a primary influence in higher functions such as attention and concentration.

The visual span or attention window is the area that the brain has selected to analyze with full detail during a fixation. For the average reader the visual span corresponds to one word; while for a good reader it is about five words at a time. The eyes have the capacity to perceive with sufficient detail text in an area of roughly 30 characters wide by 10 lines high. However as reading is not only seeing, this large span can not be exploited.

People with extended 'visual corner' read faster. The program shows only a portion of information so you can not read it at once. You can see the numbers out of the 'corners of your eyes'.

While practicing this training try to analyze your sensations. What happens to your eyes? How do you recognize the numbers? Does the change sharpen the objects? Are the objects in the center of your vision diminished?

Some facts about the human eye.

People have common vision features:

1. Corner of view:

  • Area of the best vision 1.5 degrees.
  • Zone of the clear vision 15 degrees.
  • Maximum zone of the vision 35 degrees.

2. Type of eyes movements

  • Slow motion (a drift movements).
  • Quick 'horse racing' of the eyes. 90% of your reading time your eyes are only glancing. 10% of your reading time your eyes are making 'horse racing' jumps.

When man studies a subject, his eyes jumps with a frequency of 2-5 jumps per second. When reading the eyes make 3-4 jumps per second. A slower reader's eyes make the same amount of motions as a faster reader's. The difference between them is concluded in the volume information accumulated at one eyes fixation. The perception of text occurs during an eye's fixation only. Long stops are caused by an unfamiliar word or a misprint. You need to widen your corner of view (peripheral vision) in order to increase your speed-reading skills. Another tip for speed-reading is in high recognition of the text. Try to understand the main idea of the text in only one or two words from the paragraph. The more you read then the larger the database of words, terms and word stamps you have. The more databases you have the faster you will speed-read. To use an analogy the same applies when you have become fluent in a foreign language.


Focal (fovea) vision and ambient (peripheral) vision

Components of Vision
There are two components of the visual system, focal (fovea) vision and ambient (peripheral) vision. Focal vision is primarily responsible for object recognition, and ambient vision is primarily responsible for spatial orientation.

Focal Vision. Focal vision is limited to the central two degrees of vision (i.e., the fovea) and is primarily a conscious function. Focal vision allows one to see clearly in order to recognize objects and read displays. However, since it requires conscious thought, it is a relatively slow process. Focal vision is not primarily involved with orienting oneself in the environment, but can be used to acquire visual information about orientation.

Ambient Vision. Ambient vision is often referred to as peripheral vision. It is a subconscious function independent of focal vision whose primary role is to orient an individual in the environment.

For example, one can fully occupy focal vision by reading (a conscious action), while simultaneously obtaining sufficient orientation cues with peripheral vision to walk (a subconscious function). The same can happen when flying an aircraft and performing a task such as interpreting radar contact information on a HUD. Focal vision is used to consciously decipher task-oriented information while peripheral information is subconsciously used to maintain spatial orientation.

The first step in speed reading

Have your eyes checked. Before embarking on a speed reading program, make sure that any correctable eye defects you may have are taken care of by checking with your eye doctor. Often, very slow reading is related to uncorrected eye defects. Eliminate the habit of pronouncing words as you read.


Some of the facts which reduce reading rate

Some of the facts which reduce reading rate:

  • limited perceptual span i.e., word-by-word reading;
  • faulty eye movements, including inaccuracy in placement of the page, in return sweep, in rhythm and regularity of movement, etc.;
  • slow perceptual reaction time, i.e., slowness of recognition and response to the material;
  • vocalization, including the need to vocalize in order to achieve comprehension;
  • regression, both habitual and as associated with habits of concentration;
  • faulty habits of attention and concentration, beginning with simple inattention during the reading act and faulty processes of retention;
  • lack of practice in reading, due simply to the fact that the person has read very little and has limited reading interests so that very little reading is practiced in the daily or weekly schedule;
  • fear of losing comprehension, causing the person to suppress his rate deliberately in the firm belief that comprehension is improved if he spends more time on the individual words;
  • habitual slow reading, in which the person cannot read faster because he has always read slowly,
  • poor evaluation of which aspects are important and which are unimportant; and
  • the effort to remember everything rather than to remember selectively.


Distinctions specific to the reading process

First, several definitions and distinctions specific to the reading process:

Synopsis: You must minimize the number and duration of fixations per line to increase speed. You do not read in a straight line, but rather in a sequence of saccadic movements (jumps). Each of these saccades ends with a fixation, or a temporary snapshot of the text within you focus area (approx. the size of a quarter at 8" from reading surface). Each fixation will last � to � seconds in the untrained subject. To demonstrate this, close one eye, place a fingertip on top of that eyelid, and then slowly scan a straight horizontal line with your other eye-you will feel distinct and separate movements and periods of fixation.

Synopsis: You must eliminate regression and back-skipping to increase speed
The untrained subject engages in regression (conscious rereading) and back-skipping (subconscious rereading via misplacement of fixation) for up to 30% of total reading time.

Synopsis: You must use conditioning drills to increase horizontal peripheral reading and number of words registered per fixation.
Untrained subjects use central focus but not horizontal peripheral vision span during reading, foregoing up to 50% of their words per fixation (the number of words that can be perceived and "read" in each fixation).

Related subvocalization articles

Speed Reading Software