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How to Read Fast - Advanced Techniques

Updated on February 27, 2013

Question for you!

Would you sacrifice the "beauty" of a text in order to read it faster?

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As I said in my previous hub, you would put a piece of cardboard or something bellow the line you'd like to read, and then just move it again one line at a time.


Now, for the next stage, you should remove the cardboard and start reading more lines at the same time. A paragraph would be very good to begin with. Place your index finger and slowly move it downwards, trying to read 2-3 lines at once. It might pay off to follow the text with your finger, it in a wave-like motion. So, the finger should help your eyes to focus.

This next thing gets pretty interesting; in time, your gaze will not follow all the text, but rather it will focus itself on the key words. The reason for this is that the understanding of a text is unhindered even if you would remove 50 to 75% of the words. Now, while this aspect is obviously debatable, it also makes way for a bigger problem. The words that could be discarded would prove to be useless with regards to the information within the text. And so, it is been said that if you read less words, you would better understand a text, because the connections and associations of information are made much more easily. Therefore, you obtain an overall view on the subject at hand, and so it is pointless to waste time on reading words that are additional to the text. But again, while this may help you to shave some seconds/minutes from your time, I would not recommend it, because you would strip the text of its beauty.

Moving on to the second point, the speed of the reading is proportionate with its difficulty. But once you acquired the idea of the paragraph, you would obviously move faster. In some cases, the reading is extremely quick; the readings that do not interest you, or the ones which you already know, shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, depending on the size of the text.

Skip the passages and the chapters that are not interesting. In the world of knowledge, there are so many books, that a whole life would not be enough to read them. Thus, discard all the boring things!

The Final Stage

Now, this is the thing that poses a great amount of trouble to all of the fast readers, and that is the inner voice. Usually, one can "hear" what he is reading, as if an inside voice is speaking to them. This is very bad for a fast reader, because, being fast is all about the speed, right?

Experiments have shown that the understanding of a text is not hindered when one suppresses his mental repetition. This means that a word can be understood even if you do not speak it. Moreover, when one's attention is focusing on every word, the left hemisphere becomes more active, while the right one shuts down.

Much more difficult than expanding one's visual field is fighting against this mental repetition within one's head. This, obviously, can be overcome through training. It is called "ideographic reading", which means it is purely visual. After you developed your peripheral eye sight, so, after you considerably increased your speed of reading, try and practice this visual reading. In order to do so, try and count in your head as you read. Of course, the degree of understanding the text in this stage is severely impaired, but this helps. In time you will recognize the words without having to pronouncing it in your head. Combining this ideographic reading with the formation of mental images will lead to a more easy way of understanding a text, as opposed to the "audio" one. Therefore, while you read, your mind becomes silent, which in turn will be the result of a better understanding and an exact retention of a text.

Hopefully, this clarifies the issue of fast reading. It is not something that you can do in a couple of hours. In fact, it takes a lot of practice, and, because of the high degree of difficulty, lots of people simply give up on this and return to their old-fashioned way of reading. But, then again, when was learning something easy?

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    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Hello Gail,

      Thank you very much for your good thoughts. Since this is going so well, I promise to research some more and publish a couple of more hubs on fast-reading.

      Kind regards

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      Welcome to HubPages, The Touch Typist! You give some great tips on speed reading. Voted up and useful.

    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Well, what can I say, Bumpsysmum, there no age limit when trying to learn something new. For instance, I'm 20 and yesterday I learned how to ride a bike, so...

    • Bumpsysmum profile image

      Bumpsysmum 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Mm, she's a headstrong girl of 39 and I don't think she would take well to 'training'. But I have tried to give her some tips.

    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Dear Bumpsysmum,

      Thank you for your kind comment. Indeed, I know exactly what you refer to, because I am nearly there in terms of fast reading. I can also take snapshots of the text. My guess is that it is possible to read fast through a serious training. What do you think? I suggest that you should start teaching your daughter how to read faster.

      Kind regards

    • Bumpsysmum profile image

      Bumpsysmum 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      I have always been a fast reader and have been accused of 'skipping' through pages, but when I challenge people to quiz me on what I've read I am never caught out.

      I seem to be able to scan pages and get the meaning without actually reading every single word, I can't explain it but it works. And you're right about the images, I have very clear ones right from the start as if I'm building up the story in my head and it flows out from the pages almost in a visual sense.

      I spoke about this to my daughter only a few days ago and she said that she can't do this and has to read every single word slowly to get the full meaning.

      Interesting topic, great Hub.

    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Dear raeycarlos,

      Again, sorry for the late reply.

      Again, thank you very much for your kind thoughts. I did not say that the techniques that I presented in this series of articles makes reading "enjoyable" or "pleasant". They are just so to help you to go faster through the reading material. I also agree that, if you have to edit a text or do a bit of close reading, this dramatically slows down the process, and the reasons are again pretty evident. When I am writing a paper or article, I am very careful and calculated with what is actually written there. But as for the "light" literature, fast reading can do wonders! I am glad that you commented on my hub; this really makes me to keep going.

      Kind regards

      P.S. : Are you an editor, by any chance?

    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Hello kj,

      Firstly, sorry for the late reply, but I had already gone to sleep (you know, the different time zones). With regards to you comment, I find that the percentage of people trying to read something new and rewarding is diminishing pretty fast. Instead, the "general audience" goes for the same compositional cliches such as "how to make money on HubPages" or some cheap soap-opera type of romance stories. But obviously, I might as well be wrong. Who knows, maybe there is an actual community within HubPages that is keen on learning new things, or read some articles that require a moderate amount of knowledge. If it is something that is not easily understandable or it takes some effort to do it, then it is useless. I think that it all comes down to separating the wheat from the chaff. And with regards to the website specialized on the super-learning, I have my doubts. Mainly because it will eat too much of my time, and for my second point, I might have stated the reason in this comment.

      Kind regards

    • raeyecarlos profile image

      raeyecarlos 4 years ago

      Voted interesting. I like reading fast, but I also like the voice in my head so I don't think I'll get to finish the final stage. I rarely have much need to read super fast, though, since my work entails having to edit other people's work for errors in grammar, etc. I'm looking forward to more of your work.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      The Touch Typist...I agree.. as far as fast reading, many people would rather watch a visual for tutorials. I do medical research now that I am retired, and every once in awhile I will publish something I thought may be of interest to the general public, however..the ridicule I got was not worth the hassel..so I just do short stories and poems on HP and leave the serious writes for the medical journals...have you given thought to doing your own website for just that reason ( super-learning articles )...

      look forward to reading more of your articles...

    • The Touch Typist profile image
      Author

      Walter Dark 4 years ago from Amsterdam

      Hello Kj,

      Thank you very much for your kind thoughts. As for the articles on fast reading, it is quite a shame that not many people (or schools, for that matter) know about this. With a little bit of training, this can prove to be so rewarding! I really wanted to share my little piece of research because I know how difficult it is to read so many things in a very short time, and at the same time to be able to engage with the text. However, I am not so sure about the fact that people are actually interested in learning new things on HP, but to find recreation. But, if you are, like me, looking forward to the so-called super-learning, I could research some more and write a couple of articles!

      All the best!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      The Touch Typist...Great hub..enjoyed very much..I haven't read anything lately on the " Evelyn Wood " speed reading course..however..back many years ago, I was in enrichment ( gifted ) and the school system did an experiment on this subject of which I was involved with..at the end of 4 weeks I could read 3200 words with a comprehension of 98 %...and it did help me later in college, and Med school..I don't recommend it for recreational reading..but..I can't understand why schools don't have the program today....Thank you for sharing this interesting information and bringing it to HP....