Reading makes us smarter and healthier. It influences the way we think and learn. It has a positive impact on your brain, encouraging mental stimulation and slowing the process of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Reading polishes our writing skills, no matter if we write academic essays, web content, or fiction. In plain English, books make us think and, therefore, exercise brain muscles.
What else does reading do?
- Compared to music, coffee, and walks, reading helps better when it comes to overcoming stress and reducing anxiety.
- Books can increase your empathy level, making you kind.
- They cultivate a so-called theory of mind, allowing you to “read” people’s thoughts and feelings.
- Books broaden imagination and boost inspiration.
- They encourage and motivate, as well as improve memory.
All told, reading educates and prepares you for life. It broadens minds, helps you to learn and understand social experiences, and opens your heart to the unexplored. According to Google, we have about 130 million books in the world today. Far from all are worth attention, but even if you decide to read those worthy ones–life will run short. Want to read faster? Learn speed reading.
These five following exercises and programs will help you.
1) Train your ambient vision
Ambient vision appears in side areas of eye retinas and allows you to see a whole word rather than its separate letters. To train it, try Schultz Tables. It’s a field divided into twenty five squares with numbers from 1-25 in them, out of order. Your task is to gradually find numbers, looking at a table’s central square.
Schultz Tables are present in both print and online versions. You are welcome to use online generators and downloading mobile apps to train your ambient vision for faster reading.
2) Forget about subvocalization
Do you pronounce words in your head while reading? Do your tongue and lips move? This process is known as subvocalization, and you need to stop using it if you want to read more books in less time.
An average person is able to pronounce about 180 words per minute. In trying to increase this number, you can fail and misinterpret words. That said, subvocalization prevents you from reading quickly. To stop pronouncing words while reading, practice exercises such as forcing your tongue against a palate, keeping a pencil between your teeth, or putting a finger to your lips.
3) Say no to regression
Regression in speed reading is the process of returning to already-read text. It happens when you deflect attention away, or when your absorption speed is too high for your brain to perceive it.
To beat regression, try programs like Best Reader. It’s designed to mark text parts with a black color dynamically. As it’s difficult for human eyes to move without observing anything, this allows you to concentrate a glance at proper fragments.
When reading a print book or document, apply a trick we all know from school: move your finger across a page.
4) Focus your attention
Speed reading requires a long attention span. To develop it and read texts in depth, try several exercises.
First, take a sheet of paper with colors’ names written in different colors to misguide you. Thus, the word “red” is yellow, and the word “green” is blue. Your task is to name the color of ink, not the word itself.
Second, take a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Focus your attention on a particular subject for several minutes, and every time you start thinking about other things put a mark on the paper. The more you practice, the fewer marks will appear on your paper.
Third, train your attention while reading by counting words in a text. Do it in your mind, and don’t write anything down. A few minutes later, stop and count the words without reading them. Have you got similar results? The closer your number is, the better.
5) Read words all-in-all
Applications like Spritz help you to read faster. They give you one line with words appearing one by one with different speed. Each word has a red letter in the middle, and your task is to perceive them without reading letter by letter but all-on-all.
This trick allows saving around 80% of the time, usually spent on eye movements, and increases the reading speed up to 500-1000 words per minute.
So, next time you find yourself thinking that you have no time to read, remember: books make us better at life, and all we need to experience their positive impact is to start reading on a regular basis. Now you have all tools for that.
Lesley Vos is a seasoned web writer and bookworm from Chicago. A regular contributor to publications on education, lifestyle, and self-development, Lesley helps writers craft skills for better content writing and promoting. Feel free to check her portfolio here and visit @LesleyVos on Twitter.