You should have realized by now that your brain is able to remember A LOT of information in a short space of time. This should give you lots of encouragement as now you just need to do this with words as you read!
However, you may think this is much easier said than done. Before starting this course, you probably thought that speed reading was a skill for a select few, highly gifted people, but everyone has the potential to read quicker. If you continue to believe you don’t have the ability to speed read, then you are likely to struggle to make improvements.
We are here, though, to make sure you do believe in yourself and to get you in the right frame of mind to apply the skills you learn to your reading.
Did you know the majority of people read approximately 200 words per minute? That sounds pretty quick already, but you can go even faster.
Around the top 10% of people can read at 600 words per minute, whilst the top 0.1% can read 1000 words per minute.
Now I can’t say what level you will manage to reach, but I can tell you that everyone has scope for improvement, particularly if you’re just starting out. By getting to Lesson 3 of this course you have taken the first steps to becoming a speed reader, and now we can start to look at how to create the right mindset for speed reading.
First, let’s have a quick look at how we speed read. It’s important to realize speed readers use both sides of their brains: the left which deals mainly with logic, theory, numbers, and words; and the right which deals with emotions, feelings, and visuals, as well as memory.
Now, as many people read, they only use the left-hand side of the brain. Whilst this is understandable as this controls learning and writing, you aren’t making the most of all the available brain capacity you have!
Activating the right-hand side of your brain will help you to take in information faster and read quicker. Think again about how quickly you can remember information in images. This is because the right-hand side of your brain is also working as it is a visual prompt that is likely to generate some sort of feeling in you. Sadly, however, you can’t just press a button to make the right-hand side of your brain work as you read!
You need to practice and train it so using all your brain as you read becomes second nature. But how can you do this? It is simply about creating images in your head as you read and visualizing the text rather than subvocalising it (reading it aloud in your head).
The practice you did with the images in the last lesson is ideal for getting you used to this, so continuing this, maybe with more complex images, will help to prepare you for the next stage.
You can also begin to try out these techniques on texts. It is a good idea to start with something you’re already familiar with (and enjoy) so that you already know what it’s about. Because of this, you should find you don’t need to read each word one by one and automatically read a little bit quicker than normal.
If you still find yourself reading each word aloud in your head, try to eliminate this using the distraction technique discussed in Lesson 1. In its place, try to create vivid images in your brain to make sure you are working your left and right sides to full effect.
Next lesson we will come on to chunking. This again helps you with your memory and is a key technique to help you read even quicker. You may find it difficult to create visual images and not read every word individually, but chunking will help you to overcome this obstacle and help you to understand pieces of text faster, even if you’ve never read it before!