Are you fond of reading books? Do you want to gain more knowledge in less time? If yes, then it is actually your enthusiasm which is pushing you in a very good way. But on the other hand, you are running out of time and in this busy lifestyle it’s very difficult to find out leisure time for reading.
Reading is an essential part of our learning process. Books are the source of knowledge. Some of the world’s best discoveries are contained within them, which give us huge amount of knowledge to excel in every field.
But due to our busy schedule, we don’t get time to read. Even if we find the time, we are not able to retain the full-fledged knowledge for the long time. Modern readers want to read faster, so that they can have large amount of knowledge in lesser time. But the major problem is to retain and memorise it for longer time.
In this piece we are going to tell you about how you can read faster and retain it for longer time.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND SPEED READING
A reader must have good level of comprehension for reading fast. Our eyes act as an input device, which take the information from outside sources and process it in our brain. While reading something our eyes show quick and jerky movements called saccades. It is bad for our comprehension & reading speed. When we read silently to ourselves, the average saccades length is two visual degrees, which equates around eight letters on a page. It takes about 30 milliseconds to do it. Now when our eyes stop on any text and focus on it, that’s called as fixation. The average fixation, when you are reading silently, it takes 200 -250 milliseconds. It is necessary for our concentration for reading.
Our eyes have three ranges of visions: foveal, Para-foveal and peripheral view. The peripheral vision of our eyes is pretty blurry, we can only figure out the shapes and movements from it, but it can’t help us to pick up the detailed information from the vision. Foveal vision picks up the details very well and it is absolutely critical for the reading purpose.
Furthermore, our reading skills aren’t just determined through saccades and fixation. It is also depends on our inner cognitive processing time, which let us understand the written material while reading something.
Following is the list of some tips which will help you read faster and retain excess amount of knowledge from it.
- PRE-READING OR PREVIEWING: If you want to enhance your comprehension skills to read faster your first step should be to get the basic idea about the reading material. You should ask questions to yourself like: what it is about? How it’s going to be beneficial for you? And where you’re going to apply it? These honest questions will help you to generate interest in the topic. It will also help you find the important parts of the content, where you should focus more to retain more knowledge.
You can do it by reading the first paragraph headlines, subhead lines, and fact & figures about the topic.
- OPTIMUM SPOT FOR READING: A high level of concentration is required for reading and understanding something. Some people slow down their speed due to distractions from their surroundings. It’s better to make a reading spot at your home. It can be your room, garden, study room etc. Most people have a special corner for reading and studying at their home, for instance a mini library. It helps them to create an optimum environment for reading where no one can disturb them while reading. If you are not able to create a space at your home then you can go to nearby park in the evening and you can even make a monthly pass for nearby library.
- AVOID VOCALISATION: Most people speak out loud while reading any text. It is termed as sub-vocalisation. It is a bad habit for those who want to learn, read faster and retain more. When you are reading something, it is natural that you are hearing yourself in mind. If you start pronouncing the words loud through your mouth, it reduces your speed of reading to a great extent. It happens because your mind starts repeating the same text which it has already read by seeing it.
You need to understand that your mind is very smart to grasp the information just by seeing it. You don’t need to assist him through vocalisation and sub-vocalisation. So, stop vocalisation, while reading anything. Always use a highlighter or your hands to guide yourself to read the text faster.
- MAINTAIN RYHTHM: It is the best quality that a reader should have for developing skills to read faster and store more data in the brain. You should set goals and make promises to yourself. So that, once you’ve started to read something, you won’t get up until and unless you complete it. You should take breaks in the middle, but it shouldn’t be more than 10 to 15 minutes. Maintaining rhythm for reading is important for active learning process. It helps you improve your comprehension skills.
- FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: If you get stuck while reading something because of an unknown word, it takes time to understand and continue. Vocabulary enables us to read group of words with single eye fixation. It is because when you read the recognizable words your mind doesn’t require any decoding to understand it. Your eyes don’t fixate on known vocabulary nor require re-reading. That’s why good vocabulary is the key factor for fluent reading skills.
It takes time to become good at vocabulary. You should practice hard by noting down unknown words, so that you can understand and memorize it. It is observed that an average person who has good vocabulary and prior background knowledge his reading speed can be around 200-400 words per minute. Thus, to achieve good reading speed, you should practice and improve your vocabulary.
- SKIMMING: You might be amazed to see why skimming is included in this piece as a tip to read faster and attain more. Many fast readers follow this technique to increase their speed of reading. However, skimming is always considered as bad for active learning process, but if you really want to read fast and retain a lot of printed information quickly, you need to skim the text, but you can miss the details here. So, don’t skim while you are in middle of an important exam.
Most of the times you just want to know the gist of written content. So that, you can get to know about the important points of content. A writer always creates a story in his written material to make his content interesting. You should focus on main points to add up your knowledge. In this way you can save your time and energy to read further reading material to retain extra knowledge.
- AVOID REGRESSION: It is a process of re-reading text that you’ve already read. Regression is a habit that can seriously slow your reading speed. It also disrupts your concentration. It is a stage where a reader doesn’t have confidence on his reading skills. It is misconceptions in a reader’s mind that he hasn’t get the crux of the text that he just read. You should take this bad habit very seriously. We have an activity to overcome the regression habit. Get a plain white or coloured card while reading any text and cover the material that you’ve read. The lesser you back- track, the quicker you will break the regression habit.