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How do you improve your reading speed?
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speakeasy Offline
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Post: #1
How do you improve your reading speed?
I feel like ideally, I'd like to read 1 page per minute, but actually absorb and follow what I'm reading. I know there are people who read very fast, but I wonder how much information they can really be retaining?

When I read, I tend to read VERY slowly, it can take me forever to finish a book. Not because I can't read faster, but I tend to stop a lot, pause, reflect on something I just read, sometimes re-read paragraphs that were particularly profound, start day-dreaming and go off on mental tangents if something interesting caused me to think. This happens a lot if I'm reading something science-related. I'm easily distracting when I read by errant thoughts or mind-drift based on the content I'm reading.

This is why I don't know how on earth some people read multiple books a week. I wonder if they are really getting any lasting information from them that they will long remember.

How fast is your reading speed? How long does it take you to finish a 200 page book? Do you feel that after reading at your speed that you have properly absorbed the information to the point that you could write a brief summary of the book that would be accurate?
10-02-2013 03:09 PM
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DVY Offline
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RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
200 pages- 2 hours. I read at a level above skimming and below in-depth comprehension. If I am studying super-dense material, it slows down significantly.

Cultivated from excessive reading as a child, and SAT-studying which develops focused reading w/quick retention.

I don't really remember much long-term from reading. I get a vague imprint and may have random flashbacks to unique items, but generally I remember the plot, certain arc of the book, relationship dynamics and maybe a few unique facts.

WIA- For most of men, our time being masters of our own fate, kings in our own castles is short. Even those of us in the game will eventually succumb to ease of servitude rather than deal with the malaise of solitude
(This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 03:52 PM by DVY.)
10-02-2013 03:49 PM
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TheBulldozer Offline
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RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
Reading, like any technical skill is something that can be improved with repetition and guided practice. Beyond that, there is a genetic capacity in terms or reading ability, much like there is a genetic capacity for pretty much anything else in the world. No matter how much I practice basketball, I will never be as skilled as an NBA player. No matter how much you practice, you will never go beyond a built in point.

Here is the philosophy behind improving speed:

Your short-term memory is generally capable of holding 6-8 'items' in it. Beyond that, you begin to forget. Take the example of a phone number. It's much harder to remember a phone number with an area code attached to it, than it is to remember just the last seven digits. This is your short term memory at work.

Now, what exactly an 'item' can be defined by is very fungible. An 'item' in the phone number instance may be defined as an individual digit, or it may be defined as the three or four numbers we generally break numbers into. For example, take the number 123-456-7890. Some people may have trouble remembering the number because they are splitting each digit into an 'item', thus overloading their short-term memory. Other people may find it easy to remember because they've split the phone number into three 'items', with the 123, 456, and 7890 each being an 'item'. One person has their short term memory overloaded because they're trying to remember 10 separate 'items', where the other person can comfortably remember the number because they've created three easy to remember groups of numbers.

Now, how does that apply to reading?

It's really the same principle. The most fundamental readers view each letter they read as a separate sound, independent of every other letter around it. This quickly overloads the short-term memory, and outside of decoding sounds, no meaningful reading is actually done because that person can't remember what the last few words were saying, nevermind what the last sentence or paragraph said. As you gain fluency and skill with reading, your brain picks up patterns. Instead of decoding individual letters, you can decode entire words at a time, thus making sense of a sentence. Beyond that, your brain can amazingly decode and store entire sentences and paragraphs at a time. It is in many respects a snowball effect if you put the time into dedicated reading.

One way to immediately analyze your reading is to see if you are mouthing words or sounds as you're reading. This is a clear indicator of your brain making sense of individual letters or words. You will NEVER speed up your reading or remember what you've read clearly if you are mouthing along to what you're reading.

I hope I clarified anything about reading for you, though I didn't directly address some of your wonderings. Let me know if you have anymore questions. I have a Master's Degree in stuff like this.
10-02-2013 03:55 PM
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JayD Offline
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RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
@MaleDefined - Could you elaborate on the mouthing words or sounds as you're reading part please?
10-03-2013 01:41 AM
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Architekt Offline
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RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
The way you read is probably much more beneficial. You'll probably find that the more you read, the more likely you are to have already encountered an idea, and instead of pondering every nuance of every word, you can just associate them directly with previous encounters. Eventually you'll be able to compare and contrast thoughts really quickly, and devour information like nothing
10-03-2013 04:32 AM
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bojangles Offline
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Post: #6
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
I read extremely fast and I think I developed it when I was really young like 7/8 years old as I spent most of my child years reading a shit load of books. I think my trick is that I don't actually read words like 'the' 'is' 'it' 'a', my brain just understands that they are there.

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10-03-2013 05:24 AM
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dasher Offline
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Post: #7
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
MaleDefined is correct, don't sound out words when you read (or even internally vocalize full words).

I read at about 600 words per minute, and I took the liberty of scanning (with my phone camera... heh) what I used to learn to read fast when I was ~14 or so.

Page 1 - http://i.imgur.com/FkYLGn2.jpg
Page 2 - http://i.imgur.com/KAQ0jRc.jpg
Page 3 - http://i.imgur.com/dchzqSk.jpg

The book is 'How to Pass Exams' by Dominic O'Brien, but really it's more like a 'how to make your brain work better' book.
10-03-2013 05:30 AM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #8
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
Why not pick up a book on speed reading?

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?u...ed+reading

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes
frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Kipling
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2013 09:08 AM by Beyond Borders.)
10-03-2013 08:44 AM
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reino341 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
Is a pointer essential for speed reading?
10-03-2013 09:31 AM
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dasher Offline
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Post: #10
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
(10-03-2013 09:31 AM)reino341 Wrote:  Is a pointer essential for speed reading?

Not long term. It helps when you're starting so that your eyes keep pace and don't get so fatigued. I only used my finger for maybe 6 months.
10-03-2013 07:53 PM
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Joga Bonito Offline
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Post: #11
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
(10-02-2013 03:55 PM)MaleDefined Wrote:  Reading, like any technical skill is something that can be improved with repetition and guided practice. Beyond that, there is a genetic capacity in terms or reading ability, much like there is a genetic capacity for pretty much anything else in the world. No matter how much I practice basketball, I will never be as skilled as an NBA player. No matter how much you practice, you will never go beyond a built in point.

Here is the philosophy behind improving speed:

Your short-term memory is generally capable of holding 6-8 'items' in it. Beyond that, you begin to forget. Take the example of a phone number. It's much harder to remember a phone number with an area code attached to it, than it is to remember just the last seven digits. This is your short term memory at work.

Now, what exactly an 'item' can be defined by is very fungible. An 'item' in the phone number instance may be defined as an individual digit, or it may be defined as the three or four numbers we generally break numbers into. For example, take the number 123-456-7890. Some people may have trouble remembering the number because they are splitting each digit into an 'item', thus overloading their short-term memory. Other people may find it easy to remember because they've split the phone number into three 'items', with the 123, 456, and 7890 each being an 'item'. One person has their short term memory overloaded because they're trying to remember 10 separate 'items', where the other person can comfortably remember the number because they've created three easy to remember groups of numbers.

Now, how does that apply to reading?

It's really the same principle. The most fundamental readers view each letter they read as a separate sound, independent of every other letter around it. This quickly overloads the short-term memory, and outside of decoding sounds, no meaningful reading is actually done because that person can't remember what the last few words were saying, nevermind what the last sentence or paragraph said. As you gain fluency and skill with reading, your brain picks up patterns. Instead of decoding individual letters, you can decode entire words at a time, thus making sense of a sentence. Beyond that, your brain can amazingly decode and store entire sentences and paragraphs at a time. It is in many respects a snowball effect if you put the time into dedicated reading.

One way to immediately analyze your reading is to see if you are mouthing words or sounds as you're reading. This is a clear indicator of your brain making sense of individual letters or words. You will NEVER speed up your reading or remember what you've read clearly if you are mouthing along to what you're reading.

I hope I clarified anything about reading for you, though I didn't directly address some of your wonderings. Let me know if you have anymore questions. I have a Master's Degree in stuff like this.

Cool, any resources you recommend looking at to further illustrate what you are saying in your post? I've heard polarizing answers on speed reading with the negative ones saying that it isn't effective since your retention would be poor. Can the same techniques in your post be applied to reading difficult or academic material?
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2013 08:02 PM by Joga Bonito.)
10-03-2013 07:57 PM
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Valhalla Offline
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Post: #12
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
I hear the way to do it is to silence the voice in your head and photo read

valhalla
10-03-2013 10:41 PM
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AmoAsBundas Offline
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Post: #13
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
If you want a specific recommendation, the folllowing book was a recommendation from someone in the pu community a while ago

Breakthrough in Rapid Reading by Peter Kump
http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Rapid...id+Reading

Haven't had time to go through the whole thing. First impression wasn't bad.
10-14-2013 03:23 AM
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Architekt Offline
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Post: #14
RE: How do you improve your reading speed?
(10-03-2013 10:41 PM)Valhalla Wrote:  I hear the way to do it is to silence the voice in your head and photo read

Went through a speed reading book the other day. This shit ain't just no thang. I already did a lot of the things the book advised sporadically, but now it's more focused and meshes together for ultimate reading power - literally doubled (possibly tripled?) my reading speed in under an hour. Just gotta keep staying focused until it becomes completely natural

Basically the point was that we're taught to read at speaking speed, due to vocalisation being the only way to really test reading ability in a youngster.

This leads to a few different things

1) Our internal monologue follows along in some form (voice in the mind, mouthing of words, mouth movements, etc..)
2) The speed we read at is limited by the pace of this internal monologue
3) We focus on each and every word we're reading

Basically what the book advises is this:

- No internal monologue. Shut it off. Just see the words and understand them
- Look at groups of words (along a line), rather than each individual word. Your mind can still grab all the information it needs. This means that you only need to focus on 2-3 points per page rather than 5-15. The wider your peripheral scope, the better you'll be at this (this can be trained). Obviously this means a lot less stoping and starting, and you're getting through each line much faster
- You can actually read a lot faster than you thought anyway, we just usually don't try push past the normal monologue speed. Once you work out how to stop that, just try read faster. You'll be amazed by the difference. If you read a lot, you might find even just this step can pretty well 1.5-2x your reading speed.

I'm sure there were other little tips in there, but those are the main ones.

The book I was using is "Triple your reading speed (3e)" By W.E. Cutler
10-14-2013 03:50 AM
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