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speed reading

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:00 pm
by dalehileman
This might be the wrong site to post, but you guys would have some insight into the subject if anybody would

Sporadically I have read up on speed reading but I can't digest it all. I am interested in rules of thumb. For example, an expert states that he reads in descending counterclockwise circles. Another says he pays special attention to numbers. One asserts that you shouldn't mentally pronounce the individual words--though I don't see how it's possible not to. A beginner states that she spots nouns--forgive the alliteration. Another beginner--me--attempts to spot keywords in both subject and predicate. In one course on the subject the beginner is advised to start by running his finger across each line, an approach I would consider full of the most fragrant feces

speed reading

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:39 pm
by adamsargant
I come across this subject a fair amount... I've never really pursued it because the pleasure of reading for me lies in being conscious of what I read, but my experiments indicate that it is possible to read a lot quicker if one doesn't subvocalise. I frequently find that I have scanned down a page very rapidly and then returned my attention back to an earlier passage, only to find that that passage is now read as if for a second time. I actually find it quite irritating and work hard to slow my reading down so I can read "out loud" in my head :-)

speed reading

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:56 pm
by Phil White
I started consciously speed reading when I was at university. I tried a couple of techniques and found them all too rigid and tiring. At some point, it just happened that I was able to read Middlemarch in about 4 hours (and remember it sufficiently for the lectures). I was never able and to this day cannot explain to people how I do it. What I can say is that I can't speed read off a high-res monitor or off paper printed in landscape mode, which suggests that I concentrate on a downward motion. I also don't read sequentially, in other words, I don't assimilate the blocks of information in the same order in which they appear on the page.

Having said that, although I read fast normally, I don't often speed read nowadays, and I suspect that Middlemarch would take rather longer tha 4 hours.

It's interesting to compare your own reaction to a piece that you read normally and speed read. I read Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles in both ways and took away entirely different impressions, particularly of the importance and weighting of the thematic material.

speed reading

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:29 am
by dalehileman
Adam, you obviously have the right kind of approach

Phil: On that note, its interesting to note that when a speed reader zipped through Animal Farm, afterward he was able to describe the story in detail but he characterized it simply as an animal story and was unaware that it had anything to do with politics

I concur about wide--landscaped--text and find it hard to believe that anybody could speed-read it

speed reading

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:52 am
by haro
Phil, I couldn't agree more. When I was at (the?) university, I even purchased a book on speed reading, after having practiced it for many year. That book offered several techniques, none of which worked for me. I eventually got back to my own hotch-potch layman speed reading.

I can confirm your own observations as well as those mentioned by Dale concerning the degree of comprehending details. It seems speed reading isn't meant for reading between the lines, or maybe doing that just needs more practice.

speed reading

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:31 pm
by dalehileman
Haro: Your experience supports my notion that no single approach works for everyone

Some speed-readers supposedly retain detail very well, even from unfamiliar technical material, but as you say, they miss the implications, can't see the boscage for the foliage