The huge increase in the information flow of the past years and the big amount of reading required of college students make it vital to read with maximum efficiency. Below you will find some pieces of advice on how to use different techniques and mechanics of reading.Physical Component of Reading
- Your eyes are like cameras of your mind. They catch the picture, while the mind interprets it.
- Reading is a fast process during which the eyes concentrate on a word, move to the next one, focus on it, etc. During the pauses, our mind sees and understands those words.
- Readers with efficient skills make up to five pauses per line; inexperienced ones make ten fixations or even more.
Psychological Component of Reading
On a psychological level, several factors determine the rate of your reading:
- how well you know the material;
- how difficult is the material;
- what is the purpose of your reading.
Thus, one can say that there is no “right” reading speed. Your rate can vary, depending on these factors, and this ability is called reading flexibility.
This is like driving a standard shift car, when you use different gears, depending on different factors. The same concerns reading. If you wonder how to read efficiently, you should use your reading flexibility.
Using this skill, you will find that there are several reading rates:
- Skimming rate – quick overview, high-speed reading in search for a specific fact.
- Rapid rate – re-reading an old material or just fast reading an easy one.
- Normal rate – reading material of average difficulty, concentrating on main points.
- Careful rate – reading material of the high-difficulty level, usually for study purposes.
A good way to evaluate your familiarity with the material and assess its difficulty is pre-reading. As a rule, every kind of writing consists of the introductory part, the development, and the conclusion.
There is a simple basic technique of pre-reading:
- Read the introductory part or the first three paragraphs of the writing carefully.
- Read the first sentence of every remaining paragraph while excepting last few. Usually, the main idea contains in the first sentence of a paragraph.
- Read the summary to reinforce main points of the writing.
Developing Greater Speed
Look through the main ideas of the article you are reading. Search them behind the words. After reading each paragraph, ask yourself about its main point. When you are looking for the main ideas, the details have not such a big meaning.
Here are several speed techniques:
- Try to read the white spaces between the printed lines, instead of reading the printed lines themselves.
- Shorten sentences by beginning and ending half-inch from the margin.
- Do not regress. Regression means re-reading. In 90% of cases, it is unnecessary. Do not regress unless you are really confused.
- Mouthing the words while reading significantly limits the speed. If it concerns you, try to read while chewing something or biting a pencil.