Exercises for Reading Faster
Exercises and Techniques Used in Fast-Reading
First of all, you can start fast-reading by simply reading faster! Always read as fast as possible and don't mumble when you read.
Move your eyes faster along each line and do not return to the words you already read. The understanding of a text does not lie in a careful, word-by-word reading, with lots of revising in order to make the connections between them, but in reading the text two times as fast as you can. If you missed some information in the first reading, you will uncover them in the second. In the beginning, however, you may loose track of the content.
To increase the speed of reading as well as the understanding of a text, you will have to exercise for 15-20 minutes each day for a couple of weeks. Calculate the number of characters in an article and then time yourself so that you can notice the evolution. I am not sure of how much time you have at your disposal, but, at least for the psychological factor, maybe try to make a graphic.
STEPS AND EXERCISES:
1. Firstly, you should focus on a single word by randomly pointing at it with a pencil. This exercise will help you to concentrate on a single unit as well as disciplining your eyes, so read random words on a page.
2. Fast reading is about diminishing the number of focuses on a single line. This means that you must enlarge your visual field. In order to do so, I have provided a couple of exercises.
A. When you look at an object, try and distinguish as many details of that object without moving your eyes. This exercise must be made every day, as often as possible. Just as a tip, you might want to do this in the "dead" moments in a day (like sitting in the classroom, or staring at the window).
B. (Actually, this one is pretty dumb) -> In the front of the mirror, draw a dot between your eyebrows or stick a paper circle on your forehead. While you are looking at it, try and see all the details of your face.
C. Draw around 4 or 5 columns of words that are really similar (you might want to copy them from a dictionary or something), and after that, draw a dot in the center. Try and distinguish as many characters as you can around it.
D. Choose any text from a book, set up a point (it could be imaginary, but you might as well draw it), and try to see as many letters as possible. The eyes have the tendency to move onto the letters you are trying to distinguish. But obviously, we don't want that. Return to your dot and repeat the exercise. If, in the beginning, you can only see around 3-4 letters to the left and right and only a couple on the vertical axis, with a constant training you will be able to see around 10 letters on the horizontal one. In the beginning , try and distinguish the word without being preoccupied by its general meaning, or by placing it in the context.
E. With every focusing, the mind must capture a group of words that have a logic meaning and not isolated. To do so, train for 10-15 minutes per day by doing the following exercise: place a pencil between two words and try to simultaneously read the words with one glance. After you have mastered this (be advised, it could take for 1-2 weeks for you to learn this skill), move on to three words and try reading those words with a single focus (only the words, of course).
Question for you!
Have you ever heard of fast reading before?
3. After you developed your peripheral view, try and practice on newspaper columns or magazine articles. Being very narrow, they offer a good practice for a single focusing per line. It is good to use a piece of cardboard or a book or something like that. Place the cardboard under the first line and force yourself to read the whole line with a single glance. Then, move the cardboard down a line and try to do it again. In time, the cardboard will move constantly, and your eyes will comfortably move to the bottom of the page, without skipping the lines. Eventually, you will learn to read such an article in a matter of seconds.
After this, try switching to a regular book. Remember that you are not allowed to move your eyes more than 2-3 times per line. In the beginning it may be useful to draw the dots, just so you could orient your eyes along the line. But the division of the line is not equal, as some may believe; you would have to break it down into logical structures. Now, in order to understand what a logical structure is, try and group a noun with his adjective, verb+adverb, a short sentence, etc. Divide the text into these logic units, made from 8-20 characters. In this way, you will not have to read the following text by its 14 words, but with a few short glances.
Do not read / this text / by syllables / or word for word / but by structures. /
A good reader can see 2-3 or even more words on a single focusing, depending, of course, of the difficulty of the text. Reading by logical units can also help expanding the visual field.
The exercises are indeed a bit difficult and it may take some time for you to master them. Nevertheless, they will pay off in the long run. It all has to do with the comfortable way of reading we have been taught in school. I will try to post some more techniques and exercises in the next hub. Until then, good luck with your fast reading!
What is your main problem with fast reading?
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