1. Use a Pointer
Your eyes don’t actually stay fixed in one spot. They are frequently making brief twitches away from your center of focus to gather more information. These movements are called saccades and they represent the first tool novice readers can use to read faster.
Normally, when your eye twitches away, it must relocate in its previous position. Unfortunately, when you read, this position is constantly moving. Saccades (and just general distractions) cause you to slow down as you must search for your current reading position. The solution is to use a pointer.
The easiest pointer is just the tip of your finger. Simply place your index finger below a line of text and move it as you read. Initially, using a pointer will be slower than regular reading. But after you’re used to the motion, you can read more effectively.
Note for Advanced Speed-Readers: You can further increase your speed-reading rates by keeping your pointer 1-2cm away from the margins of the text. Your eye can catch the words in about a 1″ radius, so this can shave off a bit of reading time.
2. Speed Reading Is About Control, Not Speed
I dislike the way speed reading is often presented because it makes the skill seem to be only about increasing your top speed. As a result, many people are quick to judge that people can’t physically process more information or point out that comprehension goes down while speed reading.
To me, these arguments miss the point. Speed reading is about controlling your reading rate, not just going faster. If you’re in a racecar, top speed is important, but even more important is the driver’s skill at adjusting speeds to make careful turns. The ability to control your speed will make you a much more efficient reader than just blazing through text.
A pointer helps with control because instead of just using your eyes, you can physically move your hand to adjust your reading speed. If you move your hand faster, you will be forced to read faster. Also, if you slow your pointer down, your reading will slow. This kind of control allows you to carefully read confusing or important sections of text and go faster through obvious text or pieces of fluff.
For example, in a book I’m reading right now, the author frequently resorts to the same 3-4 paragraphs of description to explain a recurring idea. The paragraphs aren’t identical, but similar enough that I can use my pointer to skim through the content and still get the message..............
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