Reading is the greatest ability, a complex psychological process, 100% mental work. From the outside, this may seem easy, but if you look at how difficult reading lessons are for kids, how hard it is for a person to master a skill after suffering injuries and brain disorders, it becomes clear that this is a lot of work.
The motor, auditory and visual centers of the frontal lobes of the cortex, as well as the speech zones of the dominant hemisphere, are synchronously involved in reading.
Features of the speed reading technique
Reading speed is not just a desirable quality for many people, but also an excellent psychophysiological test. To turn black and white icons into meaningful information, the brain strains, decodes the characters. The more a person reads, the more this process accelerates. For people with speed reading, it takes the smallest fraction of a second, but for people with poor reading skills, they have to pronounce the words to themselves.
Knowing that even intellectual games (for example, chess) do not exceed reading in terms of the efficiency of the thought process, one wants to read quickly, a lot, literally grasping information on the fly. And this really can be learned.
Speed reading is a skill that is achieved primarily through practice. And you need to start training it with a simple action: do not pronounce the words to yourself, but simply slide your eyes over the lines. At first it seems difficult, it is difficult to follow the meaning, but gradually everything falls into place.
And (there’s no getting away from it) speed reading is about the quality and quantity of reading. If you open a book once a week, don’t expect high results.
Experts give the following advice on accustoming yourself to reading a lot:
- read in transport, in line to the doctor, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, while the soup is being cooked — so the forced time of “downtime” you do not just while away, but spend it with benefit;
- telephones and computers — the same books, electronic “readers” may not be visually, by sensations, but the principle of information entering the brain is the same;
- do not be lazy to re-read books, return to your favorite works of youth;
- do not try to master the list of “100 books that everyone should read”, it’s just a race, the quality of reading can suffer greatly during it;
- be sure to read any poems (but better — good ones), this develops memory, makes the brain work even more intensively and has a good psycho-emotional effect on a person.
In short, the first step to speed reading is multi-reading. Replace the endless surfing of social networks with a good book and you will not turn your brain into an information trash.
Speed reading is necessary for so that you do not spend a lot of time on one book, but can read a whole stack of useful and interesting works in a month. And if you start reading several books in parallel, then, relatively speaking, you will write out a golden card for your brain in the “intellectual simulator”.
There are a lot of speed reading methods: you can start with any one that is most attractive to you. The main rule is to read every day. You can work with dynamic reading, with diagonal reading — each technique involves a number of simple tricks. They allow you to read the text quickly and with understanding.
Speed up your reading
The first step is subvocalization suppression. You may not read the text aloud, but inside you still pronounce it. If you are asked to read a passage of text in 1 minute, you are unlikely to be able to say more than 180 words during this time. But when the speed of perception of literal information increases, then you will not be able to quickly pronounce words, and subvocalization will interfere with the teaching of speed reading.
How to get rid of the internal pronunciation of the text:
- while reading, just press your tongue to the sky;
- clamp the tip of the pencil with your teeth;
- put your finger on your lips.
It takes time to master this skill, but watch your reading every day.
The next step is the rejection of regressions. This means that you should not return to read fragments. The easiest way to do this is to lead along the lines with your finger (as in the first grade). Readers may have special programs that highlight text with color. Over time, you will realize that the following text will help the brain fill in the gaps if you missed something on the previous pages.
Increasing the concentration of attention also helps to increase the pace of reading. And it’s a great workout too. A simple example: print the names of colors on a sheet, but to “confuse” the brain, highlight them with other colors. For example, print the word “red” in blue and the word “white” in orange. And the training of concentration of attention lies in the fact that you need to say out loud not a word, but the color in which it is printed.
Also useful in increasing the pace of reading are special applications that develop peripheral vision. You only need to train on one line, where words with a letter highlighted in a certain color in the middle appear at different speeds. So a person learns to perceive the word as a whole.
Give up bad habits
Reading is work. It can be pleasant, exciting, inspiring, loved, but it is still work. You can learn to read quickly only if you have a high concentration on the goal. And the main enemy on this path is the habit of being distracted.
What hinders reading:
- multitasking — if you read, then at the same time you don’t need to climb social networks, look into instant messengers and get distracted by coffee too often;
- linking the ritual of reading to food, for example: of course, you will pick up a book more often if you do it in the process of eating, but it is better not to form such associative connections (it is dangerous for the figure, and the quality of reading suffers);
- poor conditions — insufficient lighting, uncomfortable posture, late hours of the day lead to the fact that your health worsens and this forces you to pick up a book or “reader” less often;
- lack of pleasant rituals — for a start they are necessary, it can be a burning aroma candle, cozy pajamas, silence in the house.
help you and reader diaries. Get yourself a beautiful notebook in which you will be a literary critic.
Write a little about each book you read: impressions, emotions, strong points, your reflections. This fuels interest in reading and, again, pumps the brain.
Change the way you read
You can review the material before reading. This will form an idea of the content of the text and even become an assessment of whether you should take on the reading. And to preview the material, try reading the entire first paragraph, the first sentence of each subsequent paragraph, and the entire last paragraph.
How else to change the way you read:
- pay attention to headings, highlighted words and bulleted lists — this does not give a complete understanding of the text, but it structures it well, a plan for reading important points is already forming in your head;
- look for the main words — isolating key words helps to capture the essence of the material without being distracted by details (when studying large amounts of information for an exam or test, this is a very valuable skill);
- skip those parts of the text that you already know;
- connect the ideas of the text with those things that you already know;
- use a highlighter when reading (this applies mainly to educational literature).
Using the highlighted words in the text, you can restore its meaning, main thoughts, and this will be an excellent support when answering the exam.
Tim Ferriss method
Tim Ferriss, author of “How to Work 4 Hours a Week…” developed a technique that triples your reading speed. And the whole methodology, in fact, consists of two defining techniques.
- Pencil. It’s simple — while reading, you use a pencil, which helps you follow the text and which also sets the pace. This helps not to jump over the lines with your eyes, not to return to what you read (refusal of regression).
- Not at first. Start each new line in the text not with the first, but at least with the third word. And finish reading the line also three words before it ends. Try to think of the rest of the words using the context, or even better, capture them with peripheral vision. Even if the meaning eludes you at first, persevere with it—the eyes need to adjust to the new reading speed. In time, understanding will come.
It is noteworthy that the first technique helps to master the second. Untrained readers, Ferriss says, spend a lot of time reading in the margins. And they spend 20% of their reading time on a section of the page with zero information.
To read fluently, easily, attentively, maintaining a rhythm is an excellent goal. It will suit an adult, but schoolchildren can also try to train the skill.
There are 10 great speed reading exercises.
- Reading with a pointer. The pencil method is basic, so you can’t get away from it. And in order not to feel like a schoolboy (if you are not a schoolboy), replace the pencil, for example, with a sushi stick, a brush, a skewer. This simple exercise boosts reading speed.
- “Green Dot” In the center of the page with any text, draw a green dot, look at it for 10 minutes. Mentally imagine this point even before going to bed, even with your eyes closed while lying in bed. And do this concentration on the point daily for 7–10 days. After that, start looking at the text that surrounds the dot. You don’t need to read the words — you just need to see them.
- Read upside down. Cheerful children’s fun perfectly trains the brain and promotes speed reading. Try reading a sentence first, then a paragraph, then two.
- Print any unfamiliar text. Seal some of its places (small, not wider than 1 cm) with colored stickers. Read the text to yourself, restoring it in your mind. In the next lesson, glue more fragments already.
- Map the text in your mind. To do this, just skim through the page, take a look around it. Your brain has already begun to memorize the text.
- Before you storm the text, remember everything you already know about this topic.. It is only interesting what is already comparable with experience, with the information available. Therefore, interest must be aroused by a preliminary assessment of existing knowledge.
- Take any text, draw a wavy line on the page (two bends). You can use a pointer to help you move your eyes while reading. When there is a feeling that the eye is able to catch most of the words, the general line can be straightened.
- Read without short words. There are such simulators: the program automatically removes prepositions, pronouns, interjections from the text. And you need to read this text.
- Read texts written backwards. Etyatich ytsket, eynnasipan modaz derepan.
- Read texts that are missing letters. The brain will begin to build words, and this is also a great way to train speed reading. It could also be poetry.
High Memory Reading Technologies
How great it is not only to be able to read a lot and quickly, but also to remember what you read. And in this case, you need to understand that the prerogative will be the training of attention. This is the key concept of a high level of memorization.
Characteristics of attention factors:
- concentration — the level of your concentration;
- resilience shows how long you can concentrate;
- switching attention — how quickly you can change the object of concentration;
- volume - the number of items captured by attention, provided they are quickly presented.
The daily mandatory norm of attention is 2–3 newspapers, 1 magazine, 100–150 pages of any book.
Now consider the most interesting technologies of reading with memorization.
- Retelling. Read a page of any text at your maximum speed. Put the book aside. Retell what you read aloud. If you do this, then the likelihood that after 3–7 days you will remember what you read is high. If you ignore the retelling, the residual information after a week can be a couple of lines.
- Accustom yourself to work with text manually for the first time. Highlights, underlining, strokes of important places in the text are used. If you are also a visual person, this is a particularly valuable habit for you. It is better to memorize information by dividing it (main thoughts, important clarifications), and the highlighted fragments are easier to remember visually.
- Read a page of text very quickly. Try (you can in front of a mirror) to remember the content of the first paragraph, and then the last. Read the text again. Write on a piece of paper 5–6 theses of the text, which allow not only to understand its meaning, but serve as a support for retelling.
- Make it a good habit to memorize poetry. This is suitable for both adults and children. The standard norm is one poem per week (at least 5 “columns”). For children, this is one of the best memory trainings, as well as the development of speech, an emotional attitude to reading, etc. Adults, too, after a couple of months of weekly memorization of verses, will notice that their memory has improved. Surprisingly, the reading speed will also increase.
- Read at night. In a calm, quiet environment, without “seasoning” reading with something tasty, without turning on the TV in the background. 30–60 minutes of concentrated reading. Then take a shower and go to sleep immediately. And in the morning, try to reproduce what you read to yourself. This helps a lot — the text is remembered in detail.
- Write summaries. Repeat this school exercise 2–3 times a week. Reading an article, one page of a book, or one part of a training paragraph. Read quickly, once, and then write a summary of this text (you can also print it). The point is not that you have to write close to the text, but in the conscious replacement of words with synonyms, the restructuring of the text. This exercise will allow you to learn how to read in such a way that information is remembered not as it appears in the text, but in a way that is more convenient for you to understand and reproduce.
There are little secrets that you might not know about before that will help you succeed in speed reading.
- Half an hour a day is a must. This is the minimum you should never deviate from. Over time, you will see that time management may need to be worked on. Count how much time you spend on social media, browsing news sites, and watching videos. The answer may amaze you, and after that it will be embarrassing to say that there is no time left for reading.
- Read books on links. For example, you are interested in the history of Ancient Egypt. Pick 5–6 books recommended by experts on this topic and read them in a month. Firstly, you get versatile information, not limited to one source. Secondly, you learn to analyze, compare, draw conclusions. Thirdly, appetite comes with eating — I want to read more.
- Take pictures of books read in a given period. A stack of books on the table — and a photo. And keep these pictures in a separate folder. Subconsciously, you will want to increase the stack. If you read e‑books, make lists of what you read for a month, a year, and also take pictures.
- Have an open bookshelf at home. This technique is especially useful for children. Books on this shelf are placed not spine first, but cover. The child sees not the “barrel” of the book, but its cover, and this in itself attracts, forces him to take the book in his hands.
- If you want to teach your child to read, the most effective method is very simple — read for yourself.. If a child sees that parents often sit at home with a book, he will inevitably copy parental behavior. If you are content only with moralizing and examples from your childhood, this does not work.
- First the book, then the movie. Sometimes it can be the other way around. But the first option is more interesting and more useful for the brain. When you read a text, you visualize it in your head, construct it, and carry out serious mental work. And then you can compare your views and how the director saw it.
- Get started today. Do not rely on Monday, New Year, vacation. Pick up a book today and start reading. Knowledge is not superfluous, mental work is new neural connections.
And also remember that many scientists, professors, Nobel laureates are long-livers. Perhaps because their brain is constantly looking for new things, learning new things and exploring. And reading is the most accessible option for such brain training.