To improve your reading speed, you have to start trusting your brain. I promise that if you start trusting your brain more, you will have an easier time breaking your old reading habits and learning new ones. It’s about time you start trusting your brain anyway and here’s why.
Without your brain, you could not have come as far in life as you’ve come already. Every step of the way, your brain has been right alongside you. Well, it’s actually been up in your head, but when I say it’s beside you, it sounds more like a friend.
Stop and think for a moment of everything your brain has already helped you through – learning to eat and walk, your teen-aged years, your education and your jobs, your relationships, sports, driving; everything that you have ever done in your life, you have done with the help of your brain.
And whether you want to believe it right now or not, your brain is fully capable of understanding all of the information it reads – the first time you read it, even if you don’t read that information word-for-word.
How can I be so certain?
Because of all of the things you already know. If you know something, doesn’t it mean that your brain knows it, too? Of course it does. Everything your brain already knows is called your background knowledge, and you have a lot of it. Background knowledge is a compilation of every single thing you already know. And a big part of it includes all of the words currently in your vocabulary and all of your past life experiences.
As you’ll learn later on when we’re developing speed reading skills, your vocabulary, which by now is far more extensive than it was when you first learned to read, is going to help you make split-second predictions about the words and word phrases that you read. And all of your previous life experiences are going to help you better understand all different types of reading materials you’ll encounter.
All I want you to understand right now is that your background knowledge plays a key role in your ability to increase both your reading speed and your comprehension. If you’re still unsure about the connection, think about this.
If you do a lot of traveling, you probably have an easier time understanding travel-related reading material, right? But when you read about a topic you’re not very familiar with, like maybe your homeowner’s insurance policy, wouldn’t you agree reading becomes more difficult, even slower? Sure you would.
But what you may not realize is that whenever you read unfamiliar material, there is almost always something in your background knowledge that you can draw upon to help you become more familiar with an unfamiliar topic.
For example, if you’ve lived in a home before, you can call upon that experience that’s maintained inside your brain to help you understand all of the different things inside and outside your home that are and are not covered in your insurance policy.
When you learn how to use your brain in this way, you will have learned a very effective way of broadening your knowledge base.
Now let me finish off by pointing out something else I’ve learned from all of the years I’ve taught speed reading:
The people with the most background knowledge are typically the people who have the most success with improving their reading speed.
If you recall, I began this post discussing the importance of knowledge. Back then I told you that knowledge is power and that knowledge attracts others and helps you reach your goals.
I also said that having knowledge means being able to comprehend what you read, retain it, and recall it when you need it. I told you then that learning to speed read will help you gain more knowledge because you’ll be able to read more with better comprehension. And as a result, reading will become more enjoyable.
Now I’m telling you that having more knowledge will facilitate increased reading speed. So what does all this mean? It means that the more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the faster you read. And the faster you read, the faster you gain more knowledge. And the more knowledge you gain the more power you have. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Here’s one final thought.
Every single day you have an opportunity to broaden your knowledge simply by living and being inquisitive, but mostly by reading. Whether you read at the library or online, or you pick up a book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf for as long as you remember doesn’t matter. All you have to do is find something you’re not familiar with, read it, and when you’re finished, you will know more than you did before you started reading.
And that is how you build more knowledge.
By learning how to increase your reading speed and learning to read with better comprehension, you will be able to read more than you ever could before. As a result, you will also build knowledge faster than you ever could before and faster than people who don’t speed read!
And that’s going to give you the competitive edge you need to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive world. Now that’s some powerful stuff, isn’t it!
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