Speed Reading Tutorial

June 20, 2009

Chunking Reading Made Easy

Filed under: Chunking — by speedreadingtutorial @ 4:08 pm
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Chunking reading will turn you from a snail into a cheetah! Do you want to read like a snail or a cheetah? By learning to chunk read you will forget about reading slowly and learn how to put vast amounts of information together in a short period of time. The art of reading is always required, whether you are a student or in a specific career. Therefore, mastering the best and most efficient speed reading tips is critical to your success.

Chunking reading will require some practice. That is the bad news. The good news is that anyone with reasonable eyesight can learn how to chunk. Chunking refers to reading groups of words as one whole unit. The words are no longer separate, they are one group of information. This would be the opposite of reading one word at a time. Why do I mention eyesight? Well, as humans, we are able to see 180 degrees wide when we are facing forward. Why not use this ability in your reading? We have to re-train ourselves to use our 180 degree vision ability because we have been taught, since our early school days, to narrow and focus our reading vision to only about 12 degrees wide. For chunk reading we need to soften our focus and allow our peripheral vision to come in handy.

There are some basic speed reading exercises available for free here that might help you practice.

Start out slowly when learning to chunk read. Begin by selecting a page of writing and drawing two vertical lines down the page. These lines should cut off approximately the first two words and the last two words in each line of writing. In using this technique you will begin to train your eyes to focus only on the middle section of writing and allow your peripheral vision to see the ends of the writing. Imagine that the lines of writing are divided into three phrases. Don’t over-analyze the scenario, just read the middle section and ignore the outer edges. This method is referred to as triple-chunking and once accustomed to it, you will triple your reading speed!

Now that you are an accomplished triple-chunker, you can learn to double-chunk. This method requires similar tactics, only here, divide your page of writing into equal halves instead of three sections. Once again, think of each sentence as being made up of two phrases. Glance once at each side of the page, reading each half as a whole unit. With practice you will learn to focus on the middle line and your peripheral vision will have expanded to include the rest of the writing. Chunking methods will prevent you from struggling with eye-fixation problems. Fixation means getting stuck on words here and there in the sentence, slowing your reading down as you fixate for too long on specific words.

By now you may class yourself as a cheetah-reader! If you would still like to go further, there is the skill of single-chunking to master. Here you are reading the whole sentence as one phrase. The technique that you will need to practice is as follows. Instead of moving your eyes from left to right, move them in a diagonal direction. Read the right side of the first sentence and then the left side of the second sentence and so forth using a diagonal eye movement pattern. This is an excellent way to increase reading speed.  Remember practice makes perfect and these methods are not achieved overnight. Persevere and you will succeed. Say good-buy to 3rd grade reading styles forever!

June 1, 2009

Speed Reading and Repetition as an Effective Study Skill

Filed under: Study Skills — by speedreadingtutorial @ 5:24 pm
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Speed reading can facilitate the most common and basic learning technique of repetition. Knowing how to speed read is highly advantageous for students in any grade or in college. Being able to apply this skill to their school work and study methods will save time and give the student and extra boost for improved grades. Speed reading can also be applied to learning by repetition. In fact, the history of speed reading suggests that it was originally developed to be part of a study program.

Everyone knows that when something is repeated often enough, it becomes part of our memory. For instance, your best friend’s phone number. You didn’t know the number until she gave it to you, and after you had dialed it a couple of times, you didn’t need to look at it written down anymore, it has been memorized. The same applies to any fact that needs to be remembered. It can be argued that learning by repetition is not the best and most efficient way of memorizing information. This is because repetition is a left-brain learning style and the information will not be remembered for lengthy time periods and takes longer to memorize. Even so, it is still the most common way for many students to study their work, by speed reading and summarizing.

Speed reading allows the student to absorb large amounts of information whilst reading quickly. It also improves the student’s comprehension level. These are two very important factors for effective studying. A speed reader will be able to go over the original information several times, far more quickly than the average reader will take to read it once. This will assist with the repetition process.

Speed readers are also, in general, much more proficient with key words than the ‘slower reader’. This helps with the summarizing of the study material. Once the work has been effectively summarized, the speed reader will be able to effortlessly revise it a number of times in a short period of time.

When learning by repeating information, it is important to take regular breaks between study sessions. Research shows that the most information is memorized at the start and end of each study session. Therefore, shorter periods, for example half an hour, will have a better success rate than an hour. Breaks also help to strengthen and stabilize the information within the brain. The lengths of study sessions and breaks will differ between students. They should experiment to determine the time span that works well for them.

Over time, the facts memorized by repetition will fade and be forgotten. If you would like to retain this information, revision every week or every few weeks will be necessary. Students should make use of their speed reading skills to maximize their revision process.

May 18, 2009

How to Conduct a Speed Reading Test

Filed under: Speed Reading — by speedreadingtutorial @ 4:17 pm
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Taking a speed reading test is the first step to improve the rate of your reading. In order for reading to improve, it is important to know your current speed level. Speed reading tests have different formats and are available from various sources.  We found this free online speed reading test that proved very reliable.

Tests can be designed to analyze actual reading speed or they can test comprehension levels. Many tests available are able to give an accurate idea of both. A person that is capable of speed reading could test your abilities. Once you have the results to your test, the teacher could then assist in pinpointing weaknesses and demonstrate some techniques that would benefit your current skills. Working one on one with someone has many advantages. It is easier to be motivated if you have ‘homework’ to complete before the next lesson. It may also be possible to establish your problem areas more quickly with the help of a professional. Unfortunately, learning speed reading from an instructor can be costly.

Now that I have mentioned the help of an instructor, it is not to say that you won’t be able to effectively learn to improve your skills by yourself. The reading test can be done by yourself, at home. All that is needed is an article to read and a stop watch. It will be helpful to have a friend to operate the stop watch! Ask your friend to take time for one minute while you read. After the minute is up, count how many words have been read. This will indicate an average speed, for example, 200 words per minute. To test comprehension levels, get your friend to ask you various questions on the article you have just read. If you are able to adequately provide the answers, then you will know that you understand your reading as well. It’s no good being able to speed read at 1000 words per minute, yet at the end have no idea what you’ve read!

The best and easiest way to conduct a speed reading test would be to find one on the internet. There are hundreds to choose from and you won’t even need to find your own stop watch! Online tests often have multiple choice questions included to test comprehension levels at the same time. Experiments have shown that we tend to read a little slower from a computer screen. So it may be interesting to conduct your own test from paper after taking the online test to see how they compare.

Bear in mind that the difficulty in text has an influence on the speed at which we read. Therefore, don’t be alarmed if your speed fluctuates a little when reading different types of writing.

After you have your speed reading test results, it is quite easy to teach yourself various speed reading techniques to improve your reading speed. Though, often the help of a good speed reading book is immensely beneficial. Before you know it, you will be zooming through books at a speed you never imagined possible!

April 19, 2009

Improving Reading Speed – Why do I Read Slowly?

Filed under: Speed Reading — by speedreadingtutorial @ 5:13 pm
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Speed of reading depends on certain factors and improving reading speed can be achieved in different ways. To improve reading speed you must have the desire to improve as different speed reading techniques take some time to master. You will have to practice!

It may help to first have an understanding of why your speed rate is currently slow. There can be many reasons. Before continuing, ensure that your eyes are in a physically good condition. An individual may read slowly due to an undiagnosed eye problem. The assistance of eye glasses may be the answer. Otherwise, there are many things that we do out of habit that slow down our reading. A person may not read fast because he is used to reading slowly. This is the way he has always read. Fear that we are not understanding the writing will also cause you to deliberately read slower. An individual may read word-for-word, read out loud (even if it is in your head) and re-read information that has already been read. Trying to remember everything instead of only the important information is another reason why we may read slowly.

Once you have established negative habits, do some research into speed reading techniques that you can develop to help un-learn problem reading styles.

Your speed rate will depend on the type of material you are required to read. You may need to slow down for the entire article or for only parts of the article. Your purpose for reading will determine how fast you read. For general understanding you can rapidly skim or scan the information. Reading for enjoyment can be done fast or slow depending on your wishes. Analytical studies will take some time to grasp the concepts.

When you decide to increase reading speed make sure that you have sufficient desire to improve, a willingness to try new methods and the motivation to practice. It is also essential to have reasonable vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Improving your speed rate has many advantages. High school students and pre-college students will be able to comprehend much more of their work if they improve their skills. This is a good age to learn speed reading as they are able to easily absorb new ideas, and preparation for college is important. College students often need to read large amounts of information, so learning techniques can be essential. Speed reading in the work environment will save a lot of valuable time.

Have a plan of action to improve your reading speed. Determine your potential problems and decide which speed reading skills you are going to focus on. Practice on the type of material that you are going to have to read most often. Set aside some time each day to practice your new skills and you will be well on your way to success.

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