Speed Reading

Increase Reading Speed Without Losing Comprehension

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Content
INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................................... 3 WHY IS IT SO HARD TO READ QUICKLY? ............................................................................................... 6 YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS ......................................................................................................... 15 WHEN CHILDREN LEARN TO READ ....................................................................................................... 18 METHODS AND TECHNIQUES FOR ADULTS ........................................................................................ 20 METHODS FOR CHILDREN ...................................................................................................................... 36 FAST AND EASY TIPS! ............................................................................................................................. 41 WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT ........................................................................................................................ 43 PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT .................................................................................................................. 45 SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................................. 53

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Introduction
I don’t have to tell you that this is the age of information! And, with all of that available information, most of us are buried beneath ‘information overload’. There are magazines, books, online articles and much more to consume and, if you must read to pursue an education or to keep up with trends are work; you are in a real bind! There is hardly enough time in the day to finish important tasks, much less to stay abreast of what is happening in the world, and in business. You may be interested to learn the results of a recent study on information management and reading skills. The findings in this study indicate that, if you want to remain current, and stay aware of the latest information in news, medicine and business, you have to read a million words per week. The problem lies not just in the mountain of information you have to consume each week, but also in the fact that if you are an average reader, you only read about 200 words per minute. Under these circumstances, keeping up with the information glut is nearly hopeless! Even if you read just for pleasure, you may find it hard to complete all the books and magazine articles you WANT to read. If you are like me, you buy books in the bookstore with a real intent to read every one of them. Then you stack them next to your bed or desk, until the pile grows so high that the books slide off into another pile. All the while, you are still reading that first book you bought two years ago. You’d like to read faster, but when you try, you find that you don’t enjoy it as much. Or perhaps you have found a way to read faster but, in the process, you lose a lot of information. Your comprehension goes down and within ten minutes after you finish a chapter, you can’t remember what you’ve read. Pagina 3

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Or worse, you have to re-read sentences, paragraphs and pages because you just don’t recall what you’ve read! Does this sound like you? If so, you are not alone! Your parents and grandparents may have found it difficult to read quickly and to retain what they read, but you face a growing problem today if you are a slow reader. The fact is, that we have a lot more information to process today than our parents and grandparents EVER did. Newspapers are bigger, there are more business, educational and recreational magazines and more business periodicals. Consider the fact that one new book is published for every minute, of every hour, of every day. There are thousands of business journals and periodicals published every year. The average executive is paid over thirty thousand dollars to read and digest this information, so that they can use it during the course of a business day to make decisions and advise employees. Today, more than half of the reading material assigned to a college student is not read, because the volume of reading is too great for the average student to keep pace. And, because new information is available every day, the average college graduate will find most of what they have learned is obsolete within a decade. Furthermore, many high school students will not even make it to college because their reading and comprehensive skills lag behind what is required to pass SATs and to accommodate the reading assignments of the average college course. But even if you limit your reading to what is critical or mandatory, you will be challenged to cover all the material in the time you have available. For the casual reader, or the reader that reads simply for pleasure, the problem may not be so pressing, but as I mentioned before, it can still be frustrating to have so much at your fingertips and be unable to get through the books and magazines you like to read in a timely fashion. Books of every sort line the shelves of your office and pubic library – from self-help and management books to financial investment, historical and fictional reading. And you have to make choices. Pagina 4

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Did you know that over the course of a full year, the average person reads LESS THAN one book? And it is estimated that over 90% of the books purchased are never read beyond the first chapter. For those who DO finish a book, the path is tortuous. It takes days or weeks to finish a book and, after the task is completed, the reader will typically only retain ten to fifteen percent of what she has read. I have friends who subscribe to weekly and monthly publications and stack them on their kitchen counter until, in frustration, they send them out to recycling. By the time they get to read the one at the bottom of the pile, the news is no longer relevant! And, I haven’t even touched on the complications of the internet and how difficult most people find it to read and retain information from a computer screen! Now that you know that many others share your problem, let me give you a little background. I think it is important for you to understand how you read now, and how you might be able to change your approach to reading, so that you can get the most out of your time. By the time you finish learning and practicing these techniques, you will find that you can fly through those books, magazines, newspapers and periodicals that are piling up in your home, classroom or office.

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Why Is It SO Hard to Read Quickly?
If you have seen the movie the ‘Rain Man’, you may have some idea of the reading speed and skills of the man on whom this movie was based. Kim Peek is the only known person who can read two side-by-side pages at one time, one with each eye. He retains nearly 100% of what he has read. Though there is no definitive answer as to why Kim can perform amazing task, but doctors suspect that it may be because the right and left hemispheres of his brain are not connected. Even this explanation does not seem to explain his amazing ability, since others born without hemisphere connection are not able to do the same thing. Perhaps equally amazing is Kim’s ability to recall most of the over 7,500 books he has read in the past. While you may never rival Kim’s ability, you can significantly increase your reading speed and comprehension without disconnecting the nerves between your right and leftbrain hemispheres! In fact, there are plenty of reports about people with extraordinary reading skills. Economist, John Stuart Mill, could not turn a page as he could read a page. For every day that Theodore Roosevelt held presidential office, he read at least two books! And the author, H. L. Mencken could read 250 pages in one hour. These are stories of celebrated people – the only ones we tend to hear about. But there are many more examples of role model readers! So, if Kim Peek and others were born with this ability, why do the rest of us find it so difficult to read quickly and to retain what we have read and learned? If you think you are incapable of learning to read more quickly and efficiently, you are probably mistaken. Unless you have sustained significant brain damage, or you were born with or developed a disorder that impairs your language or reading skills, you CAN learn to read at a faster pace, and improve your comprehension. The problem is not organic! If you don’t believe me, consider what your brain can accomplish when you are driving a car. Pagina 6

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Think about all the factors and tasks your brain must process in order for you to navigate the roads, drive safely, and pay attention to what is going on inside and outside your car. Here are just a few:  Operate controls like windshield wipers, right and left directional, headlights, CD players, and doors and windows  Read road signs and navigate across lanes and exits to find your way to where you are going  Avoid other cars and pedestrians  Obey traffic signals, stop signs, speed limit signs and other visual cues  Talk to other passengers in the car, and maybe even discipline children  Talk on a cell phone – hands free, of course!  Read directions from a piece of paper or a map  Keep track of your speed to be sure you aren’t going over the speed limit  Read gauges to be sure you don’t run out of gas and that your car isn’t low on oil  Honk your horn when someone cuts you off! You do this every day when you drive to work, or school or to the store. And your brain is capable of managing multiple tasks so that you don’t have to stop the car to turn on your turn signal or windshield wipers. You can even gauge the road conditions and slow down if the road gets slippery – and all without flinching! But, what happens when you lose your focus – and we’ve all done it! Think about the time you nearly hit the car in front of you when you took your focus off the road to change a radio station or to turn and discipline your child in the back seat. Driving, like reading, requires focus. That is why there are so many more accidents among people using cell phones while they drive. There are parts of your brain that manage different activities, and language and reading skills require a different kind of focus. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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That’s why you can so easily get into an accident when you are talking on the phone and focusing on what you are hearing or saying. So, you must try to avoid distraction and focus on the task when you are reading. In that way, your brain can ‘experience’ the information you read, rather than just ‘reading the words on the page’. Because reading requires information processing and retention, your other senses will lend a hand. You will hear words and imagine the winter scene with the snow falling softly. So, if you are paying attention and FOCUSED on the task, you are bound to improve your reading skills. There are a number of things that affect reading speed and retention. Many of them relate to focus and concentration.

Consider these issues:  Distraction and impaired concentration – Either you are trying to read in a noisy or chaotic environment, or you find it difficult to concentrate long enough to read and retain the information on the page  Poor mechanical skills, and incomplete eye movement – As silly as it sounds, you may be positioning the book or the piece you are trying to read, in the wrong way. If so, it is harder for your eye to perceive the words and for your brain to process the words and to make the connections it needs to make to retain the information. It is possible that you may also be scanning the sentences without moving your eyes completely across the page. In other words, your eyes remain in the center of the line and you never see the left and right margins.  Tendency to re-read or to slow down – You may go back over material two or three times or consciously slow your reading because you did not pay attention the first time. Or perhaps you are afraid you will lose information if you go too quickly.  Word-by-Word reading and perception – Perhaps you look at each word separately and, until you recognize the word consciously, you do not move on to look at the next word. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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 Internal verbalization of all words – You may ‘read’ every word to yourself silently, verbalizing the words in your head so you can ‘virtually’ hear the sound.  Delayed reaction to information and material – This delay often comes from inattention, reading ahead or distraction. By the time you react to the information and move on to the next paragraph, your brain has been on hold while it ‘multitasks’ and does other things. Delayed reaction can also come from the sheer fact that you are out of practice. If you don’t read enough, your brain has to readjust to seeing and processing the written word and it takes awhile to get back into the habit.  Desire to remember every word – This is loosely related to the tendency to reread or slow down. In this case, rather than being afraid you will forget what you’ve read in context, it is a habit that which requires us to consciously read and REMEMER every word. It is as if the reading experience is one of memorization, rather than one in which the reader understands the context and information at a perceptual, emotional and analytical level. These are just some of the reasons you may find it difficult to read and retain information. You may have noticed that many of the reasons for slow reading are due to poor attention, concentration and technique. If you can break these bad habits and focus on the task at hand, you will improve, not only the speed at which you read, but the retention as well! You may also have noticed that many of the reasons for slow reading and poor comprehension, as listed above, relate to how you ‘see’ and perceive the words. Reading is a visual activity. If you are not preoccupied with remembering every word, or seeing and spending time on every word, your brain is better able to take in groups of words and process them for meaning. Consider the primary reasons for poor reading, and you’ll realize that a dynamic, and focused approach to reading is the most successful. Perhaps the most famous expert on ‘speed reading’ is a woman named Evelyn Woods. Ms. Woods created packaged programs to improve reading speed and comprehension. She often talked about ‘dynamic comprehension’ and said that reading, for her, was often like watching a movie. The techniques she used to improve her reading speed and comprehension resulted in her seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling the sights, sounds and environment described in the book she was reading. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest? Pagina 9

Because she was able to free her mind from the drudgery of reading word-by-word, and the limited perception that comes with the more traditional reading methods taught in school, she was free to ‘experience’ the books she read. When someone discovers the joy of reading at a more natural pace, with full comprehension, they often say that they can finally read ‘as fast as they can think’. I want to close this section with a reading test, to give you some idea of how fast you read and whether your skills are average or above average. Before you start this test, you’ll need a timer or other device, and you will have to decide whether you want to read this test from a computer screen or print a hard copy. Studies show that, when a reader is looking at a computer screen, as opposed to a book, magazine or other hard copy text, their reading speed can decrease by as much as 25%. If you want to get a better idea of your general reading speed and comprehension, you may wish to print a copy of the next section that is located in the next page, and use the printed material to take the test. When you are ready to take the test, set your timer for one minute and proceed. Don’t cheat! When one minute is up, STOP reading, and mark your place on the page. Are you ready? Here we go…

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I used to think that reading was a necessary evil! But I have since learned otherwise. When I first learned to read, I had to read aloud so the teacher would know I understood the words and could pronounce them correctly. Unfortunately, I still say the words in in my head, although I have been reading for years now. I think this slows me down. If you think that reading is easy, perhaps you don’t have problems concentrating like I do. Whenever I sit down to read a book or a newspaper, I get distracted by the television, or by surrounding conversations. Finally, I give up and stop. I rarely finish a book, or even a magazine article. It is very frustrating. When I was forced to read a lot in college, I did get it done, but I always forgot most of what I read. That was even worse than not being able to finish at all. I often think there is something wrong with me, but my friends say that they have the same problem. So I suppose I am just average. I would like to learn to read faster, and above all, be able to retain more information. But, I’m not sure how to go about it. When I see a book in the store, and it looks interesting, I always buy it and put it on the shelf next to my bed. I even have a book light for reading at night so that I won’t disturb anyone while I am reading. But, I never use the light, because I rarely open the cover of the book. If I do, I may read a chapter or two and then I get frustrated and stop. I consider myself of above average intelligence and I know that I am interested in the books I buy. So, why can’t I seem to get through a book without letting it gather dust on my bookshelf? Last year I managed to read a murder mystery called “Where the Larks Sing Free”, and I was really proud of myself for finishing it. I even joined a book club to talk about this book, because I really liked it. But, the sad truth is that I could barely remember much of what had happened in the book and when the my friend Russell told me about his favorite part of the book, I didn’t remember that part at all. It was as if I hadn’t read the book, but I had! All in all, I had just about decided to give up. But, there is a book I really want to read and I am determined to find a way to improve my reading skills and my ability to remember what I read. The book is 1870 pages long, and I can’t even finish a 500 page book, so I don’t have a lot of hope of finishing this one unless I can improve my skills. Let me tell you what the book is about. It is about a girl who is adopted and she sets out to find her biological parents. She has a hard time of it, but eventually she finds her mother. But, her mother won’t give her the identity of her father. That’s all I know because the friend that loaned me this book, wouldn’t tell me whether she finds her father or not. My favorite kinds of books are murder mysteries, but I like anything that has a little suspense in the story, and this book seems really interesting to me. It is called “Where Can She Be?”, and my friend Jeannie says it is really good. She said she couldn’t put it down and she stayed up past midnight to finish the story. What do you think I can do to improve my reading skills, so that I can read this book?

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Now, take a look at the copy below. This copy notes the number of cumulative words at the end of each line you read, so it will be easier for you to calculate your total. Find the last word you read on this page, and total the number of words you finished in one minute.
I used to think that reading was a necessary evil! But I have since learned otherwise. When I first learned to read, I had to read aloud so the teacher would know I understood the words and could pronounce them correctly. Unfortunately, I still say the words in in my head, although I have been reading for years now. I think this slows me down. If you think that reading is easy, perhaps you don’t have problems concentrating like I do. Whenever I sit down to read a book or a newspaper, I get distracted by the television, or by surrounding conversations. Finally, I give up and stop. I rarely finish a book, or even a magazine article. It is very frustrating. When I was forced to read a lot in college, I did get it done, but I always forgot most of what I read. That was even worse than not being able to finish at all. 16 34 48 65 78 96 110 127 148 158

175 I often think there is something wrong with me, but my friends say that they have the same problem. So I suppose I am just average. I would like to learn to read faster, and 193 above all, be able to retain more information. But, I’m not sure how to go about it. 210 When I see a book in the store, and it looks interesting, I always buy it and put it on the shelf next to my bed. I even have a book light for reading at night so that I won’t disturb anyone while I am reading. But, I never use the light, because I rarely open the cover of the book. If I do, I may read a chapter or two and then I get frustrated and stop. I consider myself of above average intelligence and I know that I am interested in the books I buy. So, why can’t I seem to get through a book without letting it gather dust on my bookshelf? Last year I managed to read a murder mystery called “Where the Larks Sing Free”, and I was really proud of myself for finishing it. I even joined a book club to talk about this book, because I really liked it. But, the sad truth is that I could barely remember much of what had happened in the book and when the my friend Russell told me about his favorite part of the book, I didn’t remember that part at all. It was as if I hadn’t read the book, but I had! All in all, I had just about decided to give up. But, there is a book I really want to read and I am determined to find a way to improve my reading skills and my ability to remember what I read. The book is 1870 pages long, and I can’t even finish a 500 page book, so I don’t have a lot of hope of finishing this one unless I can improve my skills. Let me tell you what the book is about. It is about a girl who is adopted and she sets out to find her biological parents. She has a hard time of it, but eventually she finds her mother. But, her mother won’t give her the identity of her father. That’s all I know because the friend that loaned me this book, wouldn’t tell me whether she finds her father or not. My favorite kinds of books are murder mysteries, but I like anything that has a little suspense in the story, and this book seems really interesting to me. It is called “Where Can She Be?”, and my friend Jeannie says it is really good. She said she couldn’t put it down and she stayed up past midnight to finish the story. What do you think I can do to improve my reading skills, so that I can read this book? 231 250 266 286 288 301 319 334 352 370 385 401 416 437 454 471 490 509 526 542 558 563 579 594 609 624 643

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How did you do on speed? Write the number of words you read in one minute on a piece of paper. Next, we will focus on comprehension. On a blank piece of paper, write everything you remember about the article you just read. Now, answer these questions if you can. If you didn’t read far enough into the article to answer all the questions, just answer those you CAN answer. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. How did the person in the article say they learned to read? What frustrates this person the most about trying to read? What does this person think is worse than not being able to finish a book? What did the person buy in anticipation of reading at night? What was the name of the book the person tried – and failed - to complete? What was the name of the person’s friend at the book club? How long is the book that the person wants to read now? What is this book about? What is the name of the book? What is the name of the person’s friend – the one that recommended this book?

Now, read the article again - all the way through this time - without limiting yourself on time. See how much you forgot the first time you answered the questions above. Were you able to answer at least half of the questions about the sections you completed when you read it the first time through?

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Let’s see how you did! Here are the rankings for reading and comprehension speeds, from poor to excellent Slower than Average Average Better than Average Excellent 100-110 200-240 300-400 500-1000 words per minute words per minute words per minute words per minute at 50-60% comprehension at 60-75% comprehension at 80% comprehension at 85% comprehension

Now that you have an idea where you fall on the scale of reading speed and comprehension, let’s move on to talk about how you can improve your skills. How do you break bad habits, and learn to read faster and more efficiently? In the next section, we will review some of the techniques and methods you can use to read more quickly and with better retention.

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You CAN Improve Your Skills
If you research the available speed reading courses and materials, you’ll see that there are a number of ways you can improve your reading. My goal is to give you some easy-to-learn techniques you can start to use immediately. The methods I am going to show you do not require lengthy classes, or expensive software, though you will have to commit to practicing daily in order to get the best benefit and to break old habits. Some involve software programs and exercises, some are based on ‘guides’ or tools you can use to help your eye follow the flow of words on the page. Other techniques are based on re-training your eye and your brain so that you can take in more words in one bite. The problem with choosing any one technique is that everyone learns in a slightly different way and while all the techniques are effective as a general method, you may find that you prefer one more than another. I thought it might be best to give you some options, and let you choose one or more techniques that you find the best for your style and learning preferences. As I said at the beginning of this book, unless you have a disorder or handicap that prevents development of language and reading skills, there is no reason you can’t improve your skills. If you have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Dyslexia, you can still learn to speed read. When you read quickly and allow your brain to process and comprehend information at a more natural rate, you bypass the ADHD and Dyslexic triggers that reside in the leftbrain. So, don’t be discouraged. You CAN keep pace with the reading you want to do, or MUST do for your career or education. All you need to improve your skills – besides this book – is a desire to learn and improve, and the discipline to practice what you learn. Pagina 15

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As strange as it may seem, studies show that those that read more slowly, also have a greater loss of comprehension. You would think that if you slowed down, you be bound to absorb more of the information. But it doesn’t work that way! I should point out that you must improve your reading habits and techniques at the same time as you increase your speed, or you will not retain any more information. In other words, changing your habits and techniques must go hand-in-hand with increased speed or you will not see much improvement. Before you begin a reading efficiency and improvement program, be sure to you’re your eyes checked. If you need glasses or contacts, be sure you have the right prescription. Never undertake a dedicated learning program of any kind if you are not getting an appropriate amount of sleep. Sleep-deprived brains do not absorb much information. While you may be able to double the speed at which you read, I would ask you why you want to achieve this goal. If your goal is to read more quickly and to retain more information, you don’t need to set an artificial goal for speed. The point is not to become the fastest reader of all time. The point is the read as quickly as you can and still retain the information you want to learn. In fact, in the beginning, you may lose speed, because you are learning new techniques and it may take your brain some time to adjust to these new habits. It is wise to take your time and learn the techniques well. Allow yourself to build and solidify the new habits and you will be much happier with the results. Whether you want to improve your reading skills to read for pleasure, for school or for work, I think you will be pleased with the results, if you are patient and take the time to do it the right way! And remember, you don’t have to aim for 1000 words per minute. If you reduce your reading time by just a few seconds per page, you will notice a big difference in the length of time it takes you to finish a book. And the best part is that, if you do it the right way, you will absorb more of the information in the book and get more enjoyment out of the reading experience. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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At this point in the book, it may have occurred to you that, if so many people have a problem with reading speed and comprehension, we must have a problem in the way we are teaching our children to read. And, your assumption would be correct!

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When Children Learn to Read
The way you learned to read as a child has a definite impact on your reading skills as you grow older.

Consider the following factors:  Most children learn to word-by-word, and many are tested by reading a single word, or a few words, aloud to a teacher. This learning technique reinforces the idea that one must hear the word in her head, and consciously speak it, in order to understand. As we grow older, we adjust to reading books and magazines and some of us make the leap relatively well. We learn to read in sentences or phrases, rather than word-by-word. But, not everyone adjusts! Some of us remain stuck in the word-by-word mire and for those unhappy souls, reading is not fun.  Compounding the method by which children learn to read, is the competition reading now faces from other, more active, stimulating activities like video games. Compared to this constant stimulation, reading may seem tame, especially if a child’s imagination is not sparked by the words on the page. It isn’t that books are not interesting, it is that a child is not taught to read in a way that allows his brain the freedom that Evelyn Woods described.  The stress of learning and reading a word in front of an entire class was something none of us wanted to repeat, because we were afraid to make a mistake. We were afraid our classmates might laugh at us or that we would be wrong and the teacher would be displeased. So, it is understandable that many of us have a psychological barrier to reading.  We learn to read before our language and verbal skills are completely developed, and you can see why most of us struggled to embrace reading as a pleasurable activity.

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Because our brains were still developing as we learned this new skill, the habits were engrained in our minds at a very impressionable time and they are therefore harder to shake. In studies, where children learned to read in a more experiential and dynamic way, the results were impressive. While it may take a bit longer for the child to absorb the methods, the visual connection to language certainly seems to put these children a step ahead of their peers. Think about our goal to read and absorb information more efficiently and quickly, and then consider the U.S. Department of Education studies on American third grade students. Consider these findings:  When the average third grade student is assigned to read 100 words on a printed page, he or she stops over one hundred and seventy times before they complete the assignment.  When college students are assigned 100 words, the average student will stop over seventy times before completing the assignment. When you think about the number of years a student has to practice his or her reading skills, the reported progress from third grade to college level does not seem all that impressive, does it?

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Methods and Techniques for Adults
Now, let’s look at a few techniques you can use to improve your reading speed and comprehension. Remember, the goal of this book is to give you some readily accessible techniques to improve your reading speed and comprehension without your having to read a 400 page book, take a class or download expensive software. You may decide you would like to go on with your education later. But, if you use nothing more than the techniques I have provided here, you will find one or more methods you can use to significantly improve your speed and retention. You may find it desirable to combine methods or you may choose to pick just one and stick with it. Whatever works for you is fine. We all learn differently. Do what works best for you! Using ‘Guides’ and Tools Your teacher may have told you not to use your hands or your fingers to help you read, but many speed reading courses teach the use of ‘guides’ as an effective way to keep your eye focused on the text you are reading. Because you will have a tendency to move your hand or the guide faster, and your eye will follow the guide, you are likely to increase your speed and your efficiency. The reason that ‘guides’ work, is that your eye is following the guide on the page as it moves along next to, or below, the text you are reading. Essentially, the guide is keeping your eyes and your brain focused on the words on the page. Using a guide will also keep you moving forward, and prevent regression and rereading. To try these techniques, find a magazine or a book to use for the exercise, and dive in. Use the same magazine or book for all the exercises, so you can more easily compare your results using equal amounts of text. Each time you try a different technique, select a different page in the book or publication. Pagina 20

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Using Your Hand as a Guide - There are two ways you can use your hand as a guide. Right Hand - Place your right hand, with the ‘back’ of your pinkie finger and the heel of your hand at the edge of the text where you will start reading. Now move your hand toward the right, sliding it toward the right margin of the text as you read. Focus your eye on the text next to your hand, and keep reading. When you are ready to move to the next line, slide your hand down slightly, until the tip of your right pinkie finger is even with the line you are going to read. With your hand in the same position – the heel and pinkie at the edge of the starting text – begin reading the next line. Left Hand - This method is preferred by many right-handed people, because they can place their right hand on the top corner of the page and use it to turn to the next page when they are ready. To use your left hand as a guide, you will follow the same basic principles defined above. However, instead of using the heel of your hand and your pinkie finger as a guide, you will position your INDEX finger next to the starting text and move your left hand from right to left, just as you did in the example above. When you are ready to drop down to the next line, slide your left hand down until the tip of our INDEX finger is positioned in the left margin of the page, next to the text you want to read. And, keep reading! Using the sample text you selected, you can practice this move now. Try it with both hands and see which method feels more natural for you. If you are left-handed, you may prefer using your left hand as the guide. But that is not always true, so be sure to try both techniques and decide for yourself. On your first practice run, you may wish to just practice the hand movement and not worry about reading the text. Pagina 21

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Once you get familiar with the technique, you can practice reading a page and see how you do. The Cupped Hand - Place your dominant hand on the page you wish to read, and ‘cup’ the hand so that it looks like you are trapping a golf ball under your palm. With only the tips of your fingers on the page, align your fingertips directly under the line you wish to read and lightly drag your fingertips across the page from left to right as you are reading. Your eyes will follow the movement of your hands and keep you focused on the words. The Bounce – To use this technique, you simply cup your hand, as in the exercise above. Instead of resting your hand on the page and ‘scanning’ across the text, you will place your hand above the text and ‘bounce’ it twice on each line. Mentally divide the line on the page into two segments. Bounce your fingers lightly on the first half of the line and read the words that appear on that line and segment. Then move your hand to the right and bounce the fingers of your hand lightly on the second half of the line. Read the words that appear on that line in the second segment. This technique takes a little practice, but it is great for encouraging your brain to process ‘groups’ of words and/or phrases or sentences, as opposed to single words. Once you learn the rhythm and technique, you may find you like it the best of all of the ‘guide’ options. When you practice this for the first time, don’t worry about reading the words on the page. Just practice the hand bounce and get comfortable with the concept of splitting each line into two segments. The Single Finger Guide – You may have used this method as a child. You can try this technique, but it isn’t quite as effective as using all your fingertips, or the side of your hand. Pagina 22

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The tip of the index finger is not as wide as your entire hand, so your focus may tend to jump onto other lines on the page. You will also find that, because your brain does not perceive as much motion – because your index finger is much narrower than your hand – you are much more likely to become distracted. The Diagonal Scan – I don’t recommend this technique for technical, legal or complex reading material. But, if you are reading for speed and just want to get the general idea of an article, this method may be one you’ll want to learn. Cup your hand, as you did in the Cupped Hand method, and slide your fingers diagonally across three to four lines of text on a page, from left to right, top to bottom. Follow your hand over the text with your eyes, so you ‘see’ the words. You don’t have to read them word-for-word – just focus on primary words, concepts and ideas you see in the three or four lines of the page. Now in the same, continuous motion, bring your fingers to rest on the next set of three or four lines and perform a diagonal scan on those as well. Continue down the page, scanning three of four lines for key ideas and thoughts, but not ‘reading’ word-for-word. Try this technique on a page of the text you have selected. Set your timer and see how long it takes to complete a page. Using this technique, you will finish a page very quickly. But how much information did you get? Write down what you remember and then read the page the old-fashioned way. See what you missed. How many of the concepts and ideas were you able to capture, using the diagonal scan technique? Did you miss a lot? Remember, you would only use this technique to quickly scan an article for primary information. If you really want to get into the detail, don’t use the diagonal scan!

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As with all speed-reading and comprehension tests, you should set a timer to track the length of time it takes you to read the page. When you are finished, note the time and write down everything you can remember about what you read. Practice the technique on a daily basis, using different pages in the same book or magazine, and track your time and comprehension to see if it improves. If this method isn’t for you, don’t be discouraged! Take a look at the rest of the other techniques, and see which one works best for you. Using Cards or Paper – Here is another choice. This ‘guide’ method involves the use of a 3 x 5 index card, or any other sturdy card or folded piece of paper. However, this technique may not be quite what you think. You are not going to use the card or paper UNDER the line you are reading. Rather you are going to use it to cover the text you have already read. This technique will force you to keep moving down the page and to resist going back to retrace your steps and re-read text. It will also keep your eye focused on the first line of print you can see below the fold of paper or the blank card. For obvious reasons, you want to choose a blank card or paper to use as a guide. If there are images or print on the card or paper, you will be distracted from the text on which you want to focus. Drag the page lightly down the page, reading each line or phrase as you go. Use the paper or card to cover the text you have completed. You will find it easier to focus on the text you want to read and your retention will improve, as well. Try a page of text, using this guide technique now. Set your timer and read to the bottom of the page. Then note your completion time and try to remember as much as you can about what you’ve read. See how it compares to the hand techniques you tried. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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Using a Tool – Many people LOVE using this reading tool as a guide. And since you can make your own, it is easy to replace the tool if you lose it or if it gets worn from use. To make the tool, you’ll need two things:  A pen with a pocket clip on the side. Whether you are using the fancy gold pen your company gave you, or a plastic pen you bought in a twelvepack in the corner store, all you need is a pocket clip and you are ready to build the tool!  A drink straw or a wide coffee or cocktail stick. Some people even use pipe cleaners! Push the end of the straw over the end of the pen pocket clip, OR push it underneath the clip until it fits snugly in place. If you are using a pipe cleaner, you can loop the pipe cleaner around the pocket clip, or tuck it underneath until it stays in place. Now, bend the straw or pipe cleaner until it is angled slightly to one side. To use the tool for reading, you simply hold the barrel of the pen in your dominant hand and place the end of the straw or pipe cleaner on the page. As you read, follow the tool or the end of the ‘pointer’ with your eyes, to keep your brain and your vision focused on the words on the page. This method takes a bit of practice, but once you get comfortable, you will pick up speed. Set your timer and try this now. Don’t try to read the words on the page, the first time through. Just get comfortable holding and using the tool. Try this for a few days before you discount it. Many people find it very useful. Other Tools – Here are some other ideas for tools You can use a ruler or a plain bookmark to guide your eyes. A short ruler, like the one found in a children’s pencil box, is the best, because a full size ruler is an unwieldy size to use with a book. Pagina 25

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Again, you want to place these tools ABOVE the line you are reading, rather than below. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is meant to keep you from regressing during your reading session. Turn the ruler or bookmark sideways and place it directly above the line you wish to read. Move the tool down the page as quickly as you can, forcing your eyes and your brain to process the words and phrases at a faster rate of speed. You will get used to the technique and the speed as you practice and you’ll find your comprehension improving as well.

These guides and tools may seem too simple in concept and practice, but studies have shown that they allow your eyes to move faster and improve your reading ‘flow’ and comprehension. Not only does the motion of the tool give you something on which to focus your eyes, but it also increases the width and span of your focus so you are more likely to read groups of words and phrases. Used properly, these guides and tools will also prevent regression and, if you don’t go back to re-read text, you will read faster and, believe it or not, retain more information.

Remember to practice often
And, don’t give up on these options until you have given each a fair try. Use each of them for a few days and the compare the results.

Reading with Purpose – This technique is especially good for improving retention and comprehension. Though you will also find that your speed will improve after you have used this method for awhile. There are no tricks or tools to learn here. Just a mindset that you must use when you approach your reading. Having said that, it still takes practice to master this. You have to break old habits and practicing this technique means you will have to maintain focus on your PURPOSE at all times.

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Once you master the method, you will find that it comes naturally! This technique uses the following guidelines:  Decide what you want to get out of the piece and what you expect  Form questions about the topic in your mind and look within the text for the answers.  As you read, think about what the author is telling you at that point and change your questions or add to them as required.  Read with a ‘conscious mind’, always analyzing the text to determine what is important, and do not linger on text that does not fulfill your purpose in reading the book or article.  Think about how you would use the information you learn by reading. If you were writing an article about this topic, what pieces of information in the book or magazine would you include in the article?  Ask yourself what the author is trying to tell you. If there is no real purpose to the text, other than to take up space, then you aren’t reading the core information.  Move on until you find text that answers your questions or provides new knowledge or information on the topic.  Scan the book or article before you read it and try to figure out how the author has structured the information.  Did she give you a summary explanation and then dive into the details?  Perhaps, she organized the book into main categories and gave the details within each category after she introduced a particular topic?  If you flip through the pages of the white paper, book, or magazine article, you can quickly see how the author has organized the work and that will help you to focus on the parts that are important to you.

If you are reading with a purpose and an agenda, you are less likely to get stuck on reading individual words or to go back and re-read passages. You are a person with a mission. Pagina 27

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You have certain information you want to get out of the book or article and THAT is your focus. When you use this technique, you will find that you are less likely to become distracted. And, it is less likely that you will verbalize words in your head, or fall into any of the other traps that slow you down and reduce your comprehension. Some people find it helpful to approach this technique by imagining this scenario: You have to make a presentation on a subject you know nothing about. You get all the information you can and start to do your research but you have very little time. The ONLY way to approach this, if you are going to meet the deadline, is to sit down and think about the key points you want to make and then go after that information in the books you have gathered. What do you want to learn from this book? How do you plan to present the information to others? What are the key facts that you need to know? You see how it works? You have just outlined a mission for yourself – and now it is easier to ‘read with a purpose’. Classic Techniques – We talked about Evelyn Woods, the mother of speed reading, and her passion for improving, not just the speed at which her students read, but the sheer enjoyment with which they read. Evelyn told the story of how she first became intrigued with speed reading. She was studying for her Masters Degree at the time, and she submitted a term paper, 80 pages in length. Her Professor, Dr. Lees read her paper and gave her a grade in less than ten minutes. He had no formal training in speed reading – there was no program in existence at the time. Yet he read over 2500 words per minute. Evelyn was intrigued by his ability and she decided to look for others who had extraordinary reading skills. Over two years, she was able to find fifty people. None of these people seemed to have any common background or characteristics yet they could all read at amazing speed and retain what they read. The measured speed of the fifty people ranged from 1500 words per minute to 6000 words per minute! Incredible! Pagina 28

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Though there was no apparent commonality among these people, Ms. Woods did find that the way they read and recognized information was very different from the average reader. They ALL read more than one word at a time, and they all read in concepts, rather than laboring over each word or repeating a line. When they scanned a page with their eyes, the eye movement was smooth and fast. They read with purpose, looking for important information as they read and the adjusted their speed if the information was technical or complex. Ms. Woods set out to recreate this method and establish a structured reading program for others to use. This program is used internationally to teach better speed and comprehension, and it has been in use since the 1950s, with good results. In fact, most of the concepts you have read thus far, are based on the work done by Ms. Woods. Let’s review the principles here, so that you can focus on the basics. As with all the methods presented here and in packaged speed reading programs, practice is key. If you don’t practice, you won’t break old habits and form new ones. Think about training for an athletic event. If you want to get stronger, run faster, lose weight and gain muscle mass, you have to train. You have to practice. You must do the same thing to acquire new reading skills. Regression – Break yourself of the habit of going back over text to re-read it. This will be hard in the beginning because you will feel as if you may have missed something. But, you will get used to it. Establish a comfortable speed and flow and maintain it. If you miss a word or two it is not likely you will miss words that are critical. It is more likely that the words you feel you did not ‘get’ the first time through are connecting words, and these are not critical to meaning or intent. What you may not realize is that when you go back or regress to read something again, your brain actually gets confused. What happens is something like this: You read: “The man looked up at the moon and sighed” Pagina 29

But, then you think you may have missed something. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

So you go back to read the sentence again. Except you really DON’T read the entire sentence. This time your brain looks for the meaning. So what you read the second time is something like this: “…looked up at the moon and sighed” Now your brain has to put this together with the rest of the sentence, because it instinctively knows it is missing something. So it processes the information again from memory this time and comes up with the original sentence: “The man looked up at the moon and sighed” As you can imagine, this all takes some time to sort out, and in the meantime, you have lost reading speed. But, in the bargain, you DON’T get better understanding. If you had simply continued on from the end of the sentence, the first time you read it, your brain would have processed the correct information and caught up to you as you read. Breaking Bad Physical Habits Sometimes, people develop bad habits and these impede their ability to focus on reading. Physical habits and tics that develop over time to ‘keep the rest of your body busy’ while you are reading, will distract you. Do you tap or chew on a pencil while you read? Twirl your hair? Chew your nails? Tap your foot or shake your let? If so, stop it. It will take time to break the habit, but every time you notice yourself doing it, you should consciously stop it. Just focus on reading. Quiet your mind and your mind and prepare to receive the information on the page. If you are one of those people who moves their lips while reading, it will take you some time to break the habit, but it is worth the effort. If you ‘mouth’ the words as you read them, your brain has two things to do – see the words and process them and then turn them into verbal cues – you are bound to lose speed. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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This is also true for those who actually say or mumble the words as they read. The additional problem here is that your brain is processing what it ‘hears’ now as well, and the spoken word just adds one more thing for your overtaxed mind to juggle. Fixation – We talked about fixation before. Remember that a fixation is when you focus on one word and then have to shift your eye and your focus to another word to continue reading. Every time your eye stops on a word, there is a pause before the eye moves on to the next word. If you fixate word-by-word, you are stopping on every word before you move on. Good readers keep their eyes moving and take in sentences, concepts and phrases instead of focusing on each word separately. To break yourself of this habit, you will need to read ‘consciously’ and with determination. Keep your eyes moving and resist the temptation to focus on each word. It will take time and in the process, you will probably read more slowly for awhile, but once you break the old habit, you will pick up speed and improve very quickly from there. While you may think that you will lose information if you read too quickly, studies have actually shown that faster readers retain MORE information than slow readers. That startling fact is true simply because your brain processes information at lightening speed, and when you are plodding along word-by-word, your brain gets bored and starts thinking about something else. In other words, it gets distracted. Think about a conversation with a friend. What if the friend is taking forever to come to the point or going off on tangents and diverting from the main theme of the discussion? Don’t you start to daydream or think about other things? And haven’t you caught yourself wondering what your friend just said? You stopped listening because you couldn’t wait for your friend to catch up. Pagina 31

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Your brain does the same thing when you dawdle on every word in a book. Environmental Habits – If you don’t create the right environment in which to read, you will not absorb the information. You will get distracted, and uncomfortable and you will lose your focus. When you read:      Sit up straight Hold the book at a comfortable distance from your eyes Use adequate lighting so you don’t have to strain to see the words Avoid listening to a radio, television or conversation Don’t read when you are tired

Increase your Eye Span – If you are focusing on only one word, your brain has gotten lazy. When you start to read, your eyes and your brain will immediately narrow your frame of reference to the word on the page, because that is what they are used to doing. Force yourself to look at a wider expanse of page, when you read. See the sentence, thought or phrase a whole, and focus on that. Forget the individual word. Consciously use your peripheral vision, as you read to see just how far you can see to the right and to the left. Remember, these are practice exercises, so don’t get frustrated if you can’t do it at first. Just keep practicing. Chunking and Using Concepts- Once you master the wider eye span and stop focusing on individual words, you can move on to chunking and concepts. As you read each sentence, phrase or paragraph, break it up into groups that express a concept. For example, look at the following sequence as a full paragraph: “Everyone has a holiday horror story to tell. Most families are dysfunctional, though we all think ours is the only problem family on the block.” Now, read the same paragraph in ‘chunks’ or ‘concepts’: Pagina 32

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…Everyone has a holiday horror story to tell… …most families are dysfunctional… …though we all think ours is the only problem family on the block… Here is another, longer example. This time, you do the chunking: “Remember that you are an important part of your own health care, and don’t forget to tell your doctor about any changes in your health during the time between visits. It is important to tell him about changes in sleep patterns, appetite and stress. Your doctor can’t read your mind, and he can’t anticipate all of your questions, so speak up.” As you practice reading concepts and chunking large pieces of text into smaller bite-sized thoughts, you will notice significant improvement in your reading speed and comprehension. Keep Your Eyes Moving – Don’t linger at the end of a line or sentence, or at the end of a page. If you slow down, your brain will be tempted to go back over the material. A good way to avoid regression is the forcefully move your eyes from the end of a line to the next line and consciously keep going. After awhile, this will become a habit and you won’t have to think about it so much, but in the beginning it may seem a little radical. If you want to use a tool, pointer or guide to support you in the beginning, feel free to do so. Anything to keep your eyes moving. Trust Your Brain – You would be amazed at the speed at which your brain can recognize and process a word. Just because you feel you didn’t ‘see’ the word, doesn’t mean your brain did not pick it up. As an adult with an average vocabulary, you possess a brain that can use contextual information to process the written word. Let’s say for example that you quickly skim the following sentence: “It was John’s perception that Susan was angry with him. The fabric was not what she wanted, and she was disappointed” Pagina 33

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When your brain processes this information, it can place the words in context and it knows that the correct words for this sentence are:  ‘perception’ not ‘perspective’ or ‘prescription’  ‘fabric’ not ‘factor’ or ‘fabulous’  ‘disappointed’ not ‘discouraged’ or ‘dismissed’ Know When to Adjust Your Speed – Remember that you are reading for speed AND comprehension. I mentioned that you will want to slow down when reading complex or technical information. It is a no-win situation if you try to read JUST for speed, and finish the article really fast but have no idea what it said! The other time to adjust speed is when you are reading from a computer screen. Studies show that you lose about 25% of your speed when reading in this way. Don’t fight it. Just adjust. If you must read something very quickly, and you are staring at a computer screen, you may want to consider printing the article and reading the hard copy. That way, you can pick up your speed and finish faster. You might find it helpful to look at the type of reading you are doing and adjust your reading style accordingly. For example, if you are planning to write a report or make a presentation on a topic, you might approach reading in this way:  Take the time to read the forward and any notes at the front of the book, to get an idea what the author wanted to accomplish, and what they intend to tell you.  Spend more time on the first chapter to establish an understanding of how the author writes, how much meat there is in the text and how much superfluous information this author is inclined to include. Once you get the style down, your reading will go much faster.  Since you have to write a report on this book, you’ll want to read in smaller bites, so that you don’t get tired or distracted. Pagina 34

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Approaching each reading session with a rested eye and mind will help you remember the information you need to write the report. Try to schedule your reading session for the same time every day so that you anticipate the need for focus.  Take notes after every chapter or underline text – if you can – in the book so you can quickly compile information later. Some find it helpful to buy different colors of post-it notes or colored paper and color code the bookmarks within the text. If you are on a page that has information about a character’s background, for example, you might color code that with a blue bookmark. When you are finished reading the book and ready to tackle your report, you can simply look for all the blue bookmarks and find the character background information more easily.

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Methods for Children
If you are looking for speed reading methods for children, consider this. It is difficult to implement any speed reading techniques in children under eight years of age, because in most cases, they are still learning the more traditional methods in school and any attempt to disrupt this may wreak havoc with your child’s teacher. To successfully teach your child to speed read, the child should be between eight and twelve years old. Be sure your child can commit at least fifteen minutes a day to practice the new techniques. Go the library and get books that are appropriate for the child’s age, preferably books the child has not read before. Choose an appropriate ‘reward’ system. The type of reward is up to you. It might be your child’s favorite snack, an afternoon at the movies, a trip to the toy store or a play date with a friend. I would suggest keeping it simple and inexpensive. A box of cookies or candy that can be distributed as appropriate might be more practical than something expensive or time consuming. You will also need a timer or a watch with a second hand, to track speed reading sessions. If you can convince a group of neighborhood parents to participate, so much the better. A group of four to eight children is a great size and the kids will be more likely to practice, if they are all participating in the same activity. The younger the child, the shorter the working sessions should be. For children of either or nine years of age, keep the sessions around thirty to forty-five minutes. If the child or group of children begins to get restless and inattentive, stop the session and schedule it for another time. For children ten to twelve, you can schedule an hour of work and practice. Pagina 36

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1.

In the first session, explain to the children what you want to accomplish and be sure that they understand that reading will be more fun and rewarding if they use the new techniques. Have them focus on a dog or a plant in your house or look out the window and find an item to focus on, and then point out how we normally ‘see’ things. We don’t look at the individual pieces of the item. For example, if we are looking at the house next door, we are seeing the entire house, not the curtain in the front window. Tell the child that you want them to read in the same way, not by looking at a word on a page, but by looking at a sentence or phrase and seeing the whole concept. Ask the child to look at a page in a book for five to ten seconds. Tell them not to try to read the page right now, but just to ‘see’ the words with a wider lens, to get a broader view of the words on the page, instead of focusing on one or two words. At the end of this timed exercise, ask them to choose another spot on a different page and do the same thing – this time for ten to twenty seconds.

2.

Next, ask them to spend thirty to sixty seconds looking at ten pages of text. But, this time, ask them to ‘see’ the words with a wider perspective AND try to scan them for meaning at the same time. At the end of the timed session, ask them to report what they remember. You will be surprised at how much they pick up, even though they aren’t reading word-for-word. Make sure you create a ‘fun’ environment for the child or children so they don’t feel as if they are being tested. Encourage them by telling them it is OK not to remember much on the first few tries. When the child does remember something, be sure to praise the newly acquired skill. You may want to offer the reward at this point to keep the children motivated. Even if they only remember one small thing, that is enough to warrant a prize. Don’t dwell on the ‘report’ section for more than two to four minutes. Just have them quickly tell you what they remember.

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Be sure you don’t embarrass the child or single them out, whether they remember or not. As your child gets more comfortable with this wider view of the printed page, they can move on to the next exercise. 3. At this point, you’ll want to introduce the visualization aspect to get them more focused and involved in the words on the page. Have them imagine or visualize what is happening in the book. As they read a page of text, have them imagine the scene in their head and then tell you about it when they are finished. Time this exercise for one or two minutes and when the session is finished, ask each child to tell you what they remember and what they ‘saw’ as they read. Have the child or children practice this visualization exercise several times until they are more comfortable with the process. Since most children have a well-developed imagination, it should be easy for them to grasp this technique. Once you feel the child has mastered visualization, move back to the exercise to ‘widen’ the scope of their reading window and to increase their speed. 4. Give the child the same instruction, and encourage them to ‘see’ the wider picture, scanning the pages quickly. This time, increase the number of pages to fifteen pages in a thirty to sixty second period. Time this session again and at the end of the session, spend two to four minutes talking about what the child remembers from their reading. Congratulate them on their progress and offer a reward! Repeat this session several times, to see if page count and retention improve. Each time, give the child two to four minutes to tell you what they remember. And provide some positive reinforcement, so that they will want to continue! 5. The next exercise is designed to help the child ‘chunk’ concepts and information. Again, have your child select ten to fifteen pages in a book and set the timer for two minutes. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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As the child scans the pages using their new technique of ‘seeing’ with a wider lens, you will signal them with a sound after every five seconds of scanning. Try to use a sound that is not startling or intrusive. A tap with your knuckle or a pen on the edge of the table is fine. Just don’t distract them from their scanning exercise. At the end of the two minutes, ask the child to briefly tell you what they remembered about what they read and point out any changes you notice in how much they remember or the type of information they remembered during this exercise. In other words, did the signaling of smaller chunks of time and information change the way they read or how much they saw and remembered? Repeat this exercise several times before you move on. After several practice sessions using the ‘wide lens’ scanning technique and the visualization exercise, you can move on to the next challenge. 6. Now it is time to raise the bar. Tell your child or children that you will give them a special reward if they can finish a short book – twenty to fifty pages in length depending on the child’s age. Give them five minutes to read as much of the book as possible. Stop them at five minutes and ask them to tell you what they remember. And be sure to give them the reward you promised them. You can expand this exercise in the next session and challenge them to read TWO books of the same length. As with any speed reading program or learning program, practice is very important. Schedule sessions with your child often and be sure to practice each of the exercises I’ve given you so that they become more comfortable with the techniques.     Exercise to increase and widen the ‘seeing’ lens. Exercise using imagination and visualization. Exercise to ‘chunk’ information by signaling in ‘five second’ increments Exercise to read a book in five minutes Pagina 39

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Continue scheduled practice sessions for one to two months until the child has grasped and solidified the concepts in her mind. After that, they can use the new techniques every day to improve their reading speed and comprehension.

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Fast and Easy Tips!
Perhaps you are reading this book because you don’t have the time or patience for a lengthy or expensive speed reading program. You’ve read all the techniques and methods I’ve given you so far, but you are looking for some really quick tips you can use to improve your reading. Here are a few tips and tricks for you to try!  Learn a new word every day. The better your vocabulary, the faster your brain can recognize and process a word.  If you move your lips when you read, hold your hand or your fingers over your mouth until you break the habit.  Read at least fifteen minutes a day – a magazine article, a cereal box, a book, an article at work or at school.  The more you read, the better your brain can handle the visual and mental processes required to process the written word.  Set a goal or purpose before you start to read. Pick one to five things you want to find out or accomplish and focus on those.  Skim through the article or book and do not READ until you see keywords or concepts that relate to your objectives.  Practice reading faster, every day, for at least five minutes. Try to read at least twice as fast as your comfortable pace. As you get comfortable with that pace, increase your speed again until THAT speed becomes comfortable. Over a period of weeks, you will find yourself reading faster and you will NOT lose comprehension.  When you first begin to practice speed reading use material and information with which you are familiar. This familiarity will allow you to focus more on your reading techniques and to work on breaking bad habits. As you become more comfortable with the process, you can graduate to unfamiliar material. Pagina 41

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 As you read, try to predict what is going to happen next or what the author will next tell you about the topic. This will keep you focused on the subject.  Before you start to read, look at the table of contents. Try to figure out what each section is about, and how the author has organized the material. In this way, you will find out how the book is structured, what the author will cover, and in what sequence.  Focus on the first and last sentences in a paragraph. In many cases, these sentences will give you information about what is coming and/or summarize what was just covered. This is a great way to understand the concept without getting bogged down in word-by-word reading.

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What You Can Expect
If you are serious about speed-reading and about improving your comprehension, you must practice. We’ll talk a little more about that in a minute. Assuming you are willing to make the commitment to practice and to stick with the process until you solidify the new techniques in your mind, you will do well. While results do vary from person to person, and a structured, longer-term program may give you better results, you will find that the simple techniques presented here will significantly improve your speed and comprehension with time and practice. On average, it will take you a month of practice to see the final results. And, you must stick with it. If you find yourself reverting to old habits when you read, go back and review the exercises and techniques again for a refresher. Then establish a routine of practice for another month or two until the new habits are in place. You probably won’t have to go through this cycle more than twice before you lose the old habits are gone! You will be pleased to know that many people see improvement right away. As soon as they grasp and begin to practice the techniques, reading speed and comprehension improves significantly. If you are one of these lucky people, don’t stop practicing. Just because you improved right away, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve even more! And, even though you saw immediate improvement, you still need to reinforce the techniques by practicing them, or you will fall back on hold habits sooner or later. So keep practicing! If you DON’T improve right away, don’t get discouraged. You WILL get better with time and practice. Let’s look again at the rates for poor to excellent readers, and I’ll give you some idea of what you can expect when you undertake a speed reading program. Here are the rankings for reading and comprehension speeds, from poor to excellent. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest? Pagina 43

Look at where you started, and where you can finish if you are committed to the process: Beginning Skill Slower than Average Average Better than Average Excellent Words Per Min 100-110 200-240 300-400 500-1000 Comprehension Improvement (1 month) 50-60% 35-40% 60-75% 25-30% 80% 20-25% 85% 10-15%

Before we finish, let’s talk a little more about practice, because it is SO important to improving your speed and comprehension.

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Practice Makes Perfect
As I said, you must practice if you are going to grasp and retain the techniques I’ve presented. You can use the exercises presented in this book or be creative and invent exercises for yourself. In the beginning, practice 15-30 minutes a day, if you an adult. If you are teaching a child to speed read, be sure they practice at least 15 minutes a day. Remember that, at first, you are likely to read more slowly when you are NOT practicing, because you will probably revert to old habits. The more you practice, the more you will bring the new techniques into your every day reading habits. If you practice at least 15 minutes a day for one or two months, the new habits will feel natural and you won’t even think about them any more. After that, if you want to improve your speed and get to the next level, you can continue to practice and hone your skills. As your brain gets better at the process, you will see more improvement. Here are a few more exercises you can use to practice your reading. If you are like most people, you will find that variety will keep you interested. So be sure to mix up the type and length of exercises you do to maintain your focus on improvement and your enthusiasm for the process. We’ll try go for a reading exercise now.

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Try these exercises: 1. Read this paragraph “When you read for speed and comprehension, you may be surprised at how fast you can go and how much you can remember when you are finished. If you are reading word-for-word, you get bogged down and you may even stop and go back to be sure you understood the last passage. This is not a good way to read, but it is, unfortunately, the way most of us were taught.”

2.

Now read the paragraph this way and note whether it is more difficult or easier to read “When may how you be read for surprised can are you speed at how and fast comprehension you can go are you get you and

much you you

remember reading may

when you

finished. If bogged be

word-for-word and last to go

down and sure is you not

even stop the good way

back to This it were

understood a the

passage. read but us

is

unfortunately taught.”

way

most of

If you are used to reading word-by-word, you probably found this a tortuous exercise. If you were scanning for concepts and flying over the words, you probably did fine. 3. Try the same paragraph this way and see how you do “When read speed comprehension, surprised fast go can remember when finished. I reading word-for-word, bogged down even stop go back be sure understood last passage. not a good way read, unfortunately, way most were taught.” How did you do? Did you get the concepts and understand the intent? All we did was to take out the connective words. Words like ‘and’ ‘the’ and ‘it’ give the sentence some flow, but they do not impact the concepts. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest? Pagina 46

I certainly don’t expect authors to stop using these words in text! However, if you can learn to read in a way that scans phrases and sentences, and look for the important words like ‘remember’ and ‘understood’, you are much more likely to pick up speed without losing comprehension. 4. Next try the paragraph again. This time, we’ll delete the vowels. See if you can read it now “Whn y rd fr spd nd cmprhnsn, y my b srprsd t hw fst y cn g nd hw mch y cn rmmbr whn y re fnshd. f y r rdng wrd-fr-wrd, y gt bgged dwn nd y my vn stp nd g bck t b sr y ndrstd th lst pssg. Ths s nt gd wy t rd, bt t s, nfrtntly, th wy mst f s wr tght.” This was probably a tough one, wasn’t it? You may not have gotten all the words, as you scanned the paragraph, but I’ll bet you got more than you thought you would. When people learn shorthand or other symbolic note-taking methods, they learn to recognize a word by a symbol or abbreviation. And they can read an entire paragraph back, quite nicely, by using this technique. The purpose of this particular exercise is to show you how your brain can actually understand even when the complete word is not presented on paper. If you are scanning, the page, you probably understood the word ‘cmprhnsn’ (comprehension) pretty easily. You may have had more trouble with ‘nfrtntly’ (unfortunately). However, you have to ask yourself if the word ‘unfortunately’ was critical to the concept presented in the sentence. If not, then you really didn’t lose all that much. Did you get ‘fnshd’ (finished?) Good. You see how it works? Again, I am not suggesting that publishers will ever present a written work in that way. I am simply giving you exercises to train and test your brain.

Like an athlete in training, you must exercise and train your brain if it is to achieve peak performance. Remember, your brain is capable of processing information at amazing speed. Most of us don’t make optimum use of that capacity. Pagina 47

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Don’t worry about losing information. That is what stops most of us from reading at peak levels. Think of it this way. Most written material is at least 50% filler. The really critical thoughts, words and concepts are couched in sentences and phrases intended to fill in the blanks with connective words and additional explanation. If you could remove that 50% or 60% filler, you would logically be able to read faster. While there is no tool or utility designed to take out the unnecessary words, you can use your brain to filter what you read! You just have to train it to recognize and bypass the junk! Here is another exercise you can use to practice your new reading techniques: 5. Find a magazine or a newspaper and open it to a random page. Look at how the columns are structured and notice that the publisher has already made the reader’s job easier. In order to give the reader an easy way to find and process the information contained in each article, the blocks and columns of information presented are separated by blank margins, and the information is logically organized for quick scanning and retention. By using a magazine or newspaper article for practice, you can make it easier on your eyes and your brain to learn the new techniques. Follow the columns straight down, using a guide or your hand to focus your eye and move it quickly down the page. Place your guide in the middle of the column and move it straight down – don’t follow each line. Go as quickly as you can through the article, moving your hand in a smooth motion and following it with your eyes. How much of the information did you absorb? What can you remember about the concepts and topics in the article? Practice this technique every time you pick up a magazine or a newspaper. You will get better at it. Remember that the width of a magazine or newspaper column is narrower than that presented in a standard book, so it is very easy to grab the information with your eye in ‘bite sized’ sentences without actually reading left to right. Pagina 48

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Resist the temptation to read each sentence in a standard fashion. Just follow your guide down the page scanning each sentence with a wider ‘lens’, and you will be amazed at how much information you grasp and retain. 6. Here’s one last exercise before we finish. Read this one and then take the miniquiz at the end to see how much you remember of what you’ve read. Remember to scan (read) the paragraph as quickly as possible. “Reading information see think technique change comprehension rather individual improvement” visual you understand Because doesn’t improve Focus words activity taught more meant give differently might learned mean speed ideas See concepts great can’t certain critical brain

Finished? Good! Now take the mini-quiz and see how much you understood and how much you remember about the concepts presented in this brief paragraph 1. What kind of activity is reading? a. Mental b. Visual c. Focused

2.

What kind of information should you get from reading? a. Critical b. Interesting c. Complete Pagina 49

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3.

What does your brain understand when you are speed reading? a. How to Read b. More Information than you Might Think c. Less than if you Read Slowly and Methodically

4.

What must you focus on when you read? a. Speed b. Understanding Each Word c. Ideas and Concepts

5.

What does the closing sentence of the paragraph say you will achieve if you read the right way? a. Impressive Benefits b. Great Improvement c. Speed and Retention

How did you do? My guess is that you got most of the answers right! If not, keep practicing. Use this, and the other exercises I’ve given you for practice, and invent some of your own, to keep you interested in the process. Be creative! Last, but not least, I am a firm believer in writing things down. If you put it in writing, you reinforce your commitment and you can track your plan every day. Here is a format you can use to plan and track your reading improvement program. This will get you started. You can use a form as simple as this, or you can include more detail. In your form, note the date, and the number of minutes you spent reading during your practice session. Pagina 50

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Answer the questions about what you worked on, and whether you were successful in addressing this issue during your practice session. By thinking about each of these issues every time you practice and noting your progress, you will keep the pitfalls uppermost in your mind. And the next time you practice, you are more likely to remember what NOT to do! Add as many items to your list as you may need, and be sure to include the pitfalls that are most personal to you. Try to break your practice time up into ‘segments’. During each segment, read a passage or selection of text, and time yourself. Then you can note the number of pages you read during that segment and the time it took you to complete that segment. I have included a number of these pitfalls here, to get you started, but there may be others you find difficult to conquer. In the next page is the format that you can print out for your own use.

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Date of Practice Session: Segment 1: # of Pages Segment 2: # of Pages Segment 3: # of Pages Segment 4: # of Pages

Total Min Spent Practicing: How Long Did it Take? How Long Did it Take? How Long Did it Take? How Long Did it Take?

Yes Used a Guide Had Problems with Vocalization or Verbalization Had Problems with Regression or Re-Reading Focused on Concept and Content Rather than Each Word Avoided Distractions Read with Purpose Successfully Widened my Scope of Vision to ‘See’ More Words Timed Session Improved Time Compared to Last Practice Improved Recall and Comprehension Compared to Last Practice

No

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Pagina 52

Summary
At last, we have come to the end of the instruction period, and it is time now for you to put these techniques into practice. Try all of the methods and exercises I’ve given you here until you find one or more that work for you. Then use those methods for at least one month – preferably for two or three months – until you feel you have mastered them. Over this period, you will see improvement in your speed and in your retention. If you find yourself falling back into old habits, start again and practice the techniques until they feel natural and you can use them without thinking too much about them. Don’t be discouraged. If you are teaching your child, or children, how to speed read, be sure to use the techniques that work best for them. Don’t try to teach them adult methods. Remember, that they have not been reading the wrong way for as long as you have. They will learn more naturally and easily with techniques designed for children. After you review the techniques and exercises and select the ones that work best for you, and/or your child, the only thing you have to do is to practice. If you practice, you WILL improve. But, you must make the commitment. Reading may have been a bore and a chore in the past, but it doesn’t have to be that way! When Evelyn Woods first discovered the joy of reading quickly and with meaning, she entered an incredible world of imagination and ideas. Up until now, you may have felt you could not keep up with the reading you had to do for school, or job or even for pleasure. You may have purchased and abandoned many books. You may even have felt you would be lost in an endless cycle of reading and forgetting every book or magazine you buy. Great American Photo Contest – Do you think your baby is the cutest?

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I hope, by now, you know that there is another way! You CAN learn to read more quickly and more efficiently. And you WILL enjoy reading more. All you have to do is take the first step!

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Pagina 54

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