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Simple speed-reading experiments

Two vertical lines

If you use a glass 'anti-glare' screen, draw 2 vertical lines in felt-tip, 5 cm. apart, so that you have a strip 5 cm. wide located over the middle of the text you are reading.

Now move your eyes in a 'Z' pattern down this central strip, at a speed faster slightly faster than is comfortable. Because your Mind is not reading each word, it is forced to 'fill in the gaps'. This engages much more of the Mind, since it has to build associations and patterns in the written material. This in turn leads to greater comprehension and increased memory of what was read. This technique takes advantage of the fact that much of written English is highly redundant; a lot of words can be skipped without any loss of meaning.


Active speed reading

When you are reading a document in detail, it often helps if you highlight, underline and annotate it as you go on. This emphasizes information in your mind, and helps you to review important points later. If you are worried about destroying the material, ask yourself how much your investment of time is worth. If the benefit you get by active reading reasonably exceeds the value of the book, then the book is disposable. Doing this also helps to keep your mind focused on the material and stops it wandering. If you find that active reading helps, then it may be worth photocopying information in more expensive texts. You can then read and mark the photocopies.


Breathing while speed reading

Breathing is a good way to improve reading rate. Try to take solid deep breaths instead of short quick breaths. This will allow you to calm down and try to read with more concentration.


Think for a moment, what were the best

You were taught to read with your tongue because you were taught to read by being taught to speak. Want to enjoy what you read? Think for a moment, what were the best books you've ever read in your life? The ones you enjoyed the most?

I'm going to bet they were the best books for you because your imagination was totally engrossed in the book. Thus your brain was working at a much higher capacity when you were using your imagination.


How to instantly improve your reading speed

Before reading a difficult piece of writing, take a few moments to close your eyes and relax while taking two or three deep breaths. Say to yourself that you can read with full concentration, recognize key information, and achieve high comprehension quickly to accomplish your needs. Believe you can, and you will.

This may simply sound like "positive mental attitude." Yet if you do not purposefully affirm the positive, you may be shutting off your true capacities by subtle anxieties about the task.

For example, if the material is dense and difficult to read, any anxiety about getting through it can cause lowered performance. The secret is to see the material simply as new and different, not dense and difficult...and be relaxed about it. Early confusion can create curiosity that guides you to search for and recognize the information you need. Your comprehension and overall reading performance can increase--all with just a few seconds of preparation.


Read first sentence

Since often the first sentence of each paragraph states the main idea of that paragraph, while the other sentences elaborate on that idea, you can skim read by just reading the first sentences. In some cases, you can get enough information by only reading the first sentence from each paragraph.

Unfortunately, some writers make their paragraphs so long, that they have several ideas in them, and others stick the important sentences in the middle. In such cases, you can't use the first sentence method effectively.


Read the words back to front

Ability to concentrate on the problem is one of the constituent parts of the successful mental work.

Try to train your ability to concentrate by means of mental reading of the words in back to front position.

When you mentally read a word back to front you should imagine it by the letters and then to read these letters. For example �word� - �draw�, �tell� - �let�. If your consciousness is distracted on a strange object, you instantly loose the thread of reading and you have to make the exercise again. In that way you can train your attention.

These exercises can be done in the public transport to make the most of the uselessly loosing time to your benefit.

Begin with the simple words consisting of four letters. Gradually try to deal with longer words.


How to increase the speed read

In this activity students have 60 seconds to read as much material as they can. They are then given an additional 60 seconds to read again from the beginning of the text. They must read more material during the second 60-second period than in the first. The drill is repeated a third and fourth time.

The purpose of this activity is to read  again "old" material, gliding into the "new." As their eyes move quickly over the old material, students actually learn how to process the material more quickly. The exercise does not really emphasize moving the eyes quickly; instead, the material should be processed and comprehended more efficiently. As students participate in this rate building activity, they learn that indeed they can increase their reading rates.


Psychology of speed reading