I thought about this on the way home, so here are my conclusions. I hope you find this helpful
Basically there are two strands to reading more quickly, the first strand includes the physical differences in technique to allow you to take in information more quickly. The second strand is composed of the mental techniques used to maintain the immersive quality of reading that most people enjoy at the more sedate pace they usually read. I have included here an outline of both strands.
- The first step is to use a guide for reading
. Just as you used either your finger
or a pencil
for assistance in concentration
when you were younger
, you must do so now. The difference is the speed at which you move the guide will be faster now. A common mistake
is to end up focusing
on the tip
of the guide, and not the words, but I don't think you will fall prey to this. The guide provides the single most dramatic increase in reading speed that is observable for most readers, so please try it.
- The second thing is that most people only read one word at a time. This is a mistake, as the human eye is capable of taking entire phrases quite comfortably, albeit after a little training. To see what I mean, try to read the following lines:
He walked away.
The darkness enveloped him.
As you can see, it isn't too bad. When moving onto real sentences, the trick is to notice word groups, and after you have mastered those, phrases which are separated by commas. Such as:
"To be or not to be, that is the question, be it nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?" - Hamlet, Shakespeare
Please note that connectives such as "and", "or", "then" can be used to divide phrases into manageable units. Most good writers use a style that allows readers to move through the text easily, and fluidly, assisting easy apprehension. I have found this as true in Marquez as Shakespeare.
- Leaping, this is where you move from concept to concept in the the text, kind of like jumping from stone to stone to get over a river, it reduces the amount of time spent on padding words, and allows a clearer idea of the meaning.
These are in general more difficult
than the physical strand, so are optional
. However without them the benefits of the physical strand do tend to fade away after a while and reading rates return to normal. The point of these are to assist in understanding
, and memorization
-Grounding. Look at a what you are about to read, and ask why am I reading it? What am I looking for? What do I expect? What topics are likely to be covered? What is the background? How does this add to my knowledge? Am I reading this for pleasure, contemplation, discussion, or just to kill time until bedtime? What am I likely to identify with in this book? What am I likely to object to?
All this may sound trivial, but it forms a vital framework for information in the book to attach itself to when you start reading. Slower readers can get by without this, as they often backtrack, skip ahead, or otherwise judder along, but chances are that you won't want to do this, so all these questions prepare your mind for the book and allow you to 'connect' with it.
-Skimming Overview- Casually glance over the coming paragraph, page, chapter, and see if any words and ideas catch your eye. This gives a basic structure for the material as you work through it, and when you reach one of these you will feel a burst of satisfaction, and achievement as the pieces of the book fit together.
- Review, After each section, pause for a moment, and consider what difference that bit made to the whole. Did it add? Clarify? Remove? Update? Introduce? Conceal? What happened in the section? Who was involved? With hindsight, are any patterns emerging in the text? Are you enjoying it?
And that's basically it. There's some more stuff but those are the important bits I think. Have lots of fun reading!