If you’re a businessman who has to go through lengthy project reports or correspondence, or a student studying and researching vast amounts of material, you might be interested in techniques of speed reading. Of course there are advanced techniques that can vastly enhance your reading speed, but you’ll find that just following the simple methods below can also make a significant difference in how fast you read and assimilate information:
1) Reading when your mind is fresh:
It may seem an elementary idea, yet it works – your mind assimilates information much faster when it is fresh, like just after you wake up in the morning. Schedule your most important reading for the morning, and you’ll find that you get it done at least 20% faster using this technique alone. This is because a rested intellect and improved concentration equal an improved reading speed.
2) Make categories for your reading:
Categorizing your reading can greatly help your reading speed, as well as how well you understand what you read. You need to divide your reading material into the most complex, moderately complex and least complex. Also place the most important and crucial of your reading matter in the ‘complex’ pile. Now handle the simplest pile first, simply skimming roughly over the content. You’ll see that it will be read through in almost no time at all, and with hardly any strain at all to yourself. Then go for the ‘complex’ pile of reading matter, and give it more concentration and attention. This will tire you out, but you’ll still find that your mind is fresh enough to handle this complex matter. And you can keep the ‘moderately complex’ category for last – you’ll find reading through it even feels a bit relaxing after handling the complex matter.
The place where you read, and even the angle at which you place your book are crucially important. Your environment should be well-lit enough to keep you alert. Moreover, the lighting should be warm yellow light that simulates sunlight, and not cold white light. This is important, because the ‘day’ conditions of yellow light stimulate alertness in us. Your book or reading matter should be placed at an angle of forty-five degrees.
4) Skimming over the reading matter.
Now for slightly more complex techniques. Skim over material before reading it in more detail, so as to absorb the main ideas of the subject. The first place to begin this examination of the material is in the table of contents itself. Then, as you begin reading, read the first sentence of each paragraph and the last one before you actually read the paragraph itself. You’ll find that doing this actually gives you some idea of the gist of the paragraph, thus speeding up your comprehension and assimilation when you actually do read it. Also, doing this gives you an idea of the importance of the section of the book that you are reading, and allows you to decide whether to skim over it or to read it carefully in more detail. You can also eliminate the ‘useless’ words in sentences, the ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘but’ and other conjunctions and prepositions. Focus on what really holds meaning, on what is truly important, and don’t waste time with the irrelevant.
These are not advanced techniques of speed reading – for that you’ll have to sign up for a professional speed reading course. But even with these simple methods you should see a 30% increase in your speed of processing and assimilating information.