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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 July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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