How much time do you think you spend “reading” each day? You may read the newspaper for world news, browse through the myriad emails you receive from colleagues, and then read books, reports, proposals, magazines, and letters. Yes! You have to spend a lot of time reading every day. If you look closely, you can see that reading can be a work-related skill that most of you often use. Most of us can read and understand writing before the age of 10-12, but does that mean we are good readers and know how to read fast ?!
Well, this is not necessarily the case. Given the time and space that reading takes up in our daily lives, it may be best to reinforce this skill in order to save both our time and our understanding of what we are reading better and more deeply.
But how can we become better readers? What does it mean to be a better reader? Better reading means faster and more efficient reading while understanding what you are reading. In this article, we will look at how to do this and how we can break down poor reading habits.
How do we read?
Although you spend a lot of time daily reading the posts, have you ever thought about the way you read? How do your eyes perceive the shape of the letters and then put those letters together to make a sentence that you can understand?
When you think about it, you see that reading is a very complex skill. Scientists used to believe that when you read a text, both eyes are focused on a specific word in a word. Recent research shows that this is not true.
Scientists now believe that each eye is fixed on only one different letter at a time, usually two separate characters. The brain then combines these images to make words. This happens instantly as we read pages of text quickly.
Benefits of speed reading
The average reading speed of most people is 250 words per minute. That means reading an average page of a book or text takes 1 to 2 minutes. So if you increase your speed to 500 words per minute, you can halve your reading time and spend the time you have saved on other tasks or spend more time resting and relieving stress.
Another advantage of speed reading is that you can better understand the overall structure of the discussion. This leads to a general understanding that there are many benefits to your job and career.
Speed reading is a useful and valuable skill. However, there are times when it is not appropriate to use this technique. For example, it is better to read important and challenging documents slowly so that you can fully understand the details.
Quit poor reading habits
Most people have at least one or more reading habits that slow them down. Becoming a better reader means overcoming bad habits and paving the way for trying new and effective reading methods.
Here are some common reading habits and things you can do to overcome them.
1. Mental expression
Mental expression is a habit according to which you say every word in your mind while reading. Most people do this to some degree.
When you have a mental expression, you “hear” the word being said in your mind. Mental expression is time consuming and there is no need to say the words in your mind!
Eliminating mental expression alone can significantly increase your reading speed. Otherwise, your reading will be limited to a speed that is about the speed of speaking, about 250 to 350 words per minute. The only way to remove this barrier is to refuse to say the words in your mind while reading.
To eliminate this sound in the mind, you must first make sure that it exists (how did you read the article so far?) And then you must practice not “expressing” it. When reading, tell yourself that you will not have mental expression. You need this exercise until you give up this bad habit. Reading words as a group also helps, as it is more difficult to mentally express a group of words. (Read the rest of the article to better understand.)
2. Read word for word
Word-for-word reading is not only slow, but when you focus on separate words, you often lose the general meaning of what is being said. People who read each word as a separate unit have less understanding of the content than those who read the words as a group. (Pay attention to the way your eyes move as you read this article. Do you read each single word, or do you read groups of two, three, four, or five words?)
As you practice, increase the number of words you read each time. You can keep the text a little further away, this will increase the number of words you read at a glance. The more words in each group, the faster you read the text.
3. Inefficient eye movement
Slow readers usually focus on each word and move each line slowly. The eye covers less than 4 cm at a time, which is 4 or 5 words on a normal screen. The problem is that most readers do not use their lateral perspective to see the words at the end of each line.
To solve this problem, keep your gaze calm and gentle while reading. By relaxing and expanding your gaze, you can see the group of words instead of seeing each word as a separate unit. As you master this, your eyes will move faster on the screen.
As you approach the end of each line, let your side view become more active to see the last set of words. This way you can quickly look at the whole line to the next line.
4. Go back
Going back is an unnecessary re-reading of the content.
Sometimes people have a habit of constantly going back and reading the words as they read them, although sometimes they may go back a few sentences to make sure they have read them correctly. When you go back in this way, you lose the flow and structure of the text and your overall understanding of the subject decreases.
Be careful not to go back and re-read the content unless you really have to.
To reduce the number of times the eyes go back, move the pointer along the line you are reading. This pointer can be your finger, a pen, or a piece of paper. Your eyes will follow the tip of the pointer and help you to avoid going backwards. The speed of your reading with this method depends mainly on the speed of the pointer.
5. Poor concentration
You must have noticed that when the TV is on and you are trying to read a text, it is difficult to focus on the words, let alone understand the many sentences that are next to each other. Reading should take place in an environment where distractions are kept to a minimum.
To increase concentration while reading, avoid doing several things at the same time and eliminate all distractions. This is especially important because when you use word grouping and mind-stopping techniques, you may have read several pages before realizing that you did not understand something properly.
Also look at the “internal distractions.” If you are still thinking about your football team losing yesterday, or thinking about what to make for dinner, your ability to process information will decrease.
Mental expression actually forces your brain to pay attention to what you are reading, which is why people often say that they can read and watch TV at the same time. To become a true reader, you must avoid this.
6. Tendency to read linearly
We are taught to move each word, sentence, paragraph, and page in order. But when you do, you care about complementary and key content and unnecessary content.
To solve this problem, look for bold and prominent titles and sentences on each page. No law book says that “you should read the text the way the author wrote it,” so take a brief look at the pages and determine what is necessary and what is unnecessary. Read the trivialities superficially and pay attention only to the key points.
As you read, look for extras that the authors have added to the text to make their writing interesting and engaging. If you understand the main point, you do not need to read the example or its description. Specify what needs to be read. Reading an important paragraph twice is much better than reading the other eight paragraphs that describe the same concept.
The keys to success in speed reading
Knowing how to read fast is just the first step. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. Here are some tips to help you break down poor reading habits and master the speed reading skills discussed above.
- Practice, practice and practice. You need to use your skills regularly. Learning to read takes several years, and improving reading skills takes time.
- Start with easy content. Do not use challenging text when you start reading fast. Read something like a novel or travelogue so you can quickly understand and enjoy it.
- Read fast correctly. Not everything is suitable for speed reading. For example, legal documents, draft annual reports, or even e-mails you receive from loved ones should be read in their entirety and with mental expression.
- If you have to fully understand a message, memorize it, discuss its details, analyze it thoroughly, or, as the author intended, enjoy prose, speed reading is the wrong approach. (In this case, choosing the right reading strategy before you start will help.)
- Use a pointer or other tool to speed up your reading. When you move your pointer or finger over the text, you force your eyes and brain to move.
- Take a step back and use the text structure. This includes reading information superficially to get acquainted with the structure and arrangement of the text, searching for keywords and titles, and searching for ways in which the author moves from one topic to another.
- When you start speed reading, it is best to use your current reading speed as a benchmark. This way you can tell if your workout has worked or not. Of course, there are also sites and software that you can use to gauge your progress, and by saying that you can read faster, you can impress your friends and family!
There are many strategies you can use to improve your reading skills as well as your comprehension.
SQ3R articles and browsing techniques will both help you boost your memory and teach you how to read correctly.
Having the right information is as important as reading it correctly. In our article, Gathering Information, you will learn how to gather information more effectively.