For the #6 method to learn how to speed read is actually two separate tricks, that are used effectively by speed readers. They have always seemed similar to me and so I have combined them here for you.
The first is scanning. Often when people first hear of speed reading, they may think that it is just a form of scanning. However, speed reading in its true form is just reading at a very high speed and not scanning. Yet scanning does have its uses in speed reading.
Have you ever read a document and you were completely lost until the writer revealed some key or crucial fact late in the text? It can be very annoying to a speed reader because you are reading so fast that you second guess your comprehension. Instead of thinking, “Hey, this writer is holding something back because I don’t get what he’s talking about,” you think, “Ok, what did I miss? Because I have no idea what this author is talking about.”
You see what I mean?
So we use scanning to get the gist of the document or text that we are about to speed read. This is not always necessary, but I find that I do it out of habit now anyway. By scanning through a document first, I increase my comprehension for when I am actually speed reading through the entire thing. Essentially you are already starting to read the text with a vague sense of the meaning what the whole thing. Scanning can be a very powerful tool.
The exercise for scanning is simply to test it out. Pick a random article that you know NOTHING about and give it a quick scan before reading it. You will notice the boost to your comprehension almost immediately – especially if the author has hidden a key point deep in the article.
The second trick that I want to talk to you about involves raising the comprehension level for speed readers. It also makes it possible to retain the information much better by placing it more securely into your long term memory instead of your short term memory.
This trick is to take a keyword scan prior to reading the text (any text: emails, letters, articles, books, memos, notes, journals, etc). You only spend a second or two and all you are looking for are keywords. For instance, if you did a keyword scan of this method up to this point, you might find: speed read, comprehension, and scanning.
Then you would speed read the text as always. Since you have already done a keyword scan, when you reach these words your brain will take a special interest in them. It will place them and the concepts from the text that they represent deeper into your memory where you are unlikely to forget them quickly.
Finally, once you are finished reading the text, you take another one or two second review to highlight the keywords again in your mind. If these words and concepts were not in your long term memory before, they will be now.
I know this might seem tough to believe at first, but your comprehension AND retention is going to take a huge boost from this trick! Don’t believe me? That’s ok; just test it out for yourself with these exercises
The exercises (and test) for the keyword review is to find a complicated document for which you would like to have a higher comprehension and retention, and then read it using the keyword scan and review trick. Now put it away and make a note in your schedule/calendar to review that document in a week or ten days. At the allotted time, pick up the document and ask yourself what the key points and ideas are. You will be amazed at how detailed your memory is regarding the keywords and the ideas that they represent from the document.