The #2 method to learn to speed read is gaining a clear understanding of the structure of how certain kinds of texts are created andI taking advantage of this knowledge. This method is actually more of a trick – and it will generally work best on books, magazines, newspapers and formal texts.
Have you ever needed to read something for work – not because you wanted to, but because it was expected of you to understand the information? This used to bother me a lot. I would be expected to read the same trade publication every week just so that I could keep up with current trends and make conversation with my clients and superiors. I hated it.
Well, by taking advantage of the structure of the text, I was able to spend less than 30 minutes reading a trade text that used to take me two hours. This is how I did it:
Have you ever taken a writing class in school? I remember from my college courses that there was a trick to writing your introduction, body and conclusion. The trick is to tell the reader what you are going to tell them (introduction), exposition (body), and then briefly reiterate what you just told them (conclusion). The introduction and the conclusion are merely summaries of the body.
Well, this speed reading method is simply to read only the introduction and the conclusion – nothing else. For a book, this may be just the first and last chapters. For a long magazine article it may be the first few and the last few paragraphs. For a newspaper article, it is just the first and last paragraph.
Here is a test. Grab an article that you have recently read from the beginning to the end and read just the introduction and conclusion. Now you have read the entire article by simply reading the introduction and the conclusion. Tell me, are you missing any vital information by skipping the body? No, you are only missing the filler.
I know people who will actually skip the introduction to everything just because they want to get right to the heart of the information. This is a huge mistake from both a speed reading stance and a reading comprehension stance. The introduction and the conclusion are easily the most valuable parts of any document.
Occasionally I will find something in the introduction and/or the conclusion that I want to read more about. In this situation I will merely scan the text to find the nugget of information that I am seeking and I will read just that. This doesn’t happen often – it is the exception and not the rule, but when it does happen I know that I am reading something that I want to read (for enjoyment or information).
By utilizing this method – this speed reading trick – you will be able to reduce the time that you spend reading the texts that you really do not want to read AND you will not have to reduce your comprehension of the material.
Here are some exercises to practice this method and hone this new skill: find two or three documents each day and read just the introduction and the conclusion. If you find something interesting or that maybe you want to know more about, simply scan the document to find it and read just that.
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Did You Know?
Studies have shown that concentration and memory are up to 30% more effective early in the morning with concentration levels slowly slipping from Midday to the time you go to go to bed. Keep that in mind next time you practice your speed reading!
Did You Know?
In the Speed Reading World Championships the speed reading finalists average reading speed was between 1500 to 2000 wpm? To qualify for each round the reader had to have a comprehension level of 50%.
Did You Know?
Evelyn Wood developed Speed Reading 60 years ago after watching her professor grade her term paper in a little under 10 minutes? This left Evelyn Wood on a two year journey chasing down other fast readers. From watching their individual techniqueshe developed a teaching method which spread through the USA in 1959.
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