Ok, let’s face it first about this subject, and before I start to talk about how you can speed read on a physical book, let me first explain what is a speed reading.
Speed Reading is a set of techniques that will help you to increase your reading speed. Also, we need to know another thing that is very importing before start reading a physical book by using speed reading techniques, which is, the habits that hinder our reading speed.
What are the habits that hinder our reading speed?
It’s the sound that we hear when we pronounce each word when we are reading it.
It’s stepping back habit, that’s mean when you read some words from a text, you return to the same words that you’ve already read. It happens because you think that you did not read the word or you did not understand what you’ve already read.
It’s the focus of your eyes on some target which is in our case related to the reading is the word. When you read a text, your eyes will focus on each word, which means that it will make a lot of small stops on each line.
Ok, we talked about the habits above that hinder our reading speed, now let’s talk about how can we use some of the speed reading techniques.
Warm up your eyes first before start reading
Like any other muscle, you need to warm up it first, athletes they do warm up their muscles before starting the training. So as the eyes need to be warmed up to avoid eye strains.
You can start warming up for one
1. Move your eyes up and down, go higher as you can or down as you can, keep your head fixed. Do this exercise for 30 seconds.
2. Move your eyes left and right, look as far as you can for the left and for the right. Do it for 30 seconds.
3. Roll your eyes counter-clockwise and clockwise. Do it for 30 seconds.
The magic hand
When we start reading a book, the thing that we need to keep in our mind that our eyes need guidance, our eyes are excellent in tracking objects, for example, if I tell you to open a page from the book of your choice and go to the line 16, there is a chance that you will use your finger, pencil or any other object as a guide. This is because our eyes have not smooth jumping without a guide. In our case, we can use our hand.
The index and thumb position
Keep your pinky, ring, and middle finger straight, while the index and thumb fingers are making the letter “O”,
check how the fingers are kept one near the other, without spaces between them.
How to use the magic hand?
When start reading, you need to focus at the position above your middle finger or both (middle and ring), and keep your words that you should read above the tip of your middle (or middle and ring) fingers, your eyes should track your middle finger (or both the middle and ring if they have about the same length) while it is moving over the text.
What are the steps to use speed reading technique?
Take a book and open it on any page you like to read, then start reading it for one minute at your normal speed using your magic hand, and try to not comprehend anything, just try to see the words.
After one minute, start again and go faster over the text, as I said you don’t need to think about comprehension, because your brain is not used with these methods, and it’s very difficult from the beginning to try to speed read the text with comprehension from the beginning.
You need to learn your brain how your eyes and your hand collaborate (synchronized together), this is called the mechanic part, and this is what you need first.
The same thing when we learned how to read, we learned the alphabet, and it took time until our brain got used to it. Usually, a lot of stuff needs training time, football, tennis, chess, learning programming languages, drive a car, solving mathematical problems, a lot of things in our life need training, the same thing for speed reading.
Let’s return to our reading exercise after you moved faster and after you’ve used your eyes to track your magic hand, for one minute, try again for another one minute and now track the words much faster.
Now track the words again for one minute at your normal speed, you will see that will get clearly the words, and you will feel like you are moving slowly over the text.
The idea is when you are inside the car and you are driving 60 km/h, then when you increase the speed to 120 km/h and drive for example one minute, then you return to 60 km/h again, you will feel that it’s very slow to return at this speed. This because your brain is adapting to these situations.
Left and right brain hemispheres
The left and side brain hemispheres control different types of activities, related to thinking or processing the information. The left side is logical or analysis, and the right side is the creative, intuitive part.
Both the left and right side are connected through “corpus callosum“.
So how I can get a benefit about my brain hemispheres regarding speed reading?
Ok, when you will master the motion of coordination between your hand and your eyes, and when you started to see the words clearly at a speed more than your speed let’s say by increasing it to a factor of 1.5, so if your normal reading speed is 200 words per minute, increase the reading speed to 50% by multiplying it by 1.5 so we will get 200 * 1.5 = 300. And while you are seeing the words, try to use the right side of your brain, by imagining the words that you are seeing while you are moving over the text. This will enhance your capability to recall what you are seeing and also you are muting the subvocalization habit.
By practicing every day for at least 30 minutes, you will master these skills, just train your brain, it needs time.
Day after day of training, you will need to see now more than one word at a time, let’s say 2 words, if you try to focus between two words, you can (in time, or if you do not have some problems with your eyes) see them.
What about 3 words? well, I will tell you if you can not see them, turn your book upside down, and tell me if you can see the 3 words, just don’t think about what meaning have these words, and try to see them as an image, focus in the middle of the 3 words, and check.
If you see them, well, our brain is used since we have learned how to read, to focus on the words and to start our subvocalization habit again in order to know the meaning of what we are reading.
Let me tell you if we are driving the car and see the sign stop, usually we will not read the word stop on the sign in order to stop, our brain knows it and we don’t need to subvocalize it.