Breakthrough Rapid Reading
Starting in the 1960s Roger Wolcott Sperry (an American neuropsychologist) and others developed the concept of the split-brains: the left brain right brain theory. The left brain examines details, like letters, words, grammar and vocabulary. The right brain processes visual and spatial stimuli.
In the 1940s and 1950s Evelyn Wood and others began developing speed reading techniques that allowed the assimilation of phrases much faster than normal reading. By techniques such as skimming and eliminating sub-vocalization speed reading became popular. These strategies can be said to optimize the left brain's capability of taking in phrases or chunks of data.
More recent efforts appear to use a combination of left and right brain capacity to take in the complete visual field. By learning to become calm and focusing on the pages of a book, some people are able to process 50 to 60 pages a minute with good comprehension.
Breakthrough Rapid Reading
Breakthrough Rapid Reading: Peter Kump's Breakthrough Rapid Reading is, perhaps, the most complete speed reading book available. It lays out all the steps you need to take to both increase your reading speed and improve your comprehension.
Peter Kump, Director of Peter Kump Reading Consultants, initially worked for the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics organization. He eventually became their National Director of Education. His experience with speed reading is extensive and he even worked with the President's staff at the White House.
His Breakthrough Rapid Reading book is an attempt to bring speed reading and comprehension skills to people who cannot afford to attend a formal speed reading course.
This book leads you through the practice sessions that will develop proficiency in the art of speed reading. He beings by getting you to use your index finger as a pointer. You move your finger along each line of text to keep your eyes moving forward. This helps eliminate regressions (re-reading passages) and gets you reading each line faster than ever before.
Using the finger pointer technique will have you reading faster than you can sub-vocalize. You therefore can only sub-vocalize occasionally words and your reading speed jumps up again.
He then presents some recall techniques that will help in your comprehension. He calls one technique the "magic line". Here, on a diagonal line you write a word or two that describes the major topic of the passage or chapter.
You add lines springing from the magic line diagonal that describe the individual topics covered in the passage. Add additional lines from each topic describing the details or examples used to discuss the individual topics.
In this way you can recall as much connected information as possible about the passage you read.
You also need to understand the purpose of your reading. For example, reading a passage to pass a 10 question test would require more thorough, and slower, reading than reading to engage in a classroom discussion. Knowing your purpose for reading will help you pace yourself.
Peter adds a helpful discussion about how authors write that further helps you glean information from the material you read.
You then get into more advanced hand movements that can help increase the speed of your reading. One hand movement involves the dusting technique (where your rapidly wave your hand back and forth as you move it down the page). This allows your eyes to glimpse important words on the page so you can know what the page is about.
Another hand movement is the circling movement in which your fingers move left to right along one line then on the return trip they make circles over the following three lines or so, allowing you to take in important words to help understand that passage.
A number of other techniques and tips are included in the book to make it a thorough study of speed reading and comprehension.
I found Breakthrough Rapid Reading to be as complete a guide to speed reading as I could imagine. The explanations were very clear and there were plenty of "exercises" to make sure you grasped the technique and could put it into practice.
The techniques for recall and organizing the information in a passage were excellent. I wish I had known these techniques when I was in school. I would have performed much better on tests.
I probably doubled my reading speed using only the first finger pointer technique. Reducing sub-vocalization and pushing up my reading speed is well worth the price of the book. I practiced the "circling" technique but did not seem to make much progress with it.
To be honest, I read the chapters in the book and read the exercises. But, rather than perform the exercises I plowed on ahead to get to the next chapter to learn new technique or read the next tips. I'll bet most of you would do this, too.
I believe to make Breakthrough Rapid Reading effective for you, you have to be disciplined enough to perform the exercises and go slowly enough through each chapter of the book to practice each technique until you have mastered it.
In today's computerized world, online instruction can really help speed up learning. While a book can provide information, I think most of us would favor and benefit most from the use of computer training to improve our reading skills.
While Breakthrough Rapid Reading costs under $15, a computer training program can run $75 to $300. For young people today, a computerized speed reading would be more than worthwhile.
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