There are way more books than there is time to read them, but speed reading can help you get an edge.Here’s a brief introduction how to turn your brain into a speed reading machine.
First, there are three methods of speed reading:
- Skimming is the one you’re probably most familiar with. Simply look for visual clues as to what might be the most important text and read that.
- Meta guiding involves visually guiding your eye using some sort of pointer in order for the eye to move faster along the length of a passage of text.
- Basic speed reading involves putting yourself in the right relaxed environment and simply reading faster. With practice you’ll notice a marked improvement in your ability.
Moving on, we found some reading habits that Mind Tools suggests you break in order to achieve maximum speed:
- Stop reading word by word. Try to view blocks of words as a whole, the same way you would look at a picture. Practice expanding the number of words you can view at a time.
- Stop “hearing” the words as you read them. This is called sub-vocalisation, your inner voice reading to you. It slows down your reading. Unfortunately the only way to stop doing this is by force of habit. Before you sit down to read, tell yourself you will not hear the words. And if you’re reading blocks of words, you shouldn’t be able to “hear” them anyway.
- Stop reading linearly. A book isn’t a TV show you need to watch from beginning to end. As you read, scan headings and bullet points. Find the bolded items. These likely deserve most of your attention.
There are innumerable classes that you can take and software you can practice with in order to become a faster reader. There’s a lot of dodgy-looking stuff out there, but start by checking out Reading Dynamics, the program endorsed by John F. Kennedy.
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