You can read faster. You don't need to read every word; two-thirds of most printed materials consist of 'structure' rather than 'meaning' words. Reading faster does not necessarily reduce retention or understanding. Retention is a function of recall, not reading speed; leisurely reading may only encourage your eyes to stray and your mind to wander. Discipline and concentration will make you a more efficient reader. The following tips may be helpful:
1. Prepare. Skim through the material to get an idea of the general content or pattern. You may need to read some background information to facilitate your grasp of the material.
2. Read purposefully. Make a conscious effort to keep up your pace. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone by turning pages quickly or using a finger or pencil to guide your eyes quickly over a line. Focusing your attention also means that nonproductive interferences like worries and distractions are forcibly kept out.
3. Eliminate bad reading habits.
- Inefficient eye movement. If your eyes constantly stray or have very restricted scan span (e.g. seeing only one word at a time), your progress will be slow.
- Fixation. Don't pause over individual words; broaden your scan span.
- Vocalisation. Avoid enunciating the words, either in your mind or throat or with lip movement.
- Regression. Going back over what has been read is time-consuming and the resultant disjointedness will interfere with your comprehension and longterm retention.
4. Minimise eye fatigue. Check your eyesight. As the saying goes, there is none so blind, and slow, as those who cannot see. Keep your eyes at least 40 cm from the text; this enlarges your angle of vision and minimises eye movement.
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