I love reading books, and if you’re like me you know the problem is there are too many books and too little time!
If you can relate to this, then this post is for you.
I overcame this problem by going through several Speed Reading books to develop my reading & comprehension skills.
I’m now able to read a book several times faster, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I can read a 300 page book in 2 hours. Though most Speed Reading Books focused on Reading Drills, what I found was that by adopting a few basic techniques, one can dramatically & instantly improve their Speed Reading Skills. In this post I’ll be sharing with you these secrets. (A Note: these techniques work best with Non-Fiction books)
Step 1: Know the purpose of reading the book
This is the first and perhaps the most important step to enhance your speed in reading. It is to know the purpose you’re reading the book. Is it pleasure reading, self-improvement or looking for details on a particular subject ? Without knowing why you won’t be able to jump into the pool of information to get what you want.
First: In an overall scheme of things how worthwhile is the material that I am reading
Second: What do I want or need to remember, as specifically as possible, from this material that I am about to read?
Step 2 & 3: Get an Overview of the Book & Author (15 minutes)
- Go through the Front Cover, back cover & inside page cover
- Table of Contents (make a note of chapters that seem interesting)
- Amazon Reviews
While going through the Amazon reviews, preface & introduction gather some more information about the author and form an opinion of the Author and why has he written the book.
Doing the above should not take more than 15 minutes. By the end of this step, you should be able to explain to someone in a few sentences what the book is about. If you can do this you’ve completed this step successfully.
Step 4: Flip through the entire book (10 minutes)
You’ll be surprised by the wealth of information you’ll come across by just doing this. Flip through every page of the book, spending 0.5 sec to 3 secs a page. You’re not expected to read through the text, but during this exercise, make notice of the following:
- Sub Headings
- Summary points
- Any exercise
By noticing the above you’ll find your mind automatically absorbing bits of information & connecting the dots between them.
Step 5: Getting into the details (1 hour 20 minutes)
Most readers read books by diving right into the details without doing any background work. But by the time you’ve reached this step, you know:
- Why you’re reading the book?
- What the book is about?
- Who the author is?
- How can this book can help you?
Congratulations, you’re well in control of the book and to navigate through it with ease.
From step 2 you would have highlighted the chapters that interest you the most. Be brave start going through these chapters. Don’t feel guilty by jumping to the end of the chapter, usually the end of the chapter will summarize the whole chapter.
You’ll notice more often that not, there are a only few chapters that you need to go through, to know what you need to remember in Step 1. It’s using the 80/20 rule. 80% of the information you require is found in 20% of the book. 20% of the book is approx 50 pages which not take an average reader more than an hour and a half to read. Make sure you underline the Major themes and ideas of each chapter you read.
Step 6: Mind Map (15 minutes)
Mind-Mapping is a proven method to effecting summarize lots of information in short use of time and space. You can learn about Mind Mapping from this YouTube Video.
With the information you’ve underlined in Step 5, create a Mindmap to connect the central ideas of the book and each chapter it contains. The center of the MindMap can be the name of the book, and each Chapter you’ve read is a branch from the center. From each Chapter connect the lines
How it Works?
Speed reading is not about reading words fast, but it’s more about improving one’s ability to extract the message of the text that is being read. All the techniques above enhance your ability to understand the message of the text, without the need to read through every letter.
Benefits of Speed Reading:
- Absorb new ideas faster
- You’ll be able to make time to read a wider range of material
- Greater career success as your ability to acquire and retain knowledge increases dramatically
- Increased confidence to sifting through thick books to get what you want
Try it out! and share your experiences below.