Practice Makes Perfect!
Speed Reading Practice - Week 1
1. Remind yourself that you are making a choice to bring these new skills into your life after seeing their potential this past weekend.
2. Keep reminding yourself of those moments during our workshop where it felt like the new techniques were happening for you. Build on those moments and let them be your beacons of hope at times when you not feeling very connected to the process.
3. Each day, whenever you read, overview first, then go back and try the Gist stage (half the line at a time). Even if you go back and read in the old way, always be moving toward "seeing and knowing" the words. You DO know what they mean. The words are patterns - pictures - that represent a thought and you know it.
4. Pick a 10 to 15 minute time each day (at the same time would be ideal) when you practice the techniques. Either practice the entire process or pick a technique and practice it. For example, one day you could spend your practice time doing overviews, intentionally working to expand your peripheral vision, seeing and knowing the words, and noticing more. At another session, you could focus on the Gist phase and so on.
5. Journaling or blogging about your practice experience can be helpful in keeping you on track and motivating yourself.
6. Keep the notes going! Take notes in association matrix style in everything you do, whether it be school, business, or personal items. Planning a vacation? Use that form of notetaking. One line is the supplies you have, another is the ones you need to buy, etc. Shopping for a new car? Go with a form you made. One line could be colors, another options, etc. You see what I mean.
Before your practice, take a moment, take a deep breath, and relax! Learning a new skill is fun and exciting. Remember, speed reading has to be done in a relaxed state. Start out with an affirmation like "today I am going to become a better and better speed reader!" It works.
Good luck and don't hesitate to call or email me with any questions.
Speed Reading Practice - Week 2
If you have been practicing for 10 minutes or so a day since your workshop, you may be feeling somewhat at ease with some of the new techniques. If not, don't worry. These behaviors take some time to move into your comfort zone.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH THE TECHNIQUES YET TO REAP THEIR BENEFITS.
This is important. Your brain needs the speed reading techniques you learned to operate efficiently, but it will still try its best to hang on to old behaviors. Don't worry. Keep at it and trust that it works. During times of doubt, remember those moments in the workshop when it felt like it was happening for you.
1. Remember during the practice when you were doing the Overview step and I asked you what you got. You were able to tell LOTS about what was happening in the book even though you had not read it yet. You can see the words and know them.
2. This week, practice noticing that during the Overview step, you are able to understand quite a bit about what is going on in the chapter. Also notice any resistance you feel to believing it!
3. Sometimes you will notice that you glance at a phrase or sentence and a part of your mind totally knows that you get it. But a parallel part of your brain will sometimes be there as well saying, "come on, that's ridiculous - you can't know that - you didn't read it." When that happens, just acknowledge the thought and let it pass with a gentle: "yes, I know it seems that way, but I really am able to see the words and know them instantly."
4. This inner struggle will fade for some in time. In my case, it is often there, in the background, even after all these years, but it doesn't bother me. I just smile to myself and note how curious it is that my brain is always challenging me.
Be sure you invoke the reading process with each book:
step 1. Start by assessing how accountable you are going to be held to this book (is it an assignment, background reading, something you have to know for a test, or something you have assigned to yourself to bring into your life?).
step 2. Look over the book and get a feel for its layout and the table of contents. Look through the index if the book has one. Be thinking about what you think you need to get out of the book (or article or report).
step 3. Think about how you are going to lay out your notes. What would be the best approach to accomplish your objective? Your objective might be to know the whole book for a test, to get a feel for the author's ideas for general background knowledge for a project you are doing, or to search for information about a particular topic that interests you.
step 4. Have that thinking result in a preliminary plan for your notes (Chapter by chapter, by theme, or whatever).
step 5. Conduct the Overview phase. Don't spend more than 3 or 4 seconds on a page. KEEP MOVING. You will be back! See the words and know them. Be sure you are RELAXED. Just let the words wash over your eyes in a smooth, sweeping motion. Use your pacer. Notice what ideas jump out at you. Don't worry if they are accurate. You will be back!
step 6. After this overview, you have a pretty good idea of the general content of the chapters of the book or whatever it is you are reading. You know enough at this point to make some choices.
a. Decide if you need the book at all. Maybe it isn't really what you need right now. Shelve it for later.
b. You may decide that something in Chapter 4 is what you were hoping to find and just focus on that chapter, leaving the rest of the book for later if at all. There is no law that you have to digest an entire book to get what you need from it right now.
c. If it is a pleasure book, you might decide that it isn't something you want to get into right now. Shelve it for a few months and come back and see how it feels then.
step 7. Go back, chapter, for the Gist stage. Here you are going line by line, taking in half of the line at a time. Do this in a relaxed state. Practice seeing the words and knowing them. Let the meaning build. Take notes if you are being held highly accountable for the book.
step 8. If at any point you feel like you aren't getting anything, stop, take a breath, and start again. You will be fine.
step 9. Go back, chapter by chapter, for the Details stage. Here you are also going line by line, taking in two or three (or more) words at a time. The details will eventually come through at this stage. Keep adding to your notes.
step 10. If the book is really dense, you might go back for another pass. If the book is really easy, you might be done after the Gist stage. You control the process.
Don't forget to RELAX and ENJOY the learning process!
Speed Reading Practice - Week 3
The beginning of the third week of speed reading practice could find you wondering if you have totally forgotten to read! The new techniques, not quite yet in your comfort zone, are becoming more and more familiar, but at times, you find yourself wondering if there is any merit to this new way of reading.
It is common for doubts to set in, especially when you are replacing long-held behaviors and beliefs about information intake. There is a part of our psyche that wants to hang on to the familiar, even if the familiar is painful or not working for us.
Be patient and ride out the confusion. Tell yourself, "this is only a temporary state of mind. Each day, I am becoming a better and better speed reader and soon, all these new techniques will feel familiar and easy."
By the end of the third week, you might find yourself feeling very confident with your new way of reading. If it takes longer, don't worry. It was months before I felt really comfortable with the new techniques, but I held the steadfast belief that it was the right thing to do and that it would eventually become part of my comfort zone. And it did!
Keep customizing the Triple Reading Process. Intentionally choose how you are going to read a book, how many passes through you will likely need (usually determined after the Overview), and whether or not you need to take notes while you read.
After a few months - sooner for some - you will feel less like you need a formal process. You will always Overview a book, article, or report, but then you will decide as you go what the process needs to be. I find myself moving back and forth between my notes and the book quite freely, always striving to "see the words and know that I know them."
MILLIONS HAVE DONE THIS AND SO CAN YOU!
APPS and Downloads
A number of websites exist to help you practice many of the elements of the speed reading program. Choose from the links below to expand your peripheral vision and "seeing and knowing" skill.
Key to your success is using the techniques daily and practicing, both physically and mentally.
These folks have a number of simple online tools that are also available for download that will help to widen your peripheral vision and practice your speed reading.
AceReader is an interesting collection of tools to practice the elements of speed reading skills. The best one may be the TACHISTOSCOPE FLASH AND RECALL GAME which will help you practice seeing and knowing the words. Be sure to set the options so the words appear in the center of the screen or it is just too hard!
4. Eye Can Learn
Simple online routines to practice various aspects of your vison.
5. The Sharm
An program that lets you create your own relaxation music. Downloading the trial will do all you need. Create a soundscape that you would like to listen to in order to relax prior to a learning activity.
6. Program Yourself Video
This video, by artist Pete Moraites, is an interesting visual piece that is a great way to practice your peripheral vision, soft focus, and the idea of “seeing and knowing” the words. It has an interesting message as well. Relax your eyes, let your soft focus rule, and see what you can see. (You will need Quicktime on your system for this to work. There is a Quicktime link there if you need it.)
You paste the text you want to practice with into the box and then you get to pick a reading speed, number of words you want to see in a group, and other parameters. It they will underline the number of words you selected at the pace you chose.