Your teacher told you to read a 300-page novel in a week. Time is short, and there is too much to read! What are you going to do?
Speed reading is an approach that can help you read quickly in less time, but without sacrificing comprehension. However, it is not magic nor a big expensive mystery. Like any other skill, speed reading has techniques that you should diligently practice. Here are some of them:
1. The Pointer
This technique has three kinds: the left-pointer pull, the right-pointer pull, and the center-pointer pull. The three kinds are similar in such a way that you simply place your index finger either on the left, right, or center of the page and slowly slide it straight down the page, drawing your eyes down as you read. Keep an easy, relaxed motion, as if your finger has a mind of its own. Your eyes may not be exactly where your finger is, but this simple motion will help you read faster.
The next technique requires you to use either your right or left hand to help draw your eyes across the page. Slighty cup your hand and keep your fingers together. With a very light and smooth motion, sweep your fingers from left to right, underlining the line with the tip of your tallest finger. Use your whole arm to move, balancing on your arm muscle. Imagine that you are dusting off salt from the page.
3. The Z or S Pattern
Another method is a type of modified scanning technique. In this one, you take your hand and cut across the text diagonally about three lines and then slide back to the next line. You can either make a Z or an S on the page with your hand. The idea is to scan the text on the middle part, letting your mind pick out only the main ideas and not necessarily reading each word.
4. The Card Method
This technique uses a card or a folded-up piece of paper above the line of print to block the words after you read them. Slide the card down the page evenly and try to read the passage before you cover the words up. This helps break the habit of reading a passage over and over again. It makes you pay more attention to what you are reading. You can also have a white card cut-out to give more emphasis to the line that you are reading. Challenge yourself by pushing the card down faster than you think you can go.
5. The Vulcan
This last technique is fun for students. It involves pointing your index and pinkie fingers out and holding your two middle fingers back towards your palm with your thumb. Your index and pinkie fingers are your pointers that guide your eyes starting from the first word to the last word of the lines. It seems like your fingers are quickly jumping up and down the page.
These speed reading techniques are simple and easy. These are very useful methods which can help you read faster and better in very little time, but still retain the information in the process. Find which ones are best for you and master them for better results. Use them every time you read an essay, a newspaper, a book, or anything else. By increasing your reading speed, you can be a more effective and successful learner.