Initially, I was thrilled with the prospect of heading back to school to earn my Master’s Degree. It has been a few years now since I’ve been in school and I have missed the joy of learning a new concept or passionately debating with fellow colleagues about current events and topics. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about school was the reading. I earned my degree in English Literature and so most every book I read was a great read!
But as I returned to school studying a much different topic, I have forgotten how reading certain text books and other study materials can be extremely cumbersome. My brain was out of reading shape and it left me tired and exhausted. Furthermore, I know of many in the corporate world who wade through reports and articles in order to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of their field. Being able to ‘speed read’ then, can be imperative in maximizing your study time, whether you are in business, or school, or both. So here are a few tips to try next time you come to an article or text book that might take you hours to read word for word:
1. Know what you’re looking for: Have an idea of the type of information you are looking for before you start reading the text. Take a look at the title or subtitles of a chapter or the study questions at the end of a text book so you know in your mind what you’re looking for when you engage the text.
2. Start at the beginning, finish at the end: Spend more attention on the beginning and end of each paragraph, rather than the detailed content of the middle of the paragraph. The initial sentence will tell you what the paragraph is about and the last sentence should summarize the paragraph and transition to the next.
3. Expand your block reading segments: Mind Tools has a great article on expanding your block reading segments. Try taking a look at a group of words in a larger section and jump from section to section faster. Your brain is able to process words faster than your eyes can bring them in, so there is no limit to how fast you can maximize your block reading segments.
4. Practice often and actively: Use speed reading in every area of your life (except poetry) and be active in expanding and enhancing your speed reading ability. Check out this Speed Reading video and learn the process by which your brain can read at a faster rate.
Ideas or comments on speed reading can be posted below.