A Word That Creates Flow Within Or Between Sentences I Speed Read, Therefore I Am

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I Speed Read, Therefore I Am

Why efficient and effective reading skills are important in the information age

The information age is a boon for any industrialist, entrepreneur or anyone who wants to advance in life. Information is unrestricted and on demand. The downside is that there is too much information available and it becomes a huge task to search through everything to find a “solution”. It is for this reason that many have successfully turned to speed reading as the best and most efficient way to get ahead.

What exactly is this phenomenal skill called speed reading called and how does it work?

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”

– John Wooden, legendary American basketball coach


Perhaps a good place to start is to take a look at why not everyone is a speed reader. Despite the obvious benefits of speed reading, people give all kinds of reasons and excuses as to why speed reading doesn’t or can’t work for them. For example:

o Speed ​​reading is very difficult to master

o I’m too young / I’m too old

o I don’t believe speed reading works

o Rapid reading reduces comprehension and retention

o Every word counts, the book should be read from cover to cover

The truth!

The truth is that these reasons did not stand up to the scrutiny of the test. Instead, since Syracuse University in the USA offered the first formal speed reading course in 1925, research and studies of the brain and reading have yielded very interesting results – all contrary to popular reasons and reasons for lack of speed. What is known today about reader reading and the eye-brain connection states that:

o There is no age limit for those who want to read early. If you know how to read and can still read, you can read fast!

o 50 to 80% of words are not necessary in any written content. Even if these words are removed, the reader can understand the meaning of the book. Examples of such words are “a”, “an”, “the”, “and”, “so”, “thes”.

o Likewise, not every paragraph is important and not all chapters read essentially for comprehension. In other words, parts can be omitted without any loss in perception and understanding.

o Human eye and mind can read many words at a time and not just one word.

o Speaking words out loud, called vocalizing, slows down reading because the brain understands audible words at a maximum speed of 250 words per minute, although groups of words can be visually understood at 2000 words per minute.

The need for speed (or ways to slow you down)

What really slows down a reader when using common reading habits? The most heinous crimes are:

Unobstructed reading. Without a clearly stated purpose, the brain will not function efficiently and will unconsciously command the eyes to slow down and look for words and phrases that provide meaning and purpose to read. It’s like going on vacation without knowing the final destination!

singing Saying words out loud slows reading down to a maximum of 250 words per minute because of how fast the brain can understand spoken words.

Regression. Instead of moving forward while reading, many people are guilty of reading and re-reading a word, sentence or paragraph because they “didn’t get it” the first time. Reading and re-reading slows down the entire reading process, and studies have shown that re-reading has no significant effect on comprehension or comprehension. So why bother? Please carry on and on!

Read one word at a time. This is how children learned to read, and many adults now fear that skipping words reduces comprehension, and therefore every word should be savored, cherished and respected! But as mentioned earlier, the human eyes and brain can break down words in a single glance without compromising comprehension. So why settle for less?

“Instead of giving reasons why I can’t, I give reasons why I can’t.”

– Author unknown

Speed ​​Reading Secrets

Using a very simple yet effective 3-step plan, it’s off to the races with speed readings! There are 3 steps:

Step 1 – Relax. Brain research has concluded that the mind works best when it is in a state of calm. Anyone who has swung a golf club at that little innocent white ball knows all too well! In the case of speed reading, a stressed mind causes the eye muscles to strain and the brain to suffer, causing the brain to become too distracted and slow the flow of information from the eye to the brain. Entering a state of relaxed alertness is easy. Start by closing your eyes, take a few deep breaths and say the words “I am at ease now”. And smile! Repeat these steps a few times until the body relaxes. That’s easy.

Step 2 – Prepare. It’s like warming up before a workout and thinking, “Why am I reading this book?” Start by asking this question. Have information? To answer a specific question? As research material? Maybe just for fun! The point is that when the brain knows what to do, it produces miraculous results! Imagine looking for a specific location in a street directory but not knowing where you are and where you want to go! Reading is exactly the same.

Another part of the preparation phase is to preview the book by reading all the information on the front and back covers, the inside of the book jacket, and the table of contents. Although the “just do it” attitude is a wonderful call to action, almost all adults like (or in many cases need) a frame of reference before starting any task. Previewing a book does it for the brain.

Step 3 – Speed ​​Read. There are many methods of speed reading, but these three simple steps will yield incredible results.

o Keep mouth and mind quiet while reading. Saying the words verbally or mentally is of no use and only slows down the reading.

o Continue reading. If the will to go back is fading – destroy the will and move forward!

o Use a pacer (pen, pencil or finger) and push through each sentence faster than mouthing the words. This simple action automatically speeds up reading and forces the eyes to take in more information as the fast bowler crosses. This prevents sounding out each word, a habit that is one of the four deadly sins of slow readers. Using a pacer to read is probably the easiest way for anyone to increase reading speed instantly, quickly and effectively.

Speed ​​Reading Limits – Are There Any?

There are opposing camps on this question. Keeping in mind that the average person reads at about 200wpm, some reading experts say the upper limit is 300wpm, some 900wpm, while others claim the upper limit is over 25,000wpm. That’s not a mistake, 25,000wpm or one second a page!

Who is right? As incredible as it sounds, a technique called photoreading allows readers to read at over 25,000wpm. Developed in the USA by Paul Schell in the 1980s, this unique method teaches people how to use the untapped potential of the brain and the almighty unconscious mind to “photograph” pages at a glance. Information is stored in unconscious memory and can then be activated or recalled through various methods. Photoreading has been very helpful for people with reading challenges, especially those with dyslexia. Instead of being labeled “slow” or having a “learning disorder,” photoreading allows them to use their unique reading and learning styles and thrive.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”

– Aristotle

It seems that Aristotle had speed reading in mind when he wrote about the link between habit and excellence! Whether the reading goal is 200 words per minute, 800 words per minute, or a photoreading speed of 25,000 words per minute, once speed reading techniques are ingrained and become a habit, reading excellence is a delightfully divine byproduct!

This article appeared in the June 2006 BizShanghai Magazine and the July 2006 XL Magazine.

By Jeff Tan

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