Reading is a crucial part of learning and yet not many of us understand the reading process fully. How many students can honestly say that they can read quickly and take in all the information at the same time? Having the ability to do this would greatly facilitate the learning process.
Comprehension – the most important part of reading
Regardless of our speed of reading, the most core objective of reading is to gain knowledge i.e. to read and to remember what the content was. So many students can read to the end of a passage or chapter and yet have only a vague idea of what they have read. They then process to re-read to remember more and so this cuts into their precious time
How can we read with better comprehension?
Excellent readers are those who use their visual memory while reading. Simply as they read they are converting the words into a mental movie in their heads. When they put the book down they can re-run the movie and quite simply recall the exact content of the passage.
This is a skill that we can all practise. Start by reading a sentence and stopping at the end to make a metal image. Read the next sentence and do the same and repeat to the end of the passage. How clear was your memory of what you read? Once you practise this habit it will become an more automatic behaviour while reading.
What are the benefits of learning to read faster?
How many of us when we sit down to read, go through the text word-by-word hoping that it will sink in better. Slow reading results in extra time being spent studying and we all know what a valuable resource time is in the run up to exams.
How can I learn to read faster?
While reading, do we process every single letter that our eyes see? No. What we tend to do is to see groups of letter together which form words. Try reading this:
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdeanig. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Amazing how easy this is. This is simply because our eyes can scan the letters and make sense of them. Likewise we can also teach our eyes to scan groups of words
Try re-reading the paragraph above and notice how far ahead your eyes are compared to your voice. Many people will say that their eyes are one or two words ahead while others can be five or six words ahead. This is a skill that most of can develop which can greatly improve our speed of reading.