Reading faster, reading more We will: Consider efficient selection of reading material Measure reading speed Acquire some techniques to practice Assess distractions and concentration
What are your concerns? What do you read and why? Discuss in your groups: What are your concerns about reading at University? What different kinds of materials do you have to read and how do you select them? Before you read: ask yourself.. Why am I reading this? What do I already know? What do I need to find out? Getting the information you need
Think about how you would reduce a pile of 20 books to the 6 most useful. What strategies would you use? A strategic approach: Read the front and back covers, inside flaps, contents, index and bibliography View chapter headings and sub-headings, pictures, graphs, cartoons, tables, images Eliminate the (parts of the) book that you dont need Alternative approaches: Is it highlighted in your reading list?
Ask your lecturer where should I start? Choose the most worn books Read reviews on Amazon Start with books in the high demand collection Start with introductory books, textbooks Eliminate older books Preparation helps focus and concentration Jot down some notes (key words) about the subject What do you want from the book? Background? Specific information?
Seek and you shall find Look round the room for everything red. Only look for red objects. How many different shades of red are there in the room? So what did you notice? If you know what you are looking for, youll find it If you havent primed yourself beforehand, you miss things
If you know nothing about a subject it is almost impossible to remember what you read Passive vs active reading Skim the pages at the rate of a few seconds per page Look for words that stand out Names Technical words Words in bold or italics Look at the language, is it accessible? Scanning
Looking for specific information, and then stopping Phone number in a phone book Henry VIIIs third wife A useful equation A particular word Skimming
Dont stop until you want to Gain a general impression of the text Skimming for facts Who? What?
Where? When? Why? How? Whats important? Skimming for opinion However , but Yet On the other hand
Nevertheless Furthermore What does the author think? Activity: test your reading speed Read for one minute, starting from the beginning. When the timer goes off, stop reading and mark the last word you read. What number line was it on? Try this at home with an online stopwatch: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/full-screen-stopwatch/ Line
WPM Line WPM Line WPM Line
WPM 7 88 15 187 23 289
31 395 8 100 16 204
24 304 32 410 9 113 17
214 25 317 33 424 10
131 18 227 26 331 11 145
19 233 27 344 12 150
20 247 28 357 13 162 21
261 29 368 14 175 22
275 30 381 What do the numbers mean? 100-200 slow reader
200-300 average reader 300-400 good reader 400-500 above average reader 1000-1200 World Championship standard Key pointers to speed-reading Clear purpose: plan your outcome Familiarity with subject matter / language Active reading: pay attention Determination Practice
Vocabulary Unfamiliar text slows you down Puzzling over meaning loses the flow It can result in losing thread and having to go back to beginning of text Skim for difficult words and look them up first Keep a notebook of new words Understand the roots Vocalising How fast does the average person speak? And what has this got to do with reading speed?
Do you read as if you were speaking aloud one word at a time? Do you read aloud, move your lips, sub-vocalise? this can slow you down Try these at home Chunking Read 3-4 words at a time Be aware of whats on the line below Use a pointer to encourage your eyes forward Use a pacer
One line at a time Two lines at a time Zig zag across the page Pull it down the middle of the page E E H Speed reading tools http://www.spreeder.com/index.php
http://www.eyercize.com/practice/bm_read/ Other things to try Use the newspaper Narrower columns make it easier to read inchunks and more than one line at a time Use a metronome
Or time yourself Set it slightly faster each time Use your peripheral vision And try this Outside walking, look straight ahead Without looking sideways, what is in your peripheral vision? Articulate as you go along Now sit down and read Use your pacer Chunks of words
Obstacles and distractions Free up your space Clear your desk except for the books, notes etc you actually need Have what you need to hand Pen, paper, post its etc Have strategies for dealing with email noise other people
Turn the phone off More housekeeping Are you sitting comfortably? Is the lighting appropriate? Do you wear glasses/lenses?
Had your eyes tested lately? Blinking re-hydrates the eyes Tired eyes? Eyerobics and other strategies
Straight ahead Look up Look down Look left Look right Top left, top right Bottom left, bottom right Squeeze eyes shut Rest your eyes (without kipping!) Unfocus imagine you are staring at the sea Close your eyes Palming
Comfortable Warm hands Exclude all light Comprehension and learning through effortless reading Your brain reads faster when Something is easy Something is already known Something is less relevant
Your brain reads slower when Something is new Something is complex Something is important Reading complicated things
Try reading without trying to understand Read as fast as you can without stopping to think Read the text several times What have you learned about the subject? Which things do you still not understand? Read it more slowly, in particular selecting the things you understand least well
When to stop reading Information starts to repeat itself Youve covered the core material Youve answered the research questions You are coming across information not relevant to the research question
The information does not offer anything new Youve lost your concentration Concentration problems? Try a brief meditation: Count silently to yourself from one to 26 Notice when your concentration starts to wander Now try it including the alphabet so 1=A, 2=B, 3=C
Fluent? Try it backwards! Write down all those to do items, then get back to your reading In summary: Practice makes Perfect The best way to improve your reading speed is to read more often. Observe the times when you read fast and when you read slow. speed Try reading for 15 mins a day every day for 30 days
^ Resources Tony Buzan (2003) The Speed Reading Book. London: BBC Worldwide Stella Cottrell (2013) The Study Skills Handbook. 4th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan G & S Fairburn (2001) Reading at University. Maidenhead: OU Press Tina Konstant (2000) Successful Speed Reading. London: Hodder & Stoughton Richard Palmer (1996) Brain Train. 2nd ed. London: Spon Gordon Wainwright (2007) Read Faster, Recall More. 3rd
ed. Oxford: How to Books Evaluation did we achieve our aims? Consider efficient selection of reading material Measure reading speed Acquire some techniques to practice Assess distractions and concentration
Reference El Ansari W. et al. Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(5):1308-1323. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.
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