How to speed read and comprehend more
A question that I often hear is "how could I read over 1500 words per minute and
still comprehend what I am reading?" Another question often asked is "does speed reading really work?" This article
will attempt to answer these two questions.
Reading is making meaning from print. If your mind is not engaged in making
meaning when you are applying speed reading techniques, then you are not actually reading. The word reading, always
assumes some level of comprehension.
Speed readingThere are two primary
aspects of speed reading. The first is improving the actual mechanics of reading. That happens with eye
movement techniques. In fact, it is possible to physically move your eyes and see all the words on the page at
rates of 10,000 - 100,000 words per minute. Any speed reading program will contain this aspect. But
unfortunately, in many programs this is all that is trained.
Reading comprehensionThe second aspect of speed
reading is comprehension. Comprehension is the mind generating understanding from the text on the page. In effect,
reading is thinking. You can read as fast as your mind can respond to the print. To truly speed read, you need to
learn how to increase the speed at which your mind processes information.
Does speed reading really work?
To answer this question, "does speed reading really work?" I would respond "no,
you need to work it!" That means there are ways to train your brain to respond differently as you accelerate your
reading speed. What I have found that works best is to teach people wanting to increase speed and comprehension is
to teach the mechanics first with some level of comprehension. The key is relaxing during this initial skill
building stage and not be overly concerned with memorising.
After you are more comfortable with the physical/mechanical skills of reading
faster, then focus on building comprehension skills. When you have broken out of the old habits you have
accumulated in the past, you are then able to monitor what your mind is doing as you don't have to think as much
about the eye mechanics.
Reading strategies that engage the whole brainOne of the keys to comprehension is preparing the mind for reading. There are a wide assortment
of tools to help you with this phase of training. The comprehension approach moves you from the traditional left
brain approach that you previously utilised and engage your whole brain, in other words you learn how to activate
the right hemisphere as well. One way of helping to do this is looking through the material in a manner that gives
you the '30,000 foot view' instead of the word-by-word view people are taught when first learning to
From that 'high' view, you then learn to navigate at various levels depending on
your needs and purposes. Nevertheless remember, comprehension requires your mind to engage with the print. As your
eyes are moving through the material, ask yourself, "what am I thinking about?" If it has nothing to do with the
print, then you are not reading, you are doing something else. Bring your focus back to the print. Learn how to
build better comprehension by monitoring what your mind is thinking about.
By following these simple steps, your capacity to read faster increases and your
comprehension improves as well. Also you will benefit by increasing your vocabulary at the same time. You will be
able to understand the printed language better and this will translate into faster reading time, thus increasing
speed and comprehension.
Jones Taylor - Jones is a speed reading expert and author of Speed Reding
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