Why should you speed read?
There are schools of thought that argue that we should read easily and comfortably.
Increasing the speed may result in a loss of details that make it easier to form judgments later.
Having said that, speed reading saves time and increases knowledge.
You may finish several books in a week if you can speed read and that is time-saving.
So, let us focus on balance. Read fast enough to understand what is necessary.
There has to be a fine balance between pace and understanding. Increasing the speed may result in loss of information. The information received should be enough to justify having understood the text.
These are 4 basic principles and 8 methods in speed reading which will help you to overcome bad reading habits.
4 Basic Principles Of Speed Reading
Principle #1 – Increase The Speed Of Receiving Information
Rapid information inflow is an asset. When you speed read, you will be able to receive the theme and understanding of the focus of the text faster.
The general importance and argument of the text will become apparent faster. And you will reach this understanding before anyone else starts flipping the page.
Principle #2 – Focus On Main Points
There are main topic points in every text. You may see this when you speed read as you will first notice how quickly you assimilate these points.
Your understanding of these points means that you will move from one branch of understanding to the next faster. You will be able to know exactly what the text is imparting within half the time.
Principle #3 – Avoiding Smaller Details
Smaller details will be sacrificed as you take in the main ideas only. Why? Well, there is no other way.
As you focus on only the keywords, you will have to leave out the smaller points that may not seem as important.
Principle #4 – Rapid Understanding Of The ‘Big Picture’
The ‘big picture’ or overall understanding of the entire text becomes clear much faster. You will know what the author is driving at.
What is the main point of the entire text? What is the summary of the text?
This becomes more apparent leading to greater satisfaction as you keep using this tool.
8 Methods For Speed Reading
A) Scan Through
The main point about speed reading is scanning. There are several authors who extol the virtues of speed reading but the way to scan is not really dealt with.
Ok. It is really simple. When you ‘scan’, you are supposed to read it as if someone is poking you on your shoulder asking you to hurry up.
Or when you barely have time to take it all in before the train comes in. What do you do? Do you read it halfway? Of course not.
You will learn to skip along to the parts where you know that is the main information chunk.
These will be the nouns, adjectives, and verbs. And statistics such as day, date, time, venue. In short, the 5 Ws and 1 H.
B) Focus On Key Portions Of Sentence
This is a follow-up to the scanning of information. Focussing on the key portions means that you generally read the beginning and end part if it is a text.
If it is a notice or announcement, you will need to look at it differently – the 4 Ws and 1 How.
Texts are different as the information is spread out between Main Topic Points and you really need to understand them all.
Therefore, when reading a comprehension text, focus on the beginning part and end part mainly.
C) Do Not Read Aloud
Never do this. This is a bad reading habit.
Some people vocalise inwardly whilst reading. This is also a really bad habit.
Why? It slows you down and you start listening to the sound of your ‘voice.’ And this can be very distracting.
D) Avoid Multitasking
Don’t do other work when you are speed reading. This is really not an easy way to read.
You are forcing your brain to take in everything within a far shorter space of time so why do other activities?
Even listening to music can slow you down as it is running in the background.
Avoid background actions which may include chatting to someone on social media or even having a tv in the background.
When you speed read, you have to be in a quiet place and only focus on your reading.
E) Use A Pencil As You Read Instead Of Highlighting
Highlighting means you may read it again to look at it. If you simply use a pencil or pointer, you are taking in the information as you go along.
Everything should register as you read. All the Who and What and some of the how will be there, in your mind.
F) Train Your Eye To Look Only At (B)
This is about eye training. Speed reading involves looking only at the portions that matter.
You will need to look at the beginning and end parts and look out for the main ‘what’ part. This may be the noun, the place, or the action.
G) Do This In Short Breaks To Avoid Tiredness
Speed reading can be tiring especially if you are doing it for the first time. Take short breaks to ease off the tension. This will help you to take in more information.
Speed reading can be a great asset when you have a big load to clear each day. Reading the newspapers can take a relatively short time and you will know exactly what is going on in the world.
There will be greater satisfaction at getting your work done, meeting your schedules, and reaching your target. Information will be at your fingertips as you make more time for other actions.
Good luck with your speed reading!