"Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body."
Reading is a big part of all of our lives. Be it reading the study matter; emails received, websites, newspapers, or magazines; we all read in some form or the other. Despite this fact, not a lot of us consider improving our reading skills. Being a better reader would mean taking in information faster and retaining most of it. This would not only end up saving a whole lot of time but would also improve our grasping power, vocabulary, and knowledge. The process of rapidly recognizing phrases or sentences rather than identifying individual words is referred to as speed reading. Following are some points which can be followed for effective and quick reading:
1. Enhancement of the peripheral vision
The distance and position at which you place the reading material matter. It should be ensured that it isn't too close to the eyes as that would cause strain. The study material should also not be placed so far that the words aren't clear. The ideal position would be straight in front of the eyes at a distance from where an entire sentence could be read in one go. This is a factor that a lot of us overlook. You should consciously make efforts to ensure that you maintain the right distance.
2. Usage of a pointer
If you are someone who tends to miss a line while reading or re-read a sentence to be sure, you are someone in need of a pointer. You can use a pencil, pen, or even your finger as a pointer. Place it under the sentences as you read, and you'd notice that your eyes would move along. Slowly and steadily, try to increase the motion of the pointer for better results. This would ensure that you don't lose your reading flow, saving your valuable time. This would also help you stay focused up to a great extent.
3. Put an end to sub-vocalization
Sub-vocalization is when you speak each word in your head as you read. You would've never thought that this process would be a problem. But, when you read without sub-vocalization, you'd realize that a lot of time is saved. To avoid this, you can read larger chunks of words. In this step also, you would be required to make conscious efforts to ensure you don't read in your mind.
4. Read more words at a time.
One of the main reasons for reading slowly is that you tend to focus on every word. However, if you try reading four to five words at a time, it wouldn't make a difference to the level of understanding. But, this would drastically affect the time taken to read the same material. If this step is followed, you will be able to maintain the flow of what you read.
5. Concentration Level
When you're trying out effective reading, you should ensure that you can concentrate. Your level of concentration is directly proportional to your level of understanding. There should be no distractions, and you should not be thinking about anything else. Focus on the book's purpose and as you go along, try answering questions like who, what, when, where, etc.…
6. Title and introduction
Introduction and title of what you're reading play an essential role in the overall reading process. This is so because you can't go ahead with anything without understanding what it's about. Hence, you must spend some time reading the introduction for a better understanding of the content ahead. It also gives content direction and purpose, and you'd know what to expect out of the process.
7. Visualize what you read
Connect everything you read with visuals to memorize it better. It would be best if you tried to imagine and picture as many topics as possible. Studies show that when you do this, you relate a certain situation or object to the reading, leading to higher chances of data retention. If you highlight the important topics, make sure you use different colours to highlight different portions. Studies also show that your brain relates a particular colour to a specific topic when you do that.
8. The balance between attention, speed, and retention
The three most essential elements of effective reading are attention, speed, and retention. While speed is the rate at which you read, attention is the concentration level, while reading and retention means the knowledge you can understand and retain everything you have read. Each of these elements is equally important. It must be ensured that to improve one factor, the others don't get hampered. These three elements go hand in hand and are hence correlated. However, improvement in one of these factors would ultimately result in others' improvement.
9. Highlight to revisit later
You must divide everything you read into important and unimportant topics. While fast-reading can cover trivial topics, you can slow down a little when you cover important topics. It would be best to highlight all of the critical topics in your opinion so that later, you can revisit them as and when required.
10. Record your progress
It is important to keep a tab on the progress you make. It's only then when you realize the areas where there is scope for improvement. This factor would be an indicator of your practice paying off. Time yourself and make reading goals. It's important to remember that the amount of time you spend reading varies from each genre of book that you select.
11. Practice makes a man perfect.
If there's one thing common in all of the steps mentioned above, it is practice. To ensure that you can make these little changes in your reading regime, you must ensure that you read regularly. Inculcate one step at a time. Train your brain and eyes simultaneously and spend at least an hour every day in quality reading.
You may also be interested in: 10 Tips to Help You Adopt a Learning Mindset
Author: Shweta Singh