Habit 1: Reading word by word
This is how children are taught to read, but when you concentrate[集中] on separate words you often miss the overall concept of what is being said. People who read each word as a distinct[不同的] unit comprehend[理解] less than those who read faster by “chunking[组成语块]” words together in blocks.
Speed reading involves reading blocks of words at one time and comprehending the meaning of the word group. Think of viewing a digital[数字的] image. There are millions of pixels[像素] that only make sense when they are seen together. In the same way, our brains can comprehend ideas better when it takes in a group of words at one time.
Practice expanding the number of words that you read at a time. You may also find that you can increase the number of words read by holding the text a little further from your eyes. The more words you can read in each block, the faster you will read!
Habit 2: Sub-vocalization[默读]
This is the habit of pronouncing each word in your head as you read it. Most people do this to some extent or another. When you sub-vocalize you “hear” the word being spoken in your mind. This takes much more time than is necessary because you can comprehend a word much quicker than you can say it.
To turn off the voice in your head you have to first acknowledge[承认] that you do it (how did you read the first part of this article?) and then you have to practice not doing it. When you sit down to read, tell yourself that you will not sub-vocalize. You have to practice and practice this until this bad habit is erased[消除]. Reading blocks of words also helps as you can’t “say” a block of words.
Eliminating[消除] sub-vocalization alone can increase your reading speed by an astounding[令人惊骇的] amount. Otherwise, you are limited to reading at the same pace as talking which is about 250-350 words per minute. If you are an efficient scanner, you may increase this rate to between 400 and 500 words per minute. The only way to break through this barrier[障碍] is to stop saying the words in your head as you read. If you can train yourself to simply scan the words without thinking about the pronunciation, you will increase your speed significantly.
Habit 3: Inefficient eye motion
Slow readers tend to focus on each word and work their way[努力前行] across each line. The eye can actually span[跨越] about 1.5 inches at a time which, for an average page, encompasses[包括] four or five words. Related to this is the fact that most readers don’t use their peripheral vision[周围视觉] to see words at the ends of the line.
Soften your gaze when you read. By relaxing your face and expanding your gaze, you will begin to see blocks of words instead of each word as distinct unit. When you get good at this your eyes will drift across the page. When you get close to the end of the line, let your peripheral vision take over to see the last set of words. This way you can quickly scan across and down to the next line.
Habit 4: Regression[回读]
This is unnecessary re-reading of material. Sometimes people get in the habit of skipping back to words they just read and other times they jump back a few sentences just to make sure that they read something right. When you “skip back” like this you lose the flow and structure of the text and your overall understanding of the subject decreases.
Be very conscious of regression and do not allow yourself to re-read material. To reduce the number of times that your eyes skip back to a previous sentence, run a pointer[指示器] along the line as you read. This could be a finger, or a pen or pencil. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, smoothing the flow of your reading. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer.
Habit 5: Poor Concentration
If you’ve tried to read while the TV is on, or when there is lots of activity around you, you know how hard it is to concentrate on one word, let alone on many sentences strung together. Reading has to be done in an environment where external distractions[分心的事物] are at a minimum.
Stop multitasking[多重任务处理] while reading. If you are attempting to speed read, this is particularly important because when you use the speed reading techniques of chunking blocks of words and ceasing[停止] to sub-vocalize, you may have “read” one or two pages before you realize you haven’t understood something properly. Pay attention to internal distractions as well. If you are rehashing[重复] a heated discussion you had earlier, or wondering what to make for dinner, this will also limit your ability to process more information.
Sub-vocalization actually forces your brain to attend to what you are reading and that is why people often report they can read and listen to the radio or watch TV at the same time. To become an efficient reader you need to stop doing these things all together.
Habit 6: Approaching reading linearly[线性地]
We are taught to read across and down, taking in every word, sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter in order. When you do this, though, you pay the same attention to supplementary[补充的] and superfluous[多余的] material as you do to the critical portions[部分]. There is usually far more information written than you actually need to understand.
Stop reading a book like you would listen to a speech. Scan the page for headings and look for the bullet[核，核心] points or things in bold[粗体]. There is no rule saying you have to read in the order the author presents the information. Do a quick scan of the page and decide quickly what is necessary and what isn’t. Skim over the fluff[微小或无关紧要的东西] and pay attention to the key material.
As you read, look for the little extras[附加物] that authors add to make their writing interesting and engaging[吸引人的]. If you get the point, there is no need to read the example, anecdote[轶事], or metaphor[暗喻]. Similarly, decide what you need to re-read as well. It is far better to read the one critical paragraph twice than to read all eight paragraphs describing that same concept.