I've been working recently to develop a skill.I feel like developing new skills is something everyone should do - and something I haven't done enough.
One thing that recently caught my attention: people were talking on the radio about speed reading.Okay, not really.They were talking about something else, but someone made mention of speed reading.I took that concept - (and let me stress again that speed reading itself had little to do with the conversation on that radio talk show) - and did some thinking about it.
I consider reading as a hobby.I make a goal to read a book every 2 weeks or so.But I read the book at about 200-240 words per minute, which isn't very fast.I discovered that I suffer from what's called sub-vocalization.Sub-vocalization is the unnecessary tendency for people to silently read each word to themselves, while they're reading.For those people, the speed of their reading can only be as fast as the silent voice in their head.
So I have to try to ween myself off of dependence on that voice.I've noticed that when I focus myself mentally and try to read fast without the sounds of individual words popping into my head, I still understand what I read.It's kind of amazing, though unfortunately it's also very difficult to sustain for more than a paragraph or so at a time.
I've done a couple exercises where I put a pen, finger, whatever, in the middle of the page and just below the line I'm on, and move the object down, line by line, at a speed that forces me to read faster than I normally would.And that's supposed to be one way to speed up your reading pace.Doing that, your reading speed depends on how fast you move the object; you just have to make sure you're moving the object slow enough that you are understanding the text.
I've also discovered the "metronome" style, which I like to use in conjunction with a pen or finger on the page.*tick* first I read the text on the line I'm on that's to the left of the object.Then, *tick* I read the text on the right side, then *tick* next line, and so on.In kind of practicing with that I can read 60 lines a minute.
Most children start learning to read by breaking a word up into its letters.Not long after, children learn syllables.Then they start reading word-by-word, as they spend time of every word, and how it contributes meaning to the sentence it's found in.As you grow up, you start grouping words together into small phrases, and as you get used to that you can interpret meaning of the phrases fast enough that all it takes is a quick scan of it with your eye, then you move on.According to the book, faster reading comes with learning to group the words together into still-bigger chunks.And that is what I'm practicing right now.
I will make sure to mix practicing these speed-reading techniques in to my nightly reading habits.I figure with my reading goals I set myself to, it wouldn't hurt if I could finish more reading faster.Especially if (as most speed-reading programs claim) I won't lose any comprehension of the material.
I'm working to improve another skill too.I'll address that next time.