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How To Increase Your Reading Speed Without Losing Comprehension

How To Increase Your Reading Speed Without Losing Comprehension

Have you ever been in a group watching a PowerPoint presentation and felt like the presenter was switching slides too quickly- or that maybe everyone around you was reading at a much faster speed than you? While you may have felt left out, be rest assured that you probably had more company than you thought.

While your reading speed will vary with the content of the material presented, according to Staples, the average person reads 300 words a minute. Many factors will influence your reading speed outcome such as mood, lighting, and overall environment. If you are curious to know your reading speed, take the eReader test from Staples here.

As you may recall, growing up we were subject to many myths about reading. Some of the more popular myths included:

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Reading every letter makes you a better reader

The human brain is wired to process words, first and foremost, for understanding rather than for grammatical accuracy. This means that when reading, our brain’s first goal is to understand the meaning of the word and the context of a sentence. For further proof, try reading the following text:

myth1a

    Slow reading brings more enjoyment

    While this myth may easily be defied by most school-aged children, it is important to note that slowing your pace will not alter the content of your reading material. However, speed reading material that is of high interest to you will enable your brain to vividly picture the scenes from the text and thus create a much more rewarding experience for the reader.

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    Here are some easy ways to help you save time when reading, while maintaining your comprehension:

    1. Selectively skim the text

    This PsycNet study by H.Y. McClusky shows that contrary to the belief that every word must be read to understand a text, preliminary skimming can help save time when reading. However, you must do so appropriately in order to understand the message conveyed in the text. For example, it is highly recommended to always read the introduction and the conclusion of a text to ensure that the context of the material is not lost. Moreover, when reading a memorandum, you will need to ensure you read the subject line and first lines of the memo to understand the subject. Furthermore, reading the final paragraph of the memo will reiterate the points you skimmed over.

    2. Use a pointer

    While you may initially feel like you have reverted back to preschool, over time, you will learn to appreciate having a visual aid to help you keep track of your eye placement while reading a text. According to Mindtools.com, the use of a pointer forces your eyes and brain to keep a more focused pace. Try to read this paragraph from the beginning and use your index finger as a pointer, you will notice that your eyes will focus on the last line above your finger and the speed at which you move your finger will set your reading pace.

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    3. Have a purpose

    According to the National Council of Teachers of English, setting authentic purposes for reading will pique curiosity and prepare the mind for the information that it is about to receive. Whether it is for information or simply relaxation, try to have a purpose for reading the material at hand. Whether it is a required report for your next staff meeting or a whole chapter for next week’s history test, subconsciously this process will help to prepare your brain for the activity and thus accelerate comprehension.

    4. Read for enjoyment

    We are always more motivated to do something that we care about and it is no different with reading. Unlike what most may assume, slow readers do not dread reading, they simply may not have found something that piqued their interest. When reading, try to find topics that are of high interest to you and it will help the process. Your interest in the topic will make it much easier as your brain will quickly register the words. A 2012 study from the United Kingdom’s Department of Education shows that reading for enjoyment not only increased writing ability, text comprehension, and grammar but it also promoted greater self-confidence as a reader. Even with topics that tend to be tedious such as a lease agreements, putting a positive spin on the task will help your brain complete the process effectively. As they say, ‘practice makes perfect’; hence, your reading speed may not be as fast as it would when reading something truly interesting, but having a positive mind will help.

    Becoming a speed reader will not occur overnight, however with practice, you can become a quicker reader.

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    Featured photo credit: Reading Glasses on Book with Hot Tea Drink/ Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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    Last Updated on May 15, 2019

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

    “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

    When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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    Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

    We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

    But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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    So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

    It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

    1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

    Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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    2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

    This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

    You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

    3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

    This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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    4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

    How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

    So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

    If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

    And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

    Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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