Doing things effectively yet quickly has become a mandate in this world where time is less and work is more. Thus, the acquisition of rapid reading skills become important for students as it helps them to study more effectively in lesser time and also increases their power to assimilate and concentrate.
So what exactly is rapid reading?
Reading that is faster than a person’s normal rate of reading, in other words, reading that is accelerated is called rapid reading. Rapid reading is often used for specific purposes, as to locate essential information only, to get an overview of text, etc.
Rapid reading skills enable you to improve:
• Your reading ability so that you can find the information you need quickly and easily
• The skills for making notes so that the notes you make are clear, easy to understand and quick to review
• Your revision techniques so that you can retain information in your mind
The key insight
The most significant secret of rapid reading is to know what information you want from a particular chapter before you start reading it. If you want only an outline of what the chapter consists of, then you can skim through the chapter quickly by running your eyes through the chapter with extreme concentration and extract only the essential facts. If you need to understand and assimilate the chapter in detail then you must read it slowly enough to absorb all nuances and concepts well and yet not too slowly as that will give space to your mind to wander.
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Tips for rapid reading
Here are some helpful tips and tricks that will enable you to master rapid reading skills:
Increase the number of words to be read in one go
Yes! Expanding the number of words that you read at a time will take a conscious effort from your end but it will help you in achieving the larger goal. With practice, you will be able to read faster. Holding the text a little further from your eyes also significantly helps in increasing the number of words in each block. The more words you can read in each block, the faster you will read!
Reducing fixation time
The minimum length of time needed to read each block is probably only a quarter of a second. But most of us, when reading at peace or luxuriously, take much longer. By pushing yourself to reduce the time you take to read one block, you will get better at picking up information quickly. Again, this will largely improve with practice and confidence.
Skip obstacles and come back to them later
While reading a passage, if you don’t get a word’s meaning, do not get stuck on it. Keep a note book and keep writing the words you don’t understand in it or simply underline the words on the text itself. Then go back later after reading the material once and find out the meaning of these terms. These are words whose meanings you should know so that the material makes sense to you so don’t skip it either.
Do not try to pronounce each word – whether loudly or in your head
This habit of pronouncing each word internally in our head or loudly slows the process of reading. So do not indulge in it. Rather, just let your eyes glide on the sentences block by block and you will find yourself reading faster and with greater concentration.
Avoid the tendency to skip back
Most of us are lured towards re-reading or skipping back to previous lines. To reduce the number of times that your eyes skip back to a previous sentence, run a pointer along the line as you read. This could be a finger, or a pen or pencil. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, smoothing the flow of your reading. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which your hand guides the pointer.
The idea is to read fast but also to gather enough relevant information from the text. So master the trick of reading fast and you will find yourself with so much more extra time and yet ready for those exams. All the best!
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