The next tip I want to share with you is different than all the rest. Instead of offering advice on breaking old reading habits and flexing your eye muscles, this last tip focuses on something entirely different.
Before I get into my discussion, let me start by asking a question. When you think about speed reading, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, your thoughts probably center around speed. After all, you aren’t learning to slow read; you already know how to do that. You’re here because you want to learn how to speed read.
It’s natural to think increasing speed reading is all about reading as fast as you can. The faster you read, the faster you can finish a book or whatever it is you’re reading. And the faster you finish, the quicker you can start another one, right?
But hold on a minute because there’s something else that’s important to understand about speed reading: It isn’t only about speed!
If you are, let me ask you another question. What good would it do you to read at speeds in excess of 5-, 6- or 700-words per minute if you don’t understand much of anything that you read? It does you no good at all!
If you read but don’t comprehend, you will not have gained any knowledge. You likely will not have gained any enjoyment either, but that’s a topic for another day. If you haven’t gained any knowledge, you won’t have anything new to store in your knowledge bank. And knowledge that can’t be stored can’t be retrieved for use later on.
The point being made here is simple: Without comprehension, all the speed in the world won’t do you one bit of good. You won’t gain any knowledge. You won’t gain an edge over your competition. You won’t be able to impress anyone in your social circle.
What you will do is something I warned you about earlier. When you read but don’t comprehend you will fall back into the habit of regressing. Do you remember what regressing is? It’s going back and rereading information you’ve already read! Regression wastes time and defeats the whole purpose of speed reading. That’s not something you want to do, is it?
What you want to do instead is engage the other side of your brain.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to develop your comprehension skills while developing reading speed is to learn how to visualize. Some people already do a pretty good job at this. They’re usually the people who have an easier time following written directions. As they read along, they’re able to create a mental image of themselves performing the task being described. They do this by engaging the side of the brain that controls visualization.
You’ve probably heard reference to different sides of your brain and how the different sides control different functions. The left side of the brain controls things like written and spoken languages, scientific ability and number skills. The right side of the brain controls things like imagination, memorization, artistic ability and visualization.
Most people read using only their left side, which makes sense since this is the side that controls written language. But the people who can read the fastest with the most comprehension are those who have learned how to engage both sides of their brain.