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10 steps: How To Speed Read

When I was 20 I took a four hour course explaining how to do this. I read hundreds of books this way. Over time I fell out of practice. These techniques work best on paper books because it is easy to jump around and scan. You can take some of these techniques to electronic books.

This is a skill that will not take away your ability to read as you currently do, it is just an available super power when you need it. You can also vary your speed rading based on the content of the book. I have found that I will frequently get more out of a book if I speed read because I am focusing more attention on the task. You can read a book in an hour and still get something out of it or you can take time or speed read certain chapters. When I was in practice I read almost everything this way.

There are some apps that will do this for you and present a stream of words very quickly. I have not tried them yet.

This is how it is done!

10 steps: How To Speed Read

    1. Speed reading is about active reading: seek information

    You are actively extracting information from the book: not necessarily reading every word. Read with a goal in mind.

    2. Pre Read: study the meta data of the book. This should take 2-3 minutes

    Who wrote it? What is their background? When was the book written? What country is the author from? Where does the book take place? For example, a book about a health crisis will be different from an economist, professor or medical doctor. It will also be different depending on when it was written: 1975? 2023? Books about technology can be interesting time capsules.

    3. Pre Read: Scan the book by looking at every page: you will be flipping through the pages. This should take 5-10 minutes about 1 second on each page

    Hold your gaze at the middle of the pages. Pay attention to the flow of ideas. Are there any diagrams? What are the fonts ued for emphasis? Does the book use highlights or summaries at the end of chapters? Is there an index? How are the chapters broken up? How long is each chapter?

    Spend extra time to study diagrams.

    if there are chapter summaries, read them first. This is great for textbooks.

    4. Pre Read: Read the conclusion first. You can speed read this if you want

    After you have spent about 15 minutes studying the book read the last chapter: what was the point? By this time you will have a very good idea of the message the author wants to convey.

    5. Reading technique one: turn off you internal vocalization

    Many people, including me, have an internal voice that "reads" the words. Scan the words with your eyes and try to turn off this voice. You can check your comprehension later.

    6. Reading technique 2: read chunks of words at once

    With practice you can take on phrases and sentences with a single glance.

    7. Reading technique 3: read down the middle of the page and ignore the sides

    Your brain will usually fill in the sides

    8. Reading technique 4: use your hand or a card to pace yourself

    This is the visual indication of "speed reading" where you can see someone pacing themselves. Set your pace much faster than you can normally read. You may go beyond what you understand at the moment but a few pages later your brain will fill in the blanks.

    This pacesetting prevents re-reading and getting stuck in a loop.

    9. Reading technique 5: read in both directions

    Sweep your hand back and forth and move down the page at a steady pace.

    This technique combines the other four. You can read and comprehend a page in a few seconds this way.

    10. This also works for fiction books

    If you want to be surprised don't pre read. But, for example, if you want to read "The Hobbit" because everyone says how great it is you can invest as much time as you want. When you see a paragraph describing a house you can skim it and think: "nice house"

    11. Practice!

    It is good to start with biographies and history books because you know how it ends. If you are in a university practice on textbooks and read before class (like you are supposed to anyway).

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