What is Speed Reading?
Speed reading can be best defined as the process of quickly identifying and understanding as well as retaining phrases and/or sentences of any given page, all at the same time. It is the fine balance between comprehension and pace. The average rate at which most people read allows them to process 250 words in a minute. Some people, however, have a natural tendency to read much faster than others. Learning to speed read can help double this rate.
The volume of information we have access to in this day and age is infinite. And there is tremendous pressure of always staying in the loop, be it at work or on social sites or the books we read. Learning to speed read can help you sift through important information in less time and keeps you well informed at all times.
Speed Reading Techniques
When you begin to learn speed reading, try to read each line in about one second. Gradually increase your speed with every subsequent page. In the beginning, you may find that you are not able to retain all the information you have read through. Don't let this discourage you. As your brain trains better, your retention and comprehension will improve.
Mentioned below are a few techniques that will help you learn to speed read with ease.
· Pointer Method
· Track and Pace Method
· Previewing Method
Pointer method involves sweeping a finger underneath the line of text that is being read. It is also called meta guiding or hand pacing. Another way to use the pointer method is by holding a flat object such as a piece of paper or a card under the line that is being read and dragging it down the page as you read further.
Track and Pace Method
Track and Pace method is quite similar to the Pointer Method. Instead of sweeping the text with a finger, a pen is used. Focus on the text above the pen. This method helps increase the speed at which each line is read and improves focus on words. Whether or not you underline the words with the pen, as you read them is up to you.
The previewing method entails rapidly moving eyes down the text on the page. While doing so, identify specific phrases or keywords. The key words or phrases are usually found in the first line or sentence of every paragraph. Keywords can be trigger ideas and words idea or even a name or a number. In the previewing method you don't read each word, but with sufficient training, you will find that your eye lands on important word that will allow you to figure out the key idea.
Why should I speed read? What are the benefits?
1. It boosts your confidence
Speed reading allows you to go through a lot of information in very little time. This helps you stay updated at all times. Your knowledge base widens and you become more resourceful. You are sure of facts as you have read them. This helps create a great impression in the work environment as well as social situation, leading to a positive impact on your confidence.
2. Creates better employment opportunities
If you are looking for a new job or you have your eye set on the promotion, you need to be different than the rest. While formal education of an advanced level can help you with that, having a few other degrees or certification in specialized fields relevant to the opportunity you are seeking, will be feathers in your hat. With the help of speed reading, you can breeze through the syllabus/coursework.
3. Improves memory and creativity
Reading at a fast pace helps you grasp, comprehend and retain a lot of information. This improves your understanding. When you understand a concept or a topic, you are more likely to remember it, thus enhancing your memory. Memory is considered an element of creativity. Better memory leads to greater creativity.
4. Reduced stress level
In today’s age, we have access to copious amounts of information. Everyone around us is trying to get so much done in so little time. This leads to multi-tasking and by that extension, leads to divided attention causing overall inefficiency and increase in stress levels. Speed reading automatically improves your focus. A keen focus has equivalent benefits of meditation. It calms you and has a therapeutic effect leading to the controlled stress level.
5. Clearer thought process
Speed reading positively affects the neuroplasticity of the brain. This helps the brain in mapping new connections resulting in creative thinking and greater problem-solving ability with better analysis. This helps in achieving a clearer thought process thereby helping you combine and connect ideas that are imperative for innovation.
One of the essential tips to keep in mind when you are a beginner is that it would help a great deal if you create an ambiance with as fewer distractions and interruptions as possible. You can try to cover words you have already read so your eyes aren’t drawn back to those words again. As a beginner, it would serve well to read through a simple and uncomplicated article or novel in order to figure out which speed reading technique you are most comfortable with. Take a moment to gauge what and how much you have remembered or comprehended. You can clock your speed with the help of a timer to keep track of your progress. The only way to get better at speed reading is through a lot of practice.
Though the benefits of speed reading are immense, one should be careful not to speed read through legal, technical and other important documents as there is a chance of missing out on vital information in the sifting process. It would also be advisable to slow your pace of reading when going through material that is new or you are unfamiliar with, or if you need to teach/explain the content to someone after reading it.
About the Author:
Jimmy is an avid reader and is passionate about the skill of speed reading. Jimmy is the founder of My Speed Reading, a blog which is all about tips and strategies to improve your reading speed. You can visit Jimmy at his website https://myspeedreading.com.