10 tips for speedreading

Jonathan is planning to publish several speedreading tips in lifehacker.uk. While we are waiting patiently for approval, here are alternative tips by yours truly.

Knowledge is intoxicating. Knowledge feeds our imagination, give us mental strength and resilience, fuels modern technology and economy – it is a key component of making us truly human (and possibly beyond). Reading is a common way to acquire knowledge. And it is a pity that most of us cannot read effectively. What is effective reading? Probably it is efficient reading that we benefit from. We can measure reading efficiency in terms of reading speed and retention, where retention is amount of details we remember correctly after reading. In our bestselling Udemy course we provide a training routine that allow our students to increase significantly their efficiency in terms of speed and retention. Generating benefit from what you read is your responsibility, so do choose what you read. Below we provide some tips that will help you become more effective reader.

  1. Commit to self improvement. Human mind is more powerful that most of us imagine. We do use more 10% of our brain, but we seldom use it efficiently. To use your brain efficiently you need to exercise it in the same way you exercise muscle. Starting from small success we generate momentum, and then we build a skillset that can change our lives.
  2. No excuses. Perhaps you’ve seen a popular TED Talk, where Joshua Foer describes how he went from what he calls a “lousy memory” to the US National Memory Champion in just one year. Most of our students have some sort of “problem”: ADHD, Dyslexia, head trauma, lack of imagination, poor creativity – you name it. By rigorous training and with some help from other students and teachers, all of them reach their goals. The brain is amazingly versatile at correcting its own fallacies – something that is called neuroplasticity. When faced with a real challenge the brain adapts.
  3. Trust yourself. Do not read the same word over and over again. Do not read slower than you need to figure the details. Do not occupy yourself with self-doubts. Do not give up. By trusting in your own skills and removing the mental crunchies that were useful when we were six years old, we can generate great improvements in our reading efficiency.
  4. Do not progress blindly. Measure everything. It is very easy to read very fast and loose comprehension or to understand everything but read very slow. Some people do not remember numbers or names or facts. It is very easy to loose interest to the information we do not retain anyway, it is hard to remember the information we used to miss.
  5. Visualize everything. Our visual perception is faster and more accurate than any other perception at our disposal. 60% of neurons in our brain deal with some aspect of visual perception. By integrating visualization in our reading experience we double our efficiency.
  6. Train your memory before you train your reading. By relying on computers and mobile devices we do not have proper motivation to train memory. However we need quick, flexible and versatile memory to remember what we read. All of our students are asked to master memorization before training speedreading.
  7. Do not underestimate skimming. Not everything you read you need to remember perfectly. Skimming is really easy to master. Proper skimming allows you to filter what you want to read and prepares you for in-depth reading. Skimming does not substitute speedreading, but it is an important step in the speedreading process.
  8. Some skills are hard. Training subvocalization suppression or increasing visual angle requires a lot of hard work. Do not start with these skills unless you have mastered the basics. If you decide to practice these skills, do take regular breaks. Many people hear about speedreading, google subvocalization and start training without consulting qualified teachers. After a while they develop eye spasms, stop understanding what they read and claim there is no such thing as speedreading. Thousands of our students on Udemy and on keytostudy.com mastered speedreading with subvocalization suppression and high retention, by working progressively from simpler skills to harder skills.
  9. Start reading now! It is easy to delay reading. It is easy to play training video game. It is easy to be busy. We are busy all the time. If we do not prioritize time for reading, we will not read. If we do not decide that we really want to know more about something, we will not read. Finding sufficient time, focus, and motivation is crucial for effective reading.

  10. Relax and enjoy. Reading is fun. Breath deeply, sit comfortable, imagine how you will read the book and how its content will make your life better. Celebrate your reading. Share your insights with friends.

We start to read when we are six, and not yet ready to read effectively. When we are grown up and ready to learn it is hard to change the old habits. However, if you do learn to speedread properly, you will enjoy a whole new world of knowledge, understanding and fun.

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