Increasing the reading speed is not an end in itself. If you do not understand the meaning, you can run your eyes on the lines at least a million kilometers per hour, it will not be useful.
In this chapter, I will clarify one concept, three questions, and one great trick to prepare your brain for reading, which combines speed with understanding. You will also learn how to actively process information to keep it as long as possible.
To begin with, we debunk a myth that faster reading hurts understanding.
Many of our students are afraid that by reading faster, they will not understand the essence of the text. I know why this misconception arises; sometimes a methodical approach is really needed. Remember “transmissions” when reading? A slower pace is useful in certain cases: if the material is very difficult, relates to a field of special knowledge or to a topic about which you have little preliminary information.
It is always wrong to think that an increase in reading speed always worsens the perception of the text. In fact, the opposite is true: with increasing speed, understanding grows.
It is paradoxical at first glance, but if you think about it a little bit, everything falls into place. Mostly your reading speed at the level of sixth class is due to three habits that we have discussed here:
It has been proven that eliminating these three habits improves reading speed. This is largely due to the fact that in order to combat them, you need a sharp improvement in attentiveness. It is impossible to organize the work of the eyes or use special methods thoughtlessly; you need to do it consciously.
Isn’t it logical that the increase in attentiveness, which led to an increase in speed, should also improve understanding? This is confirmed in our workshops, where students often grow in understanding and speed together to a certain point. However, sometimes understanding is slightly reduced at first, because at first this method brings discomfort, confuses the brain. Go to the site and find out more information https://argoprep.com/blog/improve-your-childs-reading-comprehension-level/
But remember: speed and understanding grow in parallel up to a certain point. Whatever progress you have already made, there is a boundary, after which you do not read, but just watch. And you need to find where it goes in your case, and constantly push it back. However, we know for sure that the increase in speed always precedes a better understanding. So, improving the overall efficiency of reading, it is useful to sacrifice understanding for a while. First, focus on speed, let comprehension catch up with it, and let it compare at a higher level; then repeat the cycle.
To get ready, ask yourself three “reasonable questions” before you start reading any material.
- Why am I reading this?
- Why do I need this information?
- How much time do I have?
Ask these three questions before reading any material. There is no need to dwell on the answers: the questions themselves will give a powerful boost to your overall effectiveness. You give your brain a setting for productive work and warm it up! These questions also help you focus and understand the general context. Then your results will undoubtedly improve. And most importantly, the activating reticular system is used. Remember, I was talking about this part of the brain: it, for example, draws your attention to the machines of the brand that you have decided to buy. You ask your brain: “What am I looking for here? As we know from the introduction, you see what you are looking for, even on a micro level like reading material.
If you were to change just one thing when reading these questions before diving into the material, it would already have a serious impact on the effectiveness of reading. The charming thing about these questions is that they only take ten seconds to answer, and the return on them is huge!
Reasonable reading. Why and how to “read intelligently”.
The most effective method that will take your reading speed and understanding to the next level, get preliminary knowledge. If you already know a lot about the topic of the material being studied, then your brain itself predicts what will happen next. This allows you to accurately fill in the gaps, even when you move at high speed. Preliminary knowledge also allows you to instinctively understand when you can cursorily view a section, and when to read and even make a summary. Preliminary knowledge, like rocket engines, takes understanding and speed to new heights. Nothing compares to them in power.
So how to acquire preliminary knowledge about the topic of the new text? Learn “reasonable reading”!
“Reasonable reading” (formerly called “tricky”) is a simple process: you deliberately review the material before reading it. It can be applied to any material except for artwork. It can be, for example, a book like this, a newspaper or a magazine. Why do you need “reasonable reading”?
The creator of a documentary or scientific work begins by writing an author’s plan. This is the backbone of the work. The author first creates a summary of the main ideas, and then complements and expands it to make it more interesting. The main ideas of any documentary or scientific work are contained in the author’s plan. If you could familiarize yourself with it before reading the whole chapter, article, etc., you would get a lot of preliminary knowledge. The author’s plan would be a map to help you quickly navigate through the material.
But I can make you happy: you can read this plan in advance, it is just hiding from you! For an overview reading of a chapter or article, try the three-step approach.
- Step 1: Read the first paragraph, from which you will learn about the main theme or purpose of the material.
- Step 2: Read the last paragraph: it usually links all the parts together or brings you to the next part of the text.
- Step 3: read one or two initial sentences from the rest of the paragraphs: you will find the main ideas in them. If you want to be completely sure, you can also read the last sentences of the paragraphs.
This is the “reasonable reading” in the summary. You will be amazed at how effectively it can prepare your mind to perceive a particular material. Here are the three best ways to apply “reasonable reading:
- For sifting. Often, you can take out of the review all that you want or need. Maybe you already know more of the author, this information you do not need right now or at all. In this case, you can just skip this material. What a relief!
- For an overview. Let’s say you reviewed the text with a “reasonable reading”; now you know the main ideas. You have enriched your preliminary knowledge and prepared your brain to absorb information at a very high level.
- For repetition. Even after reading the material, you may need to repeat it or refresh your memory. Perhaps you are preparing for a test or want to create a presentation, etc. A quick overview is a great way to remember the material.
So, by combining everything you have learned in this section, you get an effective way to prepare your brain for the material you need and then give it a “map” of what you are going to read. By combining the three questions of “smart reading” with a “smart” overview of the material, you will wonder how quickly you can assimilate information at the highest level of understanding.
I would recommend that you ask yourself these three questions before each next chapter of this book, and then apply the Smart Reading method. This way you will be able to absorb more information and learn it faster.