Do you know that we dedicate more than ¼ of our life to formal education. Furthermore, if you want to be successful nowadays, it is necessary to study and develop during all your life. We are studying constantly and every day… Teachers tought us how to read and to write, but no one thought us how to read (study) effectively.
Reading effectively is not a magic. That is a skill which can be learned with practice. In addition, it contributes a lot in breaking all bad reading habits that you have developed at school. To be a fast reader is not as important as to be an effective one. There are some great techniques that you can apply – reading fast and emphasizing on key blocks of words-“Chunks”.
How to break the bad reading habits?
Habit: Reading word by word.
That is the way how children are taught to read, but when we focus on separate words we miss the whole idea of the text. That is the reason why people who read word by word slowly understand less in comparison to the fast readers, people who read with high speed and connect a couple words into meaningful blocks.
So called “Speed reading” embodies in itself the method of reading word blocks and understanding their meaning simultaneously. For instance, associate the text with “JPG” image. There are million pixels that can give you information only if they are seen together as an image. Our brain is working in the same way; it can understand ideas better if they are presented in group of words, so called “Chunks”, instead of one single word.
The number of words that you can read in a certain moment increases with the practice. You can find out that is easier to read the book when you increase the distance between it and your eyes. The more words you can put in chunks, the faster and more effective you will read. In order to prove that ask yourself questions about the content of the text.
Habit: Ineffective movement of the eyes.
Slow readers tend to focus on each word and to work along each row. Actually the eye has range of sight around 4 centimeters in certain moment, which means that for an average page from a book that covers around 4 up to 5 words. In this connection, appears the fact that the majority of the reads do not use their peripheral vision.
We have to blur a bit our vision when we read. Step by step you will start to see word blocks instead of separate words. When you become good at that your eyes will soar through the page. When you approach the end of a row, make an attempt with your peripheral vision to see the words in the end of the row. In this way you can fast scan trough the current row and down towards the next one.
Furthermore if you read a row twice or more use an index like a pen or pencil. That will decrease the number of times your eyes miss information in the text. Your reading speed will depend in the speed you use the row-index. The faster you move it, the faster you will read. With the practice it won’t be unusual for you to read 700 words per minute.
Habit: Week concentration.
If you have tried to read while the TV is on or when you are surrounded by many activities, you will probably know how difficult is to concentrate over one word. So you can image that is impossible when we talk about whole sentences in a sequence. You have to read in an environment without exogenous distractions.
Solution: When you are reading stop multitasking. That is of great importance if you are trying to accelerate and enhance your reading skills, because when you start to create chunks and you are interrupted from another activity. Very often after 1-2 pages you will understand that you did not get the idea of these pages. Furthermore, try to stop thinking about the undone chores because that will limit you capabilities of processing information.
Subvocalization makes our brain to listen the content you are reading. For that reason people often state that they cannot read listen to radio and watch TV simultaneously. In order to become an effective reader you need to stop multitasking and to concentrate only on the text.
In this article I have offered a couple solutions and advice, which can help you to read much more effectively and get rid of bad reading habits. Via them you take extract the maximum from the materials you are reading, putting minimal efforts.