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Can't seem to finish a book before it has to go back to the library? Can't remember that much of what you read? Is reading a confusing and unpleasant experience? Well, here is some information to help you improve your general and speed reading skills.
Improving reading skills
Attention/Presence: You can learn anything if you pay attention! Reading takes effort and you must make the effort. The preview, questioning, eye-movement and other methods mentioned below will help you pay attention and get more involved with the reading material. Preview the Chapter: By doing a preview on each chapter as you go along, you will organize your mind before you begin to read, build a structure for the thoughts and details to come, you will be able to sort, understand and remember the information better. Here's how to preview a chapter when information retention and speed is important: o Preview Time: Take 30 to 60 seconds to do a preview o Formulate Questions: Mentally formulate questions about the chapter as set out in the following points. For study purposes, these questions can be noted down for doing a review after reading the chapter. These questions make you goal-oriented, give you something to look for, to find out. Having a clear goal, you are likely to reach it. o Title: Formulate the title into a question o Important Points: Question what the most important points are by looking at all the headings, subheadings and marked, italic, boldface or coloured print. o Intro/Summary: Question how the chapter fits the most important points o Images: Question what point do the images make? Look over any graphics, charts, maps, diagrams, pictures or illustrations. o Overview Text: Skim over the passage, reading the first and last paragraph and glancing at the first sentence of every other paragraph. Read: Read each section of the chapter with your questions in mind. Look for the answers, and take note of questions you didn't think of that were answered in that section. Skip Selectively: Be selective about what you read. You are not cheating by reading selective sections from a textbook, in fact, lecturers recommend it. Most textbooks are not designed to be read cover to cover. Questioning Manner: Read the passage in a questioning manner - as if you were seaching for something. This improves retention of the information. Breaks: When you read for study purposes, stop after each section of reading, think about your questions, and see if you can answer them from memory. Eye Stops: When we read, our eyes must make small stops along the line. Poor readers make many, many more eyestops than good readers. Read in phrases of three or four words - meaning is easier to pull from groups of words rather than from individual words. Re-reading phrases: Re-reading the same phrase over and over again doubles or triples reading time without resulting in better comprehension. Work on paying
closer attention the first time you read. For difficult text, do a very careful preview first and do not reread. Vocalizing: Reading fast involves only the eyes and the brain. Vocalizing is the actual moving of your lips, and subvocalizing is talking to yourself in your head as you silently read. You will slow down to the point where you read as fast as you speak, about 250 words per minute. Vocalization ties reading to actual speaking. Reading is as if you were looking at a landscape, a panorama of ideas, rather than looking at the rocks at your feet. Varying Reading Rates : Vary your reading rate to suit the difficulty and type of writing of the text. Poor readers always read at the same slow rate. An efficient reader speeds up for easier material and slows down for the hard. Here are some different types of materials: o Very Difficult Text: Some very difficult text were not meant to be read quickly at all, like legal material. o Easier Material: Magazines and newspapers can be read quickly o Poetry and Plays: These were meant to be spoken out loud orally and is not really experienced if you "speed read" the text, it often requires some vocalization. o Scripture: Scripture were written for an intelligent, but illiterate audience Summarise: Finally for information retention, close the book and question what the author's purpose is.
Improving speed reading skills
Reading speed has no known theoretical limit. A speed of between 800 and 1200 wpm can comfortably be reached by permanent speed readers, without any constant practise and drilling. Reading speed varies according to the complexity of the reading material, type, face, print quality, grammar, style etc. Anybody can learn how to speed read, regardless of their IQ and age. Speed reading methods help a good reader to read much faster and better in very little time. Once you have mastered the speed reading techniques, you cannot loose the skill. Speed reading entails a handful of easy methods that helps focus your attention better. Posture and Position: It is important that you sit up straight, hold the book down with your left hand, and use your right hand to do the pacing. Reading Experience: You should have a solid basic reading experience before you attempt to speed read, or you will experience problems in comprehension and vocabulary. Research/Survey: Get a general idea of what you will be covering and of the type of writing. Choose a Pacing Method: You may find that one method is more suitable for a particular type of book. Find the one that works best. Comprehension: Comprehension of the text will not good if the reader is taught to read all different types of material as fast as they can. Comprehension, speed and
fluency depend on what you are reading and how well you can focus active attention on meaning. Practice Pacing Methods: It takes about three or four session before you get accustomed to a particular pacing method. Enjoyment: Speed reading allows you to read at speeds closer to thinking speed, with greater concentration, for longer periods, supported by fewer reading irritations thus enchancing the enjoyment of reading. Pacing methods Your eye gets drawn to motion on the page as you pace yourself, here are a few methods: Hand
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Place your dominant hand on the page and slowly move it straight down the page, drawing your eyes down as you read. Your eyes may not be exactly where your hand is, but this simple motion will help you go faster. Keep an even, slow motion, as if your right hand has its own mind. Keep the movement slow and easy. Only do it once per page. Use a card above the line of print to block the words after you have read them. Draw the card down the page slowly and evenly and try to read the passage before you cover the words up. This helps break you of the habit of reading and reading a passage over and over again. It makes you pay more attention the first time. Be sure to push the card down faster than you think you can go. Slide the card down once per page. Use your hand to help draw your eyes across the page. Slighty cup your right hand. Keep your fingers together. With a very light and smooth motion, sweep your fingers from left to right, underlining the line with the tip of your tallest finger from about an inch in and an inch out on each line. Use your whole arm to move, balancing on your arm muscle. Imagine that you are dusting off salt from the page. Similar to the sweep method is the hop, but in the hop you actually lift your fingers and make two even bounces on each line. Each time you bounce, you are making a fixation which hopefully catches sets of three or four words. Moving to a hop method also makes it easier to keep a steady pace as it is a lot like tapping our fingers on a desk. Balance on your arm muscle, don't just wiggle your wrist.
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Zig-Zag or Loop o Text Type: This is a way to help you get a general idea of easy material and is not recommend for material that requires very careful reading. o Take your hand and cut across the text diagonally about three lines and then slide back to the next line. o You don't have to see each word, but to scan the entire area, letting your mind pick out the main ideas.
Benjine Gerber, Author, Systems developer email@example.com www.self-educate.com
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