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Is Speed Reading Books A Good Idea?

is speed reading books a good idea?

In this current age, in a typical day we all have to read a lot of stuff. Emails, Memos, Newspapers, journals, help manuals, books, etc. and we all have wished sometime or the other that we could read faster.

Speed Reading concept focuses on this need. There are several techniques and software that can help you in developing the habit of speed reading.

Some such techniques are:

  1. Read Chunks:- Focus on a chunk of words rather than individual words.
  2. Skimming:- Rather than reading the entire thing, search for the words that convey the overall idea.
  3. Avoid Regression:– Don’t go back and forth while reading. Continue with the flow.
  4. Avoid Distractions:– Create an environment which is distraction free and interruption free.
  5. Pointer or Meta Guiding:– Run a pointer like a finger or a pencil across the sentences to pace through the text.
  6. Reduce Sub-Vocalization:- stop that voice in your head that reads the words alongside you.

And if you practice these for a considerable time then you shall in fact start reading faster than usual.

But is it a good idea to finish books through speed reading?

Purpose Of Book Reading?

If your purpose of reading a book is to finish it off somehow and increase the ‘read books’ count then maybe speed reading is the way to go. But if you are really looking to gain something from it or trying to understand the emotions, narrative. the story weaved by the author then skimming through pages isn’t going to help.

Imagine picking up the Harry Potter book for the first time and speed reading it. Would you enjoy the magical world created by Rowling? Would you empathize with Harry’s situation? Would you be able to conjure the Hogwarts school in front of your eyes?

Alternatively, if you are reading a Self-Help book, wouldn’t you like to pause and think about the arguments that the author is making or questions he is asking? Can you identify with the examples that are narrated in the book?

So is Speed Reading All Bad?

Speed reading is not bad and its not something that you can’t achieve without taking that ‘blue pill’.

It is something that you can also achieve by simply ‘reading more’. The more you read, the better you will get at reading. Things will start to connect, you will start to get the idea of paragraphs quickly, your eyes will start to move quickly across the written lines.

Speed reading can be practiced when reading humongous manuals, or lengthy or non-important emails and other such documents. Because even if you miss a few words or even a few sentences then it won’t be all that bad and your purpose would still be solved.

Do Speed Reading Techniques Make Sense?

Some of the speed reading techniques are good and makes logical sense. You definitely need a distraction free environment to read and a pointer will definitely help you to focus and in turn speed up your reading speed.

But sometimes you do need to go back and re-read the previous sentence or paragraph because it was complex or you lost your focus back then and now you are not able to connect the current paragraph with the previous.

Sub-Vocalization can’t be eliminated. In fact it helps to properly soak in the information that we are reading. It’s kind of a reassurance that what we also understand what we are reading.

Conclusion

It’s not essential for everyone to read books. Read them if you enjoy them. Even better, read the books that you enjoy. But give the author some respect by reading the book respectfully and not how you cook instant noodles. A word or even a sentence sometimes convey a different meaning to different people. And there are times when you have to stop and ponder about what’s written.

Rest of the material you are reading in everyday life, you can judge how important it is to read through the entire document and if not then search the parts that interest you or serves your purpose.

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