You know you read slowly, but you don’t know how to improve. Does this sound like you? A lot of us are in the same position, but we don’t have to be. Read on, and you’ll learn how to give your reading a killer jump-start!
Good reading techniques allow you to read through material with speed and a high level of comprehension. We’re going to talk about two of these methods – eye span and regression. They both work well for computer (on-screen) reading and printed text.
Eye span is perhaps the single most important technique to reading faster. It refers to the number of words you can take in at a single glance. Word-by-word readers are the slowest kind of readers, since they stop to fixate on every single word. They also lose comprehension because they don’t see the material in context. Unless you can learn to take in multiple words – or phrases – at a time, you will have trouble increasing your speed and your reading comprehension.
To find your current eye span, look at a column of text. If you can see all the words on a line at one time, but not more, then this is your eye span. You should read with your vision placed slightly above the words at the midpoint of your span. This will allow you to use your peripheral vision and see more information than just what appears before your central visual field. When you are ready to increase your span, do so by adding a single word more at a time; too many additional words all at once will prove too difficult to master.
Regression is a bad habit that can slow you down a lot! It means the unnecessary re-reading of material. Sometimes people get into the habit of skipping back to words they have just read. They also may jump back a few words or a few sentences, just to make sure that they read something right. Although they are concerned about comprehension, the word or phrase they go back to is usually something small, like “and” or “the.” These words do not contribute to overall comprehension.
Another problem with regression is that it makes you lose the flow and structure of the text. As a result, your overall understanding of the material can decrease. Occasionally, however, regressions are necessary to clarify a point. Make sure that if you do regress, it is only to help boost your overall comprehension of the text.