Spd Rdng = State + Purpose + Download + pReview + Detail + Notes + Gist
• Get in a good state for reading. Take a deep breath. Smile and open your peripheral vision – so you can take in more information at one time
• Change your mindset from reading to information gathering. Don’t worry about how many books you’ve read (you can do the 5-minute preview) – just look for information you need now (eg to prepare for a lecture or seminar, or to write an essay).
• Speed up your brain and eyes. Sit back from the text and look through it much faster than you can consciously comprehend – follow your finger with your eyes. After a few pages when you begin to see words and phrases, you are ready to start reading ‘at your best comprehension speed’.
Have a clear purpose. Know what you want from your material. Your purpose needs to be REAL, PRECISE and something you can do in one 20-minute session (eg gather information for a particular essay, article, training session). Don’t try to do more than one thing at a time. Knowledge builds up over time. You’ll learn more quickly if you work on a book several times, looking only for the answers to a particular question each time. If you know what the book is about, your purpose will be to find specific information – so use it like a book of reference (eg dictionary). If you don’t, your purpose is to get the message – read it as you would read a newspaper.
Download the book into your non-conscious mind by looking quickly at each double page without making any conscious effort to see or understand the text. Trust that the information has gone into your non-conscious mind. Use the other conscious spd rdng techniques as before and gradually notice how much more information you know as the downloaded knowledge comes to conscious awareness.
Spend 3-5 minutes looking through the book as if you’re skimming through a newspaper. Look at the title, cover blurb, contents, index and date. Look backwards and forwards through the book and notice anything interesting (don’t stop to read details); note chapter headings, subheads, illustrations and picture captions. Your purpose is to (a) find out what the book is about, to get an overview of the subject matter (b) decide whether to read it or not, and (c) if appropriate, find out what information YOU NEED RIGHT NOW (if in doubt, ask yourself, WHAT WILL I DO WITH THE INFORMATION?).
• Use underlining technique TO LOOK FOR ‘HOT SPOTS’ OF INFORMATION
• Aim: (a) to recognise key information when you see it, and (b) ignore or skim over information which isn’t relevant.
• Read actively, with purpose and with an alert, questioning mind
• Take notes, preferably mindmapping or rhizomapping
• Review your notes regularly – after one day, one week, one month
• Look quickly at every page … to get a better view of what the book is about – or do it after you’ve done a 20-minute work session just to check you haven’t missed something important. You can also be confident that a lot of additional information is being taken in by your non-conscious mind.
• Follow the 80/20 rule. Accept 80% of your purpose – it allows you to read five times more in the available time. Perfectionism is a self-defeating recipe for failure.
• Read summaries.
Total word count: 588 words
Download the handout for this mini speed reading workshop