Recently I started listening to the Kwik Brain podcast and I really liked the way Jim Kwik makes super brain power an easily achievable attribute for anyone and everyone. We are all capable of doing much more than we think we can.
I will be publishing a series of blogs on these learnings and much more, as these powers will have a direct impact on improving your learnability.
At one of his events, Jim got a chance to meet Bill Gates and he asked him what was that one super power he would like to have.
Can you guess what was Bill Gates’ reply?
The power to read faster!
The power of Reading Fast
Being able to read and comprehend fast has a direct relation on being able to learn and achieve more in less time. So by improving your reading speed along with comprehension, you can get more out of the time you utilise for learning.
We are all struggling to fit in the numerous activities in our life. There are many things we know we want to do but we are unable to do because of the shortage of time.
So imagine how much more we can gain just by saving time by reading and learning faster.
Measuring your reading speed
There is a saying that “What gets measured, gets improved!”. It is actually very true! Hence, first we will get started with measuring your current reading speed.
I found these two sites which give a good estimation of your reading speed( there will be some variation(~50) in the two results but this gives you a fair idea of where you stand). To measure conventionally, you can time yourself and calculate by counting the number of lines/words you read in one minute. Try it a couple of times and get the average.
Staples Speed Reader (Recommended)
Most of us fall in the average range between 150 to 250 words per minute.
Improving the reading speed
While we are reading, we tend to repeat the words in our head. This is why our reading speed is similar to our talking speed.
This is called Subvocalization which involves saying words in our head while reading. This is one of the main reasons why people read slowly and have trouble improving their reading speed.
Most speed reading techniques involve getting rid of subvocalization to enable to read at the speed of how we think rather than how we talk, as we can think much more faster.
It is difficult to completely eliminate subvocalization, but it can be reduced by forcing yourself to repeat only some parts of the content in your head. Some other ways include humming or listening to light music. This comes by conscious focus and practice. Also speed-reading should not be at the cost of comprehension as learning is incomplete without proper comprehension. With speed-reading, you should be able to have better focus as there are less chances of getting distracted.
Meta guiding is one of the traditional and most simple techniques to improve reading speed. It’s when you use a visual pacer like your finger finger (or a pointer like a pen) to guide your eyes to specific words as you read. The idea behind this technique is to decrease subvocalization and mind repeating. Our eyes are attracted by the motion of the pointer and follow the words as we read without getting distracted elsewhere.This focus on the specific words while reading helps in increasing your reading speed.
You can give this a try and be surprised how your reading speed increases just by using this simple method.
Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP)
Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) is a new method introduced by the new age digital speed reading systems.
This method ensures you never lose focus by flashing single words on the screen as you read one word at a time. Your eyes do not need to wander as they are fixed on the screen where the content is presented before the eyes.
You can control the speed at which the words flash before you and slowly improve the speed with comfort and comprehension.
To try this out in your browser and speed-read all your online content, you can download the Spritzlet.
There are also some apps available which can enable the Spritz reading on your smart devices. Read more about the available apps on Spritzinc.
With continued practice of the above techniques and conscious attempt to read faster with comprehension, you can strike a balance between speed-reading and also learning at an improved speed.
Maintain your Active book list and pick up the next book to practice the visual pacer technique. Measure and track your progress.
You will be amazed with yourself!