by Waller Jamison
One of the biggest problems facing students these days is
time. So learning to speed read should be top of your "skills to acquire" list. Speed reading will enable you to
get through your assignments much more quickly and it's a skill which will be invaluable long after your studies
Whatever career you enter, there is a high chance that you'll
find yourself bombarded with information and so learning to speed read now, will help your throughout your life.
There are a few techniques you can learn which will help you knock a few minutes off your reading speed and help
you become more selective in deciding what you need to read.
You'll find some of these below, but if you're in a hurry,
here's a very clever technique which will double your reading speed in only 16 minutes. You can continue using it
to reach higher speeds, but it will give you immediate results without hours of practice
So, what exactly is speed reading and how can you learn
it? There are a number of courses available and they concentrate on different technques, but there are a few basic
speedreading skills which will enable you to get started straight away. The first skill you need to master is
deciding which books and articles you should be focusing on. It's easy to waste too much time in the library
browsing through books and articles which aren't appropriate for your assignment.
So, your speedreading starts as soon as you begin researching
your project. The first thing you need to do, is to be decide why you are reading. Obviously, you are reading in
order to write an assignment, but what is the main question you are answering?
The general topic will be broad and so you could plough
through a lot of written material and have nothing relevant to show for it. So define your focus and come up with
your title. then you need to find out which books are most appropriate. For this, you will need to learn skimming
Speed Reading Techniques
Skimming simply means looking at the book or article to
decide if it is relevant. So you are looking for chapter titles, looking through the relevant chapters for
subheadings, text under diagrams and graphs to see if it all relates to your topic. Skimming involves searching for
general information to give you an overview of the content of the reading material.
Scanning is similar but more specific, you are looking for
more exact information, often in the form of keywords, for example, skimming this website would show you that it is
about changing careers, including becoming self-employed, while scanning would reveal that there is specific
information on setting up an internet business.
Once you've found the books you need, you can do some more
skimming and scanning to work out which chapters or paragraphs you need to study in depth. Before you start to read
those sections, take a look at the speedreading techniques below.
Now that you know which chapters you need to focus on, you
can work on several new speedreading techniques which will help you to cover the information more quickly. Practise
looking at larger blocks of words.
So if you normally read each word before looking at the next,
try looking at 3 words at a time and when you can do that comfortably, look at 5 or 6 at a time. If you jump back
to read bits of text again, using a pen to follow the words you are reading can help reduce this tendency. Use a
postcard or something similar to cover the line you have just read and slide this down the page as you go, to
Read the first paragraph of any chapter more carefully than
the rest and if there is a summary, pay attention to that. If you have to read a long piece of text, concentrate on
the opening and closing lines of each paragraph, as they tend to contain the most important information. If the
book belongs to you, highlight important sections and make notes as you go. Keep the question you are answering in
front of you as you read and look at it from time to time to make sure you are staying on focus.
Mastering speed reading is not difficult and you'll find the
little bit of time you invest in learning, will be rewarded with better results from your studying
Once you have finished your background reading and note
taking, you're ready to start writing your essay.