Unlike other processes we use (visualization, memorization, skimming, analysis, time-management strategies), the actual speedreading is a pretty straight-forward process. We assume that
- You have already encoded all the names, dates and other dense stuff within the paragraph in prereading and the relevant markers are readily available to be used.
- The text is averagely dense, cannot be skipped and should not require thorough analysis.
- The text is base on prior knowledge we have and we can easily understand what we are reading.
These assumptions work probably 90% of the time, maybe more.
Under our assumptions, we do not need to reread the text, all we should do is read the text in front of us as fast and accurate as we can, generating markers as we read. To force our eyes to go faster we use the speedreading methodology known as metaguiding.
As children, we often read while putting our finger near each word we read. While we become older we no longer need this, and we do not use finger for reading anymore. Metaguiding revives this practice, only now we put finger on each line we read and not on each word. Instead of trying to follow our reading with our finger, we try to increase our reading speed , until it catches up with the finger. The effort required to catch up, does not allow us to reread the text or phase off the text we read. Let us dive into details.
Finger is a very simple and readily available metaguiding device, and we can definitely use it. For people who have dyslexia or ADHD, it is better to read with a card, so we do not see what text lies ahead. On computer once can use continuous scroll to the same effect. Some
Some speedreading programs (like spritz) flash words one by one at a constant speed. This is not a good method: (1) words get out of context especially in phrases, (2) you cannot control the speed with which you read or take a short micro- pause and (3) you depend on external software that will not be there in other situations in your life.
We recommend moving your finger with almost constant speed. Try to keep moving your finger slightly faster than your comfort zone to increase the reading speed. Quite often, the finger is a bit slower in the first paragraph of the page (to generate context) and in the last paragraph of the page (to ensure that the whole page is understood). The heading naturally generate pauses in reading, which enable construction of section markers.
Try to read faster so that you catch up with your finger. If you start losing comprehension, slow your finger down. Otherwise, consider to move your finger still faster.
Metaguiding in preread-read-analyze cycle.
If you read something you will actually need, use metaguiding only in the reading stage. Make sure you preread the section before you start metaguiding and analyze the section after you stop metaguiding. A section in this sense is ~2-3 pages of text.
Advanced students read fast. At some point this is just too much effort for the finger. Instead, we can use the paging process to set up the rhythms. At ~3-5 sec per page [faster when using kindle], turning the pages sets up a metaguiding rhythm of the reading process. In this sense, we can use larger sections of ~20 pages.
At each step of the speedreading progress, we need to control our reading speed. Metaguiding is a simple way to keep constant and high reading speed.