Removing Your Safety Net and Gliding
Last lesson we looked at how pre-reading and skimming make it possible for you to read faster without losing understanding. They help you to build up the bigger picture the text is trying to convey and give you a framework to reference when you come to speed read.
Today we will look at the next step—the speed reading itself—using a method called gliding.
But first, cast your mind all the way back to Lesson 1. In it, we discussed bad reading habits and top of the list was regression- or rereading.
This is a major obstacle that will hold your reading speed back, but it is very difficult to eliminate. It acts as a “safety net” that you can fall back on if you weren’t fully concentrating on the text the first time around; so if the option to reread is there, many of us would take it to make sure we understand what the text is saying. However, this is clearly damaging to your reading speed!
As part of the gliding technique, we will be removing this safety net to prevent you from falling into this rereading habit.
First, take a bank card, a piece of paper, or anything that has a straight edge that can cover a line of text.
Instead of using this to underline and follow the sentence that you’re reading, you will be using this to hide the line that you have just read. This will physically prevent you from rereading and will force you to carry on ahead. As this removes the temptation to reread, it is also more likely that you will be more focused on the task at hand which will indirectly help you to increase your reading speed.
The key to gliding is to move at a constant speed. When you read, move the card covering the line down the page at a steady rate and try not to be tempted to slow down or move it back up again if you miss something!
To begin with, see what your current reading rate is and work from there. Grab a book and see how long it takes you to read each line, covering up as you go.
Now you know how long it takes, slowly try to build up the speed.
Once you get into a rhythm of moving the card down the page, you will notice that reading becomes much easier and you may surprise yourself with how fast you go!
But what if you lose understanding and want to go back?
Well, of course, you can! But remember this will not help you to increase your reading speed. If you’re reading an academic book discussing difficult concepts, it may be necessary to reread to fully understand everything. This is your call to make and clearly, in the long run, understanding is more important than speed!
If you want to practice reading quickly, it may be better to start with a fiction book. You will often find that even if you lose concentration for a line, you can carry on reading and still understand what’s happening! And you will probably find you remembered more from that line than you thought. Without the card covering the text, you may be tempted to reread the section, but with the card, you force yourself to carry on and stick with the pace you set yourself.
Getting into the habit of gliding and keeping to a certain pace when you’re reading will help to increase your overall speed. Of course, it is important not just to “settle” at a speed; to improve you constantly need to be pushing yourself and aiming to go faster. If you have the willpower to do this and have the discipline to keep gliding and reading, no matter what, then you will soon notice how your reading speed improves!
Next lesson we will see how you can utilize your peripheral vision to increase your reading speed, as even with the gliding method you may find you struggle to go quicker. We will help you to overcome this barrier by showing how you can ‘skip’ words and still understand them!
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