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Speed reading title graphic

By Aparna Shankarraman

The competitive world requires every individual to keep abreast of the fast changing technology, as well as the latest developments in every sphere. How can you do this? Simple, you can steer ahead of the competition by reading every bit of information that comes your way.

Reading is one of the main techniques of absorbing information, and a good reader can work wonders with the minimum time at his disposal.

Reading at a fast pace can help you read the morning newspaper, browse the countless mails from customers and colleagues, books, periodicals, reports and even your favorite magazine/ novel within a short span. When you look closely, reading is actually a work-related skill that you need most often in your life.

Most people acknowledge that though they approach a book with an intent to complete reading it within few minutes, they literally take hours to finish it. Why is this so?

First, you will have to understand the main reason that impedes your reading speed. There can be several factors that can stop you from reading and comprehending information at a same time. Reading word by word, sub-vocalization, poor concentration, regression are some bad reading habits that bring down your speed of reading. This article focusses on a simple trick that will give you more time to read.

You will amazed to find that you can master the art of fast reading within a matter of a fifteen minutes. This trick is a set of three steps and you need to master each step before proceeding to the next one.

· Use Index Finger as a Pointer
The first and foremost step to speed reading is to you use your hand as a pointer on the words while reading. Move your index finger below the words that you intend to read, and increase the speed of finger movement in a phased manner. Keeping your finger below the word can help you improve your speed and also help you overcome the habit of backtracking.

Backtracking slows many readers as this habit makes people come back to read the first word after completing four to five words. To help you stop backtracking, you should use your index finger as a race car. Move your finger under the text at a speed faster than you generally read. Remember to look only at word above your finger, and you will find yourself coming out of the habit of backtracking.

· Use the Z Eye Pattern
The next step is to control the motion of your eyeballs. Focus your eyes only on those words, which you are reading at the moment. Use the 'Z' concept while trying to read the page.

This Z concept works on the principle that your eyes move from left to right to complete a line, then sweep diagonally to the next line on the left hand side, and complete reading it without any unnecessary intermissions. Repeat the z pattern down the page. Try completing as much z patterns as you can and surpass your own result on the next page.

Now combine both the techniques of finger-pointing and eye movement. Glide your hands from left to the right side with such speed that your eyes will automatically follow the Z concept. The index finger acts like a guide or an indicator for the eyes, and help you to concentrate fully on the reading content. You can increase the speed by improving the pace of the finger motion.

· Use Peripheral Vision Technique
Once you have mastered the speed of reading one line per second, then you start using our peripheral vision to read even faster. The human brain can work at a lightning speed, and is actually capable of comprehending several words simultaneously. The key to improve your speed of reading is to read two or three words at a time, instead of just one word. In order to read multiple words at a time, you need to develop your peripheral vision. You should try to capture more words within your vision than just concentrating on a single word.

You can two fingers, instead of mere index finger to point to multiple words, and capture them in your vision. Seems tough, not at all. It just requires some practice. You can get into the habit of reading chunks of text by practicing to read a newspaper. Newspaper columns are normally around 1.85 inches in measurement. You can easily fit around four to five words in your vision, thereby providing you the perfect medium to master reading many words at a time. Use your two fingers as pointers, read in a z pattern, and use your peripheral vision to capture multiple words at a time within your vision range. In fact, your brain can comprehend more words with this simple method than by reading a single word at a time.

Reading at a fast pace definitely requires a lot of practice, but a fifteen minute practice can definitely improve your overall reading speed. You can soon find yourself reading through a local news about a dance event, within a matter of seconds. Many people have gained considerable improvements by following this simple tactic. You will not only be able to read at a faster pace, but also complete your daily work more quickly and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

However, ensure that your speed of moving hands does not interfere with your comprehension ability. If your mind fails to understand what you are reading, then you should try to reduce your speed. Similarly, if the words appear blurred while moving the fingers at a fast pace, then it is an indication that you are reading a little too fast. Reading one line is a second is considered a pretty good speed for a beginner.

This trick is of utmost significance, and can definitely give you more time to read during the day. A person who has mastered the art of speed reading never complains about the lack of time to read his favorite book, magazine, developments or newspaper.


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