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speed reading technique April 18, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, Personal MBA, speed reading.
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many friends have shown interests in the topic 'speed reading' lately, due to the large amount of reading material they need to master during this exam period.

the book 'Super Reading Secrets' by Howard Berg taught me a few techniques to immediately increase the reading speed. I completed this book during a bus trip and found that it not only increased my reading speed, but also as a side affect boosted my interests in reading greatly.

From this book, the most immediately applicable technique for me is to follow a finger when you proceed through the text. This improves your reading speed and quality in several ways, it –

  1. help the readers to stay focused on the text
  2. allow readers to easily set and change the reading pace according to the difficulty of the current chunk of text
  3. prevents readers from getting stuck and continuously re-read a chunk a text. (more on this later)
  4. makes reading to stay focused in an unsteady environment (such as on a bus.. etc)

point 3 is debatable. A friend argued that usually the reason for getting stuck is the lack of comprehension, thus obviously one should pay extra attentions to it by repetitively reading it.
but how often did the second read help?

Howard's approaches to this problem is a bit different. He explained that the reason for failing to extract meaningful information from a chunk of text is either because the text is garbage, or because the reader has not enough knowledge to process the text.

In the latter case, Howard argues that by continuing to read ahead, it's very likely that readers will eventually pick up enough 'schemas' (key concepts) to be able to interpret what was left behind. so by quickly marking up left-out text and returning to them for a more careful examination would be a more efficient approach. You will be surprised how often these left-out text are actually not as meaningful as you thought they were to start with.

thanks to James Perly for insisting on this book. It will definitely help me on the quest to complete portions of the Personal MBA program.

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