How to speed read
If you have a pile of books you need to read to research an essay you don't have to sit and read each one because you won't have time. Instead you can speed read - simply scan every other line and train your eyes to pick up important words that are relevant to your research.
Whenever your eyes come to rest on a word that is called a "fixation". Most people fixate once on each word across a line of print. This way you can get an idea of whether a book/chapter or article is relevant to what you're doing.
Top tips to speed read:
- Don't focus on every word but group/words together/like this.
- Make sure you don't move your lips when you're reading! This will slow you down.
- Decide why you're reading the book you're holding. What exactly are you looking for? This'll save you time as you skim the text.
- If you spend a few minutes each day reading at a faster than comfortable rate you'll soon get your speed up.
- If you find it difficult to hold your concentration when reading you can practise reading for only 5-10 minutes at a time and gradually increase your time.
- There are books available to help you increase your reading rate if you're having problems or if you're very keen to improve your reading rate ask your teacher, school librarian or local library.
How to understand a text
As you get higher up in school you'll be given more and more texts to read, and not all of them will be exactly relevant to the work you're attempting to finish.
Just reading the material is not an effective way of learning it, even if you do it many times. Instead you need to consider:
- What you want to get from the material
- What looks important
- Key points will almost certainly be in the introduction or the conclusion
- Understand the bigger picture by getting an overall view of what the text is about
You should be able to retain about 80% of what was on the page through speed reading.
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