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Wise Words

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A Short Course on Speed Reading

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Posted 19 November 2015 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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These can be tailored to your specific needs.
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You may find the following will help with your Written Communication skills training.

Speed Reading

Speed reading is designed to enable you to do three things;

  • Increase your reading rate.
  • Improve your comprehension of what you have read, and also
  • Improve your recall of what you have read.

That is not easy.

The principles of speed reading are as follows

  • Don't try to vocalise as you read.
  • Read with only your eyes and don't vocalise words to yourself, even in your own mind.
  • Instead, try simply to SEE and understand the content in the form of vivid mental images.
  • Try to visualise the content in the form of mental images that you'll find easy to recall later.
  • As you read, strive to translate the text into a mental movie, which is full of vivid images, sounds and actions. Endeavour to encode the content in the form of icons that can hold meaning in your memory.

For example, read this short text, and try especially to visualise images for the words I have bolded that will act as markers for the memory:

The sun

The Sun, is the centre of our solar system which is the planetary system that includes our Earth.

By the radiation of its light and heat, the Sun provides us with practically all of the energy that supports life on Earth. (There are small numbers of creatures that are supported by deep-ocean hydrothermal vents).

For the rest of life, all sources of energy are ultimately derived from the suns solar energy. Plant-life uses solar energy to build up complex biomolecules using hydrogen and oxygen taken from the water and carbon taken from the air. This process is called photosynthesis. Without the energy from the sun, no intelligent life on earth would be possible.

A speed reader would pick out and visualise only these concepts:

The Sun, Solar system. Earth.

Suns Radiation. Energy, life.

Hydrothermal vents.

Plant-life. Complex biomolecules. Water. air.

Photosynthesis. No intelligent life. Possible.

At the end of this amount of visualisation the speed reader would spend a few seconds tying to memorise those images and concretise them into his memory.

Then he/she would pick up reading again and read this:

The distance to the sun from the earth is 92,960,116 miles (about 93 million miles). This distance is used by astronomers as a standard measurement of distance as an astronomical unit, (A.U.). Our sun is a typical star and as such can be used as a useful guide to understand most other stars.

No other star can be studied in such detail.

The next nearest star to us is Proxima Centauri. It claims the honour of being our nearest neighbour at only 4.24 light years away.

Again the speed reader may pause and may spend a few seconds trying to memorise these images-words and concretise them into his/her memory.

Sun distance. 93 million

Astronomical unit, (A.U.).

Typical star. Guide.

Proxima Centauri. 4. Light years.

By this process, the speed reader is seeking to pick out key concepts, visualise them, understand their meaning, then memorise them, then move on to the next section.

Speed reading is an evolution.

You don't learn to do it in a day. You develop your skills over an extended period of time.

Try it and see what you can achieve.

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