The Speed Reading Monster Course


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Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Pre-Requisites of Speed Reading
Chapter 1: Before Speed Reading 8
Consider Your Purpose
Look for Specific Words
Become an Impatient Reader
Different Speeds for Different Materials
Practice Activity
The First Step in Speed Reading
Speed Reading Tips
Knowing How Deeply To Study the Material
Chapter 2: How People Read 14
Short Exercise
Pay Attention
Reducing Fixation Time for Speed Reading
Speed Reading Techniques
Relationship between Reading Rate and Comprehension
Reducing Skip Backs
Five Types of Reading
1. Skimming
2. Scanning
3. Light Reading
4. Word by Word Reading
5. Reading to Study
Chapter 3: Radically Increasing Your Reading Speed 23
Technical Issues
Self-Pacing Techniques in Speed Reading
The Hand Technique
The Finger Technique
The Card Technique
The Sweep Technique
Speed Reading Tips
What Causes Slow Reading?
Tips for Increasing Reading Rate
Chapter 4: Suggestions for Increasing Speed and Effectiveness 31
Major Causes of Slow Reading Speed
Where to Begin ... with Your Next Reading Assignment
Effective Reading Methods
Reading Daily News Method
Reading Newspapers Method
Close Reading Method
Exploratory Reading Method
Reading to Learn Method
Active Reading Method
Chapter 5: Human Mind and Vocalization 39
Subvocalization is a Necessity
Subvocalization: Good or Bad?
Eliminating Subvocalization to Increase Reading Speed
Do you Vocalize Words in Your Mind?
Eliminate the Habit of Pronouncing Words as you Speed Read
Stop Talking to Yourself When You Speed Read
Chunk Four Words
Use of a Pen or Finger
Chapter 6: Getting the Main Idea 46
Extracting Important Details
How �So What� Questions Help in Speed Reading
Be an Active Reader
Answer the Questions at the End of Each Chapter
Question while you are Surveying
Reading Critically
Recite After Each Section
Tips for Developing Good Eyesight
Speed Reading Calculating
Double Your Reading Speed
Conclusion 58 Introduction
Pre-Requisites of Speed Reading
Alvin Tofler, author of Third Wave, contends that we are now in the information age. It is said that power belongs to those who have the knowledge and information. This we would like to dispute.
Being in the information age, so many data and inputs are available. Tons and tons of materials are readily available with just one click of the mouse. Numerous data are readily available to all people. Yet, how come not all of these people who have access to mountains of materials are considered powerful?
It is our contention that those who are able to wade through tons of information, comprehend, and make use of that knowledge for meaningful purposes IN A SHORTER PERIOD OF TIME are the ones who hold the key to power. Speed is the key.
This reality reinforced the need to update our skills in speed reading. The need to accelerate our reading and learning abilities to the extreme resulted to this book. This book offers techniques that you can make use to hasten the skill in reading and comprehension. It presents scientific explanation on the causes of slow reading. It explains how the practice of hearing your �inner voice� actually saying the words you are reading can drastically slow you down.
Speed reading basically covers two areas: reading and comprehension. These go hand in hand. It is useless to study speed reading if you have trouble in absorbing information. You should already be an able reader before you try to speed read. Speed reading will not help you if you have problems in understanding the meaning of the words. To be able to enjoy the full benefits of speed reading, you must have the necessary facilities in understanding college-level materials.
Before starting on speed reading exercises, you must have the condition of your eyes checked. You might want to adjust your reading glasses. Speed reading will �exercise� your eyes, and would not unduly strain them and hamper your improvement. Consult the eye doctor for possible advice on how to take care of your eyes. They will provide advice on the best position while reading, proper position of the lamp or light source, what to do when you experience eye strain, etc.
Apart from these, the speed of learning speed reading (excuse the pun!) is heavily dependent on four other factors. Ask yourself these important questions:
⦁ Why do you want to improve your reading? The purpose determines the motivating factors that will inspire you to go through and complete the whole program.
⦁ How much do you want to improve? Do you want to increase it from 300 words per minute to 800 wpm then to 1,000 wpm? You have to set a target to be able to determine the extent of your growth.
⦁ How much time do you have for the exercises? Practice make perfect. It is not enough for you to know the skills, but you should devote time to practice and upgrade your skills faster.
⦁ How open are you to new techniques? This report requires you to have an open mind to be able to see and recognize the usefulness of new and scientific techniques in speed reading. This report incorporates new practices such as reading a report from the computer.
It is said that speed readers are considered impatient readers. So, what are you waiting for? Let the lessons begin �

Chapter 1

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Before Speed Reading
How many times have you promised yourself to read more but just never found enough time?
If only you could do it quickly and more efficiently.
Effective and efficient readers learn to use many styles of reading for different purposes, which include skimming, scanning, and critical reading. Before reading, you need to identify the purpose why you�ll be doing such activity: Are you looking for background information on a topic you know a little bit about already? Are you looking for specific details and facts that you can marshal in support of an argument? Are you trying to see how an author approaches his topic rhetorically?
It is crucial to know your purpose in reading as it helps focus your attention on important aspects of the text. Before turning those pages, take a moment first to reflect and clarify what your goal really is.
There are many ways to familiarize your self with the background of the text, and gain a useful overview of its content and structure before actually absorbing and digesting the text. Seek information about the context of the reading, its purpose, and its general content. Look for an abstract or an author�s or editor�s note that may precede the article itself. Read any background information that is available to you about the author, the occasion of the writing, its intended audience, and more useful information.
After viewing the title and noting general ideas that are accessible to you as a reader, you can continue to browse pages and scan paragraphs in order to get the gist of what material the text covers and how that material is arranged. As soon as you finished looking over the text as a whole, read the introductory paragraph or section, noticing that some authors will provide an overview of their message as well as an explicit statement of their thesis or main point in the opening portion of the text. Considering the background information, the messages conveyed by the title, note or abstract, and the information from the opening paragraph or section, you should be able to proceed with a good hunch of the reading material�s direction.
In order to become aware of your reading situation, ask yourself questions like:
⦁ What do I want (or need) to know and learn?
⦁ In which context do I want (or need) this?
⦁ Which texts could suit these needs?
⦁ What made me choose this text?
⦁ How deeply an understanding of the text do I need?
⦁ How much time have I got?
⦁ How do I want to proceed?

Consider Your Purpose
To help you determine a purpose, consider the following ideas:
⦁ Are you looking for brief information, main ideas, complete comprehension, or detailed analysis?
⦁ How will this text help you?
⦁ Is this the best material to meet your goals?
⦁ What does background or summary information provided by the author or editor predict the text will do?
⦁ Does there seem to be a clear introduction and conclusion that can be useful? Where?
⦁ What claims does the author make at the beginnings and endings of sections?
⦁ Are there key words that are repeated or put in bold or italics to help you skim and scan?
⦁ What kinds of development and detail do you notice? Does the text include statistics, tables, and pictures or is it primarily prose? Are names of authors or characters repeated frequently?

Look for Specific Words
⦁ Scan a section for key words.
⦁ Skim to the words that provide meaning and may be useful for you and your purpose.

Become an Impatient Reader
Speed readers are considered impatient readers. They read with a purpose and want to find answers immediately. They can�t wait to find out what the whole text is all about that they usually make predictions and guess the answers.
Some readers say, "If I think ahead while I am reading, my predictions may be wrong."
The truth is, predicting is useful because all your concentration is focused on the reading and you are actually making senses of it. Speed readers predict what the text is likely to tell them next, but they are not upset if a prediction is wrong; they quickly adjust their expectations.

Different Speeds for Different Materials
You do not need to read every word to understand a text; however some texts will require careful reading, so you need to know when to adjust your reading speed. Skim a text, and then decide if a slower reading approach is necessary.
Practice Activity
In order to avoid reading every word, you must increase the rate your eyes move across the page. As a practice activity, choose an easy material for to read. Sweep your eyes faster across the page than you�ve ever done before. Do not mouth the words; do not even mentally say them. Start with short practice periods, e.g. 3 minutes, record your rate (how many words have you read in 3 minutes?), and then continue with longer periods or with texts that are more complicated.
The First Steps in Speed Reading
In reading, your starting position and reading gesture is relevant: sit up straight, with the book being held by your left hand, and with your right hand doing the pacing.
Being already a good reader is a plus factor in attempting to speed read. Otherwise, it may be quite difficult and may take some time. Speed reading program will not work if you have problems comprehending and your vocabulary is too little. In fact, rushing through things you can't understand is actually useless. Yes, you may be able to read fast, but you just won�t understand what you will be reading.

Speed Reading Tips
Read until the end! Do not get tired, discouraged, or bored; don�t just stop reading when you want to. Don�t you know that ideas do become clearer the further you go with the reading materials? After you finish reading, recall the things that you have learned, return to the ideas that seem unclear, and reread them in order to grasp their ideas. When you begin to read, you should:
⦁ Be able to find the answers to the questions you�ve come up with
⦁ Answer guide questions at each chapter (you may see these questions at the beginning or at the end of the chapter)
⦁ Take note of the important words and phrases � underlined, italicized, and bold printed
⦁ Read only one section at a time, and recite the summary of each section afterwards
⦁ Do not ignore captions under pictures, tables, graphs, etc.
⦁ Carefully read and absorb difficult passages. On parts which are not clear, don�t be afraid to stop and reread

Knowing How Deeply to Study the Material
Where you only need the shallowest knowledge of the subject, you can skim the material. This is done by reading only chapter headings, introductions and summaries.
If you need a moderate level of information on a subject, then you can scan the text. Here you read the chapter introductions and summaries in detail, but may speed-read the contents of the chapters � picking out and understanding key words and important concepts. At this level of looking at the document, it is worth paying attention to diagrams and graphs.
Only when you need detailed knowledge of a subject is it worth studying the text. Studying is skimming the material first to get an overview, and afterwards reading it in detail while seeing how the information presented connects to the overall structure of the subject. An effective method of getting the deepest level of understanding on a text is to use a formal method such as SQ3R (discussed in a later chapter).
Do you read every article of every magazine, or every chapter of every book? If so, you're probably spending a lot of time reading stuff you don't need. Remember: You don't need to read all of what you DO read. Be choosy. Select the chapters and articles that are important. Ignore the rest.
Chapter 2
How People Read
Our conscious brain takes in 16 bits of information per second, compared to our non-conscious brain that absorbs 11 million bits per second. Can you imagine the difference? That is the reason why we hate to do stuffs consciously � because it does take effort and discipline. Our non-conscious brain structures process tons of information coming from our sense organs such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood circulation, not to mention instincts and emotions � all without our awareness.
The eyes, our primary tool in reading, only take in information when they are stopped. If you want, you can verify this by holding a book up in front of people and let them read a certain part in it. Watch their eyes as they read though don't tell them what you are observing. What feels like continuous motion is actually move � stop � read, move � stop � read, and so on. Speed readers minimize the number of stops by maximizing the number of words taken in at each stop.

Short Exercise
Here's an exercise that will help you develop effective eye movements. Try looking at the following sentences in three ways:
First, focus your attention: look only at the first "S" in success.
Second, adjust your focus / attention: look to be able to see at the entire word, "success".
Third, adjust your focus so you are seeing three or more words at the same time.
Because you can't say three words at the same time, you can't subvocalize if you are reading three words at a time. Thus, elimination of vocalization from thought is necessary. Although many think that verbalization is essential to linking words with concepts, common experience shows that this is not so. For example, if someone asks a mechanic how a car works, he surely knows what to answer but will have a problem in how to respond. The subject of his thought is too complex and multi-dimensional to be expressed in linear forms. He may be able to visualize and manipulate concepts -- and find answers -- to mechanical problems in his mind without ever putting those thoughts into words.
The same is possible with abstract ideas (which are also often highly complex and multi-dimensional), though it takes practice because there are no definite "images" to fall back on. In some cases, especially when the thought involved is quite complex, removing the verbal component not only speeds up the thinking process, but can even lead to intuitive leaps that verbal thinking might have prevented.
Consider the way in which you are reading this text. Most people think that they read the way young children do � either letter-by-letter, or at best word-by-word.
The truth is, we do not read letter-by-letter or word-by-word. Instead, we are fixing our eyes on block of words. Notice the way your eye muscles actually move when reading a printed text. Try to move your eyes to the next block of words, and go on. Effectively you are not reading words, but blocks of words at a time. The period of time during which the eye rests on one word is called a fixation.
You may also notice that you don't always proceed from one block of words to the next. Sometimes, you may move back to a preceding block of words if you are unsure about something or if you don�t understand what it meant. These disruptions to the forward flow of reading are called skip-backs.
Only speed readers have been trained to create mini eye movements, while the rest of us read with micro eye-movements. The former produces speed reading because they engage the peripheral-vision to chunk words simultaneously, not just one-word at a time; while the latter is automatic, and keep adjusting our eyes to place the words we read on our foveal centralis, the sharpest focusing area of our retina.

Pay Attention
Most people read in the same way that they watch television � in an inattentive, passive way. What they should know is that reading takes a lot of effort and you must exert the effort. A wise teacher once told me that you can learn anything if you do three things. That is,

Reducing Fixation Time for Speed Reading
The minimum length of time needed for a fixation should only be a quarter of a second. By pushing yourself to minimize the time you take until you reach such rate, you will get better at picking up information from very brief and few fixations. This is a matter of practice and confidence.

Relationship between Rate of Reading and Comprehension
Research shows that there is a big relationship between rate and comprehension. Some people read rapidly and comprehend well; others read slowly and comprehend badly. Thus, there is some reason to believe that the factors producing slow reading are also involved in lowered comprehension.
Good comprehension depends on whether you can extract and retain the important ideas that you�ve read, not on how fast you read them. If you can do this fast, then your reading speed can be increased. If you pair fast-reading with worrying about comprehension, your reading speed will drop because the mind is occupied with your fears; hence, you will not be paying attention to the ideas that you are reading.
However, if you concentrate on the purpose of reading (locating main ideas and finding answers to your questions), your speed and comprehension should increase. Your concern should be not with how fast you can get through a chapter alone, but with how quickly you can comprehend the facts and ideas that you need.
Comprehension during speed reading is easier than during standard reading. This is because the mind is busy looking for meaning, not rereading words and sentences. The average reader spends about 1/6th of the time rereading words than actually reading them. Rereading interrupts the flow of comprehension and slows down the process, that�s why the habit of rereading should be eliminated.
How to comprehend easily? Scan the chapter first. Identify the sections to which the author devotes the most amount of space. If there are lots of diagrams for a particular topic, then that must also be an important concept. If you're really under time pressure, you can skip the sections to which the least amount of space is devoted.
Take note on headings and read the first sentence of every paragraph more carefully than the rest of the paragraph. The main idea is usually situated there. Read the important parts and the main ideas. Focus on nouns and main propositions in each sentence. Look for the noun-verb combinations, and focus the mind on these. Then, close the book and ask yourself what you now know about the subject that you didn't know before you started.

Reducing Skip Backs
Important: Don't reread the same phrases from the text!
Poor readers read and reread the same phrase over and over again. This habit of making "regressions" doubles, or worse triples, reading time and often does not even result in better comprehension. A single careful, attentive speed reading may not be always enough for completely comprehending the matter you are reading, but is often more effective than constant regressions in the middle rate of a reading. It is best to work on paying closer attention and doing a preview first before the careful reading.
To help reduce the number of times that the eyes go back to a previous word or sentence, run a pointer along the line as you read. This could be a finger, a pen, or any pointed material. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, smoothing the flow of speed reading. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer; so if you want to speed up your reading, you also have to increase your pointing rate.

Five Types of Reading
An efficient reader adjusts his speed and strategy to suit the need of the moment. The 5 types of reading are classified into:
1. Skimming
Skimming refers to reading quickly to gain a general impression as to whether the text is of use to you. You are not necessarily searching for a specific item because it only provides an �overview� of the text.
Skimming is somewhat like reading the morning newspaper. You don�t actually start at the top left corner and read every article on every page. You read the headlines, reject many of the articles that you don�t find relevant, and read only those that interests you, sometimes in a hit and miss fashion � reading the headline, the first paragraph, skipping down to check out the names of the people.
Why Should I Skim?
Contents of most reading materials are not all important and relevant. Some of them are simple supporting details in which absence of them still makes the text complete. In other words, they are only trash. You wouldn�t waste your time reading the trash at all, would you? The important items may be skimmed and earmarked for later reading. The critical ones may be skimmed to confirm that they are really critical. What is left in the �really critical� stack will demand intensity.  Even then, you may want to skim each one before you read in detail.
Skimming on a regular basis develops your ability to learn this strategy. It also improves other reading rates such as for studying and for average reading. It builds your knowledge and vocabulary base so you have the background to rapidly absorb these ideas as they appear in other context.
How to Skim

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1. Read the title. This focuses your attention on the topic.
2. Read the introduction. This may be the first paragraph or two. It usually describes, in general, what the entire selection will be about.
3. Read the first sentence in each paragraph. Often, as many as 80% of the paragraphs start with a summary or topic sentence.  The rest of the sentences in the paragraph simply elaborate. You may skip the elaboration unless it is obviously necessary, such as the definition of a very important term.  When you skim, you really are only looking for general ideas.
4. Read the conclusion. This may be the last paragraph or two. It usually summarizes the article, specifies an opinion, or makes some recommendations based on the general content.
5. Test your comprehension. Look away from the article and tell yourself in a sentence or two what the entire article was about.
2. Scanning
When you�re looking, say for instance a car service phone number in the telephone directory, you don't read every listing, do you?  Instead, you skip over a lot of unrelated information and scan for a visual image of the name of the company on the relevant page. It is like looking for a friend at the basketball game.  You do not look at each individual face across every row of seats.  Because you have a visual image of your friend�s face, you scan the audience until you see him. Scanning printed words is similar to this.
Why Should I Scan?
You scan to locate a single fact or a specific bit of information without reading everything in the whole text material, or even in just a chapter. Perhaps you have a list of terms that you know are going to be on the next biology test. You have already encountered them during the lecture in class so while reviewing, you just look up each word in the index, go to the given page number, and scan for just that word. When you find them, you read the sentence in which they appear. If it is not yet clear to you, then you may want to read the entire paragraph.
How to Scan
1. Flip through the pages to see how the information is organized. It may be alphabetical, chronological, topical categories from most important to least important, or the standard essay format of introduction, body, and conclusion.
2. Turn to the section most likely to contain the specified details.
3. Keep a visual image of the key word in mind.
4. Run your eyes over the material in a search for that keyword visual image. Don't be tempted to stop and browse. You can do that some other time.
3. Light Reading
Reading for leisure tends to be 'light'. Thus, the main purpose of the reader in performing this type of reading is when he has ample time in such activity. Light reading is done according to the following:
⦁ Read at a pace that feels comfortable.
⦁ Read while understanding.
Skim the boring, irrelevant passages.
An average light reading speed is 100-200 words per minute. This form of reading does not generally require detailed concentration.
4. Word by Word Reading
This type of reading is time consuming and demands a high level of concentration. It is done by reading a word after every word. Some materials are not readily understood, so they require slow and careful analytical reading. People use this type of reading for unfamiliar words and concepts, scientific formulas, technical materials, and the like. It can take up to an hour just to read a few paragraphs or chapter of the text.
5. Reading to Study
The main method used in reading to study is called SQ3R. Its aim is to understand the material in some depth. The method involves five simple steps, namely Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review, in which the name came from.
⦁ Survey: skim thoroughly to gain an overview and note key points.
⦁ Question: devise questions you hope the text will answer.
⦁ Read: slowly and carefully.
⦁ Recall: from memory, write down the main points made by the chapter.
⦁ Review: revisit and answer the questions you first raised. Compare these to your recall and establish how well the text has answered them. Fill in any gaps by further reading

Chapter 3
Radically Increasing Your Reading Speed
Speed reading helps you to read and understand texts more quickly. It is an essential skill in any environment where you have to learn bulky pieces of information fast.
The most important thing you need to know about speed reading is to identify what information you need from a document before you start reading. For example, if you only want an outline of the different computer programming languages, then you can skim the document very quickly and extract only the essential facts. On the other hand, if you need to understand the real detail of the document � how program X differs from program Y and Z � then you need to read it slowly enough to fully understand it.
You will get the greatest time saving from speed reading by learning to adjust your reading type depending on your purpose and need.

Technical Issues
Even when you know how to ignore irrelevant details, you can make other technical improvements to your reading style that can increase your reading speed.
As what we have mentioned earlier, most people tend to read the way young children do � either letter-by-letter or word-by-word. But the truth is, reading is about fixing the eyes on one block of words, then moving them again to the next block, and so on. Thus, you are reading blocks of words at a time, and not individual words one-by-one.
  Skilled readers are able to read the most number of words in each block. They will dwell on each block for an instant, and will immediately move on. This technique reduces the amount of work that the reader's eyes have to do. It also increases the volume of information that can be read in a certain period.
Poor readers, on the other hand, spend a lot of time reading small blocks of words. They will skip back often, resulting to decrease in reading speed. This irregular eye movement will make reading tiring. That is why poor readers tend to dislike reading, and may find it harder to concentrate and understand any reading material. 
Speed reading aims to improve reading skills by:
⦁ Increasing the number of words in each block:
Consciousness is necessary in trying to expand the number of words that you read at a time. Practice will help you read faster. You may also find that you can increase the number of words read by holding the text a little further from your eyes. 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 � of a second. By pushing yourself to reduce the time you take, you will get better at picking up information quickly.
⦁ Reducing skip backs:
To reduce the number of times your eyes goes back to a previous text, run a pointer along the line as you read. Your eyes should follow the tip of your pointer to smoothen the flow of your reading.