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3 General Causes Of Poor Reading Speed

Apr 25, 2008
We vary in our speed of reading to an astonishing degree.

The vice-president of a large software company says, "It takes me a couple of weeks to read a book such as my boy of fourteen reads in an evening. Probably he could tell you the gist of it as well as I could, too." Contrast to him a woman I know who thinks nothing of reading three, four, or even five fat books in the course of a day, all of which she retains with considerable accuracy.

Even more widely do we vary in our speed of skimming. Every experienced newspaper editor races over hundreds of thousands of words every week and manages to hold in his memory quite enough to give him his bearings about a thousand and one news items for as long as these are of value to him in his business.

Where do you fall between these extremes? If near to this lady, my little article cannot be of any use to you. If, on the other hand, you find it hard to read, let us say, 65 to 75 pages of a fairly serious non-fiction book in about two hours, these points will almost certainly help you.

If they do nothing more, they will surely assist you in discovering the causes of your own slow or unsure reading. Some of these causes are beyond bettering through drill and training. For example, defective eyesight. Most of them fortunately may be improved. Your problem is to ascertain which call for such treatment.

A simple outline may clear matters here. Suppose that at this very moment you pick up a book and say: "I must read Chapter VII in this work at once." What factors play in upon your act and the reading which ensues?

They group as follows:
1. The interests that lead you to read the book.
2. The habits of body and mind that you use in the act of reading.
3. The momentary conditions under which your interests
and habits of reading operate.

These momentary conditions fall into three important rough classes:
a. Conditions of your surroundings
b. Conditions of your physique and
c. Conditions of your mind.

1. On interest, your aim in reading should decide the reading method you use. Some reading should be done just lightly, some reading needs great amount of attention. I repeat, your aim should determine your method.

2. Your habits. Habits of body count no less than habits of mind in reading. Posture and activity must be carefully analyzed. Do you read to fall asleep, or to stay awake? How is your posture when you study?

3. Momentary conditions. Lightning, noise, fresh air or movement. What are the momentary conditions which affect your personal style of reading and learning. Try reading with classical music first, then swich ober to "headbanger" style music. Which one do you prefer? Or rather, total silence?

So, next time you really want to achieve something in your reading, pay attention to points mentioned above.
About the Author
Author is publisher of the site "Speedreadingtip.com", a site with information and tools for speed reading and personal development. Visit Speedreadingtip.com and subscribe to free regular speed reading and personal development newsletter. You also get 5 free articles on speed reading!
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