Speed Reading – Breaking Old Habits

Unlike other skills we seem to have mastered as we grew up, reading and comprehension seem to be something we take for granted. If we read at normal speeds of around 120 words a minute with good comprehension we think that is enough. Think about it though, how many times have you read something and then had to go back and read it again because it just didn’t sink in? Speed reading is a skill anyone can learn

Maybe you thought the claims that people who teach speed reading give – the ability to read 600 or more words a minute with better comprehension, were just more ways for people to get suckered in to buying another new fad or “self-improvement” project that doesn’t work. Research has held up to support the claims that those who have taken speed reading courses or seminars from reputable people actually are able to increase their comprehension and memory, as well as be able to read faster. It is not another pig-in-a-poke.

There are, indeed, a number of different speed reading programs available. Depending on what you want to accomplish, and the type of reading you do, you can choose the ones that will benefit you. Some show you how to skim the page and take out the highlights of what is there. Their emphasis is on speed, and it is fine if you are just reading things that contain a lot of fill (junk). There are others that have you read the first and last paragraphs of each section, and skim over the middle, believing the most information is at the beginning and end of each paragraph. This may be true, but if you have to know details you will need to read the entire paragraph because the first and last paragraphs are simply summaries.

The best speed reading courses are built to strengthen eye movement and help you to eliminate the bad reading habits you learned while growing up. As children we are taught to read one word at a time and sound them out as we go. That works well as we are learning, but many adults still use this process today, although they sound the words out mentally. That takes up a lot of excess time and brainpower.

By training your eyes to take in more area of a page at a time you are able to send more information to your brain to process. You are taking in the whole picture, and what your eyes see they send a signal to your brain. You don’t have to concentrate on each word or letter to visualize the word.

The biggest challenge to anyone learning speed reading is the “sub-vocalization,” or sounding out the words as you read. Once we realize that we do it we have to train ourselves not to. With speed reading you retrain your brain by eliminating the aloud processing of every letter or word. Your brain will be learning to recognize only the words important to the material being read without the need to hear them in your head. Only the words that are important to the context of the material become part of the comprehension process. You would be amazed at the speed you will pick up when you stop talking in your head (at 200-300 words a minute) and simply process what you read.

You also eliminate the need to go back and read the material again. You get it the first time!

Speed reading is not something you will learn overnight. It requires practice, concentration, and the ability to relearn how to read until it becomes second nature. Once it is learned you will be amazed at how much more you can read and understand, and how much it has improved their memory skills.

I am Ron White, a two-time USA Memory Champion, memory training expert and memory keynote speaker, and I believe one of the best tools you can learn to increase your memory is speed reading.

 

 

Sources:

ArticleBase.com – Comprehension and the Art of Speed Reading by Francis Hesse:http://www.articlesbase.com/time-management-articles/comprehension-and-the-art-of-speed-reading-480366.html

Mind Tools – Speed Reading, Learning to Read more efficiently: http://www.mindtools.com/speedrd.html

 

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