Improve Your Reading – Speed Reading & Active Reading Strategies

The Facts:

  • The average reading speed in the US is 200-300 wpm (1/2 to 1 page per minute), with the top 1% of the population reading over 400 wpm.

5 Obstacles to effective reading

  1. Lack of education
  2. Lack of focus
  3. Subvocalization
  4. Regression (conscious rereading) & back-skipping (subconscious rereading via misplacement of fixation) account for 30% of total reading time.
  5. Belief

5 Pillars of Effective Reading

  1. Place (where)
  2. Physiology (what)
    • Posture
    • Breathing
    • Water
    • Book positioning
  3. Psychology (why)
    • all learning is state dependent. you would learn things different if you were fascinated by it. cultivate curiosity. positive expectancy.
  4. Procedure (how)
    • visual pacer. = left hand. b/c triggers right side of brain (imagination, creativity). whereas reading usually left side (logical, words).
  5. Practice (when)

Speed Reading Tips:

  1. Use a pointer – index finger or pencil. Left hand engages right side of brain (visual).
  2. Start 1 word in and end 1 word before – your eyes catch more words than you think. Eventually you can go to 2 words & even 3 words.
  3. Practice drills.

Speed Reading Exercises:

  1. 4-3-2-1 Drill = Read for 1 minute & get your WPM. Read for 4 minutes & mark when you ended, then read the same amount in 3, 2, and 1 minute. Then read for 1 minute and see your new WPM. Then read for 5-10 minutes until it sticks.
  2. Alarm clock drill – see below.

Active Reading Tips:

  1. Ask yourself pre-reading questions: What is the topic? What do I know about it? The 5 W’s = who, what, where, when, why?
  2. Bracket the main idea or thesis of the reading.
  3. Put down your highlighter. Make marginal notes instead.
  4. Write down key words & questions in margins. *Asking questions is critical to better comprehension.
  5. Make outlines, flow charts, diagrams to map out ideas.
  6. Answer “what the page just said” at the bottom of the page.
  7. Write a summary of the chapter & book.
  8. * Teach what you have learnt to someone else (vocal is best). Read as though you will have to teach this material right after. How would I teach this to someone? And when you get to teach it, you learn it twice.
  9. Jim Kwik’s  4 pillars of power:

    Power of purpose — Why am I reading this? If I have no outcome, I stop reading it. What’s in it for me? I learn to teach. What is my outcome? How will this benefit others? Learn it to help others.

    Power of organization —How is this information organized? How can I better organize it? How is this info related to each other? How does this relate to what I already know? What is the easiest way to learn this? To organize it?

    Power of questions —who what where when why, how, what are the main ideas? how does this work? what information is important? is this correct?

    Power of anticipation — anticipate what you’re about to read, be curious, Whats coming next? Where is the author going with this? What’s going to happen? (guess). How can I use this? How can I make this better? How will I use this? Anticipate how you are going to use this? If I were to teach this to someone else, how would I go about doing it? (great way to own the information).

Active Reading Exercises:

  1. 3 R’s = Read, Record (5 W’s, main ideas paraphrase, etc), Relate = vocalize what you learnt to someone else.

Other Resources:

Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes by Tim Ferriss

7 Keys to Reading Faster by Scott Young

Active Reading Strategies by Princeton University

Alarm Clock Drill by Cornell University

Concept Mapping by Cornell University

Active Reading Resources by Darmouth University

Read More Books Now by Brandon Vogt – Summary

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