How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or anything else)

How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or anything else)

How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildToby L’Estrange is the 10-year-old Spd Rdr in the newspapers who was asked by Amazon to read the new Harry Potter book on their new Kindle device. Toby was taught speed reading by his Grandma – Susan Norman – one of the authors of Spd Rdng: The Speed Reading Bible. 

WATCH TOBY L’Estrange talking about speed reading the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child below

Toby will download ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ as soon as possible after midnight very first thing on Sunday 31 July (Harry Potter’s birthday!) and as soon as he’s read it will put up a review on Amazon. At 1000 words per minute it should take him about two hours. 

You too can learn how to speed read Harry Potter…

How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or anything else)
Toby L’Estrange (aged 10) is planning to speed read the new Harry Potter book as soon after midnight on the morning of 31 July as he can. He learnt extra ‘spd rdng’ techniques from his expert speed reading grandma, Susan Norman, who has written a book (Spd Rdng: the Speed Reading Bible available on Kindle – in full or as a summary version of the Speed Reading Bible).

The aim of spd rdng is to read as quickly as you can while still understanding the story. There are various things you can do to speed up your reading so you too can be a spd rdr …

  • Get into a good state
  • Focus on your concentration point
  • Have a clear purpose
  • Speed up your eyes and your brain

Follow the instructions below to learn Toby’s techniques. Practise before Saturday night and you too could have speed read the new Harry Potter before most people have had their Sunday breakfast.

Get into a good state
Getting into a good state is easy. The bonus is that it makes you feel good and helps you do anything (reading, learning, listening, interviewing, anything…) better.

  • Both feet on the floor, sit or stand tall with a straight spine
  • Take a deep breath in – breathe out slowly
  • On your next big slow outbreath, relax from the top of your head down to your toes – relax your eyes, your jaw, your shoulders, your hands, your tummy, your legs, your feet.
  • Do that again. And as you start breathing normally, smile. Not just a little smile, a great big cheesy grin. This spd rdng is going to be fun!

This good state usually lasts for about 20 minutes (unless something happens to interrupt it). So every 20 minutes (you can set your alarm), stop what you’re doing (reading), stand up, stretch and move your arms and legs, gently massage around your eye sockets (the bony bits around the eyes, don’t press on your eyeballs), drink some water (plain water), and then … get back into a good state and start speed reading again. (If you find you’re not reading as fast as before, just speed up and you’ll soon get back into the flow.)

Watch Toby L’Estrange talking about speed reading the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child below

Focus on your concentration point
Your concentration point is a point about 30cm above your head, slightly behind your head. About where the top of a wizard’s hat would be.

Take your attention to that point (just think about that point). Keep your eyes still and relaxed. Notice that you can see more (without moving your eyes, you can see further round towards both of your ears).

If you can’t immediately find on the concentration point, try …

  • looking straight ahead
  • holding one arm straight up above your head
  • move it back as far as you can keeping your arm straight
  • curl your hand over as if it’s holding an orange
  • feel that orange firmly in place above and slightly behind your head
  • keep concentrating on the orange as you take your hand down

Add the concentration point to your good state: drink water, sit well, breathe and relax, focus on your concentration point, big cheesy grin … you’re ready to start reading!

(There’s an interesting story about the concentration point which we’ll tell you later.)

Have a clear purpose
Whenever you’re going to read something, think about what you want to do with the information. This is your purpose. Not your big goal, like ‘I want to be a doctor’, or ‘I want to pass the exam’, but your purpose for reading this book right now – maybe, ‘the information I need so I can write my homework essay’.Spd Rdng - The Speed Reading Bible

Your purpose for reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is … ‘to get the information from the story as quickly as possible’.

So as soon as you know what’s happened on a page, you can turn to the next page. For example if a boy is walking across a field, the author might give lots of information about the grass, the weather, how the boy is feeling – but maybe you only need to know that the boy walked across the field. So you can turn over quickly. (But if the boy is thinking about something to do with the story, you might need to understand that too.)

You don’t always want to read very, very quickly. Sometimes, you want to read more slowly so that you can enjoy the excitement or the way the writer is telling the story. That’s OK. You read at whatever speed you like so that you enjoy what you’re reading.

You might find though that you want to speed read the story very, very quickly so you’re one of the first people to find out what happens – and then read it again not quite as quickly, so you can enjoy the feeling of living the story along with the characters. You can do both.

Speed up your eyes and your brain
Just as you need to do a bit of stretching and practising before you run a race, so you will be able to read more quickly if you give your eyes and brain a bit of practice before you start reading. What you do here is not exactly the same as you will do when you’re reading the story to find out what happens. This is an exercise – follow the instructions exactly!

1.  Choose any chapter of any book and read about 10 lines ‘normally’, but as you read, underline what you’re reading with your finger. Make sure you’re looking at the words, not at your finger.

2.  Get into a good state and focus on your concentration point (see above)

3.  Keep going, but now cut off about 1cm from the beginning and end of each line as you underline what you’re reading (you don’t need to concentrate on every word, you can understand what’s happening in the story even if you don’t concentrate on the beginning and end of each line).

The next bit is a bit strange because you’re going to go very fast, BUT YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE READING AT THIS SPEED. What you’re doing is speeding up your eyes and your brain, so that when you go back to reading with comprehension, your brain will understand more quickly, so you can read faster. So …

4.  Keep reading and underlining and cutting off the beginning and end of each line, but do it very, very quickly – about half a second per line (or as quickly as you can move your hand). Follow the words with your eyes, but don’t worry that you’re not understanding. (If you can understand what you’re reading then go quicker until it’s too fast for you to understand.)

Do this for about 3-5 pages, then sit up, hold the book a little bit further away, and notice that although you don’t understand everything, you can see words and phrases as you whizz past. SMILE when you can see words and phrases.

5.  Now start reading at your best comprehension speed (as fast as you can while understanding what you’re reading) – you’ll be reading faster than before.

If you did a test before you started all these exercises, then now would be a good time to do your second test. So …

  • Get your book ready – choose a place about halfway through the book that you haven’t read before and mark it with a piece of paper (or turn the corner down)
  • Set your timer for two minutes
  • Get into a good state (drink water, breath, relax, smile)
  • Focus on your concentration point
  • Speed up your eyes and brain (go straight to step 4 where you’re underlining, cutting off the beginning and end and following your finger with your eyes as quickly as you can move your hand)
  • After about 3-5 pages when you start seeing words and phrases, SMILE.
  • Turn to your starting point in the book and start the clock
  • Read as fast as you can, making sure you understand the story
  • When the alarm goes off, stop reading. Count how many lines you’ve read.

Another test
Write down a list of what you’re going to do from now on whenever you want to speed read. Then compare it with our list below.

What to do every time you want to speed read

  • Get your book ready and mark where you want to start reading.
  • Get into a good state (drink some water, sit up straight, take deep breaths, relax from the top of your head down to your toes, SMILE)
  • Focus on your concentration point and SMILE
  • Speed up your eyes and your brain (step 4 – underline, cut off the beginning and end of each line, follow your finger with your eyes as quickly as you can move your hand). After 3-5 pages hold the book a bit further away, and when you can see words and phrases, SMILE …
  • Go to the point you’ve marked and start reading as quickly as you can with understanding. 

How fast can you read?
You might want to test yourself before and after doing all these speed reading exercises.

You need to do one test before you do the exercises and one afterwards (and then one after you’ve had a bit more practice).

TESTSpd Rdng - The Speed Reading Bible

  • Choose a book you’ve never read before.
  • Set your timer for two minutes.
  • Open the book at the first page, start the clock and read at your best reading speed with comprehension until the alarm goes off.
  • Count (and write down) how many lines you’ve read (count all lines except those which only have one word).

‘Your best reading speed with comprehension’ means that you read as fast as you can, but make sure you understand what you’re reading.

When you do a second test to see how much faster you can read after the exercises, either start from where you stopped before, or start at the beginning of a new chapter.

Toby L’Estrange speed reading review of Harry Potter the Cursed Child

The top (six or seven or three) basic plots of fiction in literature that can help to speed read novels

Reading summaries of novels or plays is a valid way of getting overviews, for example, a summary of Harry Potter the Cursed Child.

How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or anything else)
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