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Frustrated With Your Reading Speed?

March 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 134

Well, You're Not Alone.

I'm 60 years old now, but I spent many years hating how slowly I read. I had so many interests in things I would love to read about... but my slow reading made this a tortuously long task.

When I was in college, I bought books in the school bookstore that promised to teach me to read faster. But after giving it the "old college try", I just didn't understand why I couldn't learn this speed reading thing. I went to a night-time adult-school class that used a tachistoscope (a mechanical device that flashed groups of words at a set space) to teach speed reading. But although it seemed like I was reading a little faster while I used this machine, it still had no effect on my regular reading. Later I bought computer software, plus tried various websites which promised to improve my reading speed... but nothing really worked. Why couldn't I do this?

With all these methods, I found that I might be able to push my speed a little, but only at the expense of my comprehension. Each course suggested that I try to see more words at each glance. "Seeing more words" had something to do with either widening my 'eye-span', or exercising my eyes to move them faster, or strengthening my peripheral vision. Sure I could see more words at a time, but only if I didn't care about comprehension... which was something the courses often told me that I could safely ignore--they said not to worry because the comprehension part would come later. Ok...

I Thought I Must Be Stupid.

By now I figured that I must just have a slow brain. Maybe I wasn't smart enough to read faster.

Then one day, sitting in my backyard reading a book, I stopped--absolutely fed up. I was staring at the page, disgusted with myself... when I suddenly noticed that words almost always fit together into short meaningful phrases, and each of these phrases could be instantly understood at a single glance, as a whole thought.

Then I realized... Reading faster was about UNDERSTANDING faster, and I could understand faster by reading whole thoughts at a time.

I took a pencil and marked slashes to separate the text into meaningful phrases. Then re-reading the page, I instantly saw how much easier--and faster, I could understand.

The Key To Reading Faster Was 'Thought-Units'.

Everyone was partially right; you do need to read multiple words at a time to read faster... but those have to be meaningful groups of words; complete units of thought, or 'thought-units'. I was impressed enough with the effectiveness of this, that I built a website that displayed text with these thought-units already highlighted. As I practiced with this site, I saw a rapid increase in my reading (and comprehension) speed.

But this improvement still wasn't consistent... Plus it seemed like I was still hearing some of the words in my head, and so it seemed this vocalizing would continue to limit my reading speed.

So Now What Was The Key To Reading Thought-Units?

Visualizing. This was the key. I found that if I concentrated on seeing in my imagination the meaning of each thought-unit, that suddenly I was reading IDEAS instead of words, and the vocalizing simply disappeared.

When I say 'seeing', I don't mean any exact or detailed images--even a fuzzy vague conceptual idea felt like shining a flashlight on the information. The ideas would just jump off the page into my mind.

The real key was simply concentrating on seeing the meaning of what I was reading, and this replaced hearing the sounds.

Was It Easy Now?

No... But now it was possible! I think of it like learning to ride a bicycle. It takes practice, some experimentation, and persistence... but I believe almost anyone can learn it. And once you do learn, it's a lot faster (and more fun).

Then once reading thought-units became more of a habit, it carried over to regular reading. It still took concentration of course, because it was new, and because faster reading obviously required faster thinking. Maybe it was more like learning to ride a unicycle than a bicycle, but was still certainly worth it, when I could FLY through text, taking in whole IDEAS at a time.

Your Training Wheels

I continued to develop this site into a free course that anyone could use. I considered it to be something like the training wheels on a bicycle; giving assistance while the user was developing their new skill.

For over 100 years, reading teachers have suggested reading in 'phrases', or 'word-groups', or 'chunks', etc. But only by reading meaningful thought-units is this really possible... and only by concentrating on visualizing these thought-units, can you truly move to the next level of reading.

Dave B Butler invites you to learn to read thought-units, at his free speed reading course:

Reading is such an important skill-now more than ever-that anything you can do to improve your reading ability can greatly improve your quality of life. Learning to read thought-units is an important tool in making this possible.

ReadSpeeder is the ONLY PLACE that actually gives you text already divided into meaningful thought-units for you to practice on.

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Speed Reading




Study Skills


Faster Reading


Read Faster


Reading Comprehension


Thought Units

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