Monday, March 12, 2012

The Science of Speed Reading in a Nutshell

While I've acquired the science behind speed reading, my reading speed has not reached competency due to needing more time to apply the techniques learned.  So in my journey, I'll give you what I learned and some resources that might prove helpful if you aspire to read faster.  So there are two types of readers...those that read in thought stream and those that read while sub vocalising. 

Sub vocalising is the act of either compulsively reading  aloud or reading silently to oneself while expressing perceived words in cohesion with movements of the tongue and larynx.  Thought stream refers to internal imagery only of what's being read...minus the sub vocal expression.  The mature reader needs not subvocalise, as it limits reading speeds to a general maximum of 300 w.p.m. give or take 20%.  Meanwhile a pure thought stream reader will be reading laps around the subvocaliser at speeds exceeding 1000 w.p.m.  Easy choice huh!

What type of reader are you?  To find out try reading an excerpt from your favorite book while counting silently to yourself.  It's not an exact measurement, but if your find this difficult chances are you're a subvocaliser, but don't be discouraged because this is definitely a reading pattern that can be broken with the right practice and the right techniques.

So...on to one of the most interesting things I learned in my journey, which I also think will be a great incentive for anyone to try their hand at improving their reading speed.  Did you know that we homo sapiens (latin for wise man) think at rates 500 w.p.m or more; however, the average adult reads at a mere 250 w.p.m. (true for elementary aged children as well).  With your mind running at twice the speed of your eyes, no wonder most people who attempt to read (the non-bookworms) find that they lapse into boredom, day-dream or most commonly find that they are feeling tired or sleepy.
No! The yawning is a signpost that you're bored, not tired.  The solution: learn to read at the rate that you think with maximum comprehension.  The benefit: you reach a magic threshold where you're simultaneously speeding up your thinking.  With this ability, you start tapping into new depths of your brain and you grow beyond utilizing 4% to 10% of your mental abilities...unlike most adults who, the late Jim Rohn said, read so little they have rickets of the mind.

Here are some resources for the few who might decide they want to learn more about awakening the giant within by increasing their reading speed:

The Speed Reading Course by Peter Shepherd & Gregory Unsworth-Mitchell
Triple Your Reading Speed by Wade Cutler
Speed Reading by Tony Buzan
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

Enjoy! Happy Speed Reading!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekly Competency #1 - Speed Reading 3.2.12 @ 2:30pm - 3.9.12 @ 2:30pm

Good day, good people! So the other part to this puzzle, which I think adds so much significance to the process of this entire project is that I'll conduct each competency "in flow"...meaning my spirit will be my guiding light to what discipline I'll be delving into each week.  This weeks competency is Speed Reading.  My thinking is that this will be an essential commodity in acquiring the skills I seek in the time allotted.

I began this weeks learning with taking an assessment of my current reading speed, which can be done at a number of sites; however, I chose to do mine.  I chose to read an excerpt from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  My pre-test results were 355 words per minute (w.p.m) respectfully, so now I have an accurate baseline in which to begin this weeks journey.

What exactly is speed reading? More than just attempting to read faster or learning an entirely different way of reading altogether, I am quickly discovering that the process of becoming proficient in speed reading lies in learning a collection of reading techniques which attempt to increase rates of reading without greatly reducing comprehension or retention. Speed reading is characterized by a very fine balance of speed and comprehension, recognizing that different types of reading call for different speed and comprehension rates, and that those rates may be improved with practice.

The reality is that speed reading is not difficult to learn at all.  It is nothing more than accepting that fact most adults embrace the same reading techniques they learned in grade school.  The process of unlearning faulty and counterproductive ways of reading and replacing them with more productive means of reading is the fundamental principle behind becoming competent in speed reading.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I simply just want to learn!

The purpose and premise of this blog is to pay forward the information and skills I acquire during multiple 7-day educational endeavors aimed at achieving competence across a wide range of independent studies, disciplines, and topics.  In developing my Life Management System, I’ve successfully created a network of processes which will allow me to sanctify one of my highest values.  That value being personal development and growth.  The long and short of it…I simply want to learn!
“I want to learn…I will learn…I want to be smart…I will be smart,” Ms. Whitney would have each child in her daycare, no matter their age,  recite this very powerful and simplistic saying several times every morning upon being dropped off by their respective parents.  It wasn’t until having recently taken the time to journey back that I realized just how much this profound and deliberate daily ritual affected my life. 
My experiences has taught me, since the days of Ms. Whitney, two things: that she was a highly intelligent woman and that she understood the power and importance of repetition and affirmations as it relates to one’s ability to consciously influence their subconscious mind.  Of course, my four-year old mind had no consciousness of the principles being so gradually and subtly instilled in me at the time. 
However, having more understanding of the unlimited power of this principle of self-suggestion, I am positive that provided with the resources and opportunity to locate any individual that had the esteemed privilege of being in Ms.Whitney’s daycare for any significant amount of time, I am sure of one thing…They would all possess an uncanny and unusual desire to learn and subsequently be learned. 
If I were able to speak to Ms. Whitney today and ask her about her rationale for having all the children that entered her home to repeat that saying every morning, I have no doubt that she’d tell me a story of how she’d first come in contact with this truth, and how her life’s purpose, that which she had dedicated her very existence had somehow been centered around painting this powerful truth onto the blank canvas’ that was once every child that entered her home.
Ms. Whitney has gone on to be with the Father, but if she were here today I’d stop by to inform her that I now understand her reasoning, and I’d thank her for the silent miracle that she imparted into my life so long ago.  Ms. Whitney’s affirmation has acted as an underlying philosophy or theme if you will, of my life and it continues to govern my daily actions today.  I still embody this seemingly intrinsic, persistent, unexplained and unquenchable thirst for learning, which I now attribute to my unsung hero.
Thank you, Ms. Whitney for knowing your life’s purpose and for your obedience in fulfilling it.  Unknowingly, my parents made a priceless investment in me by choosing your daycare so long ago.  Ms. Whitney, it is because of you that I’ve never lost my hunger for knowledge, wisdom and truth.  Yes ma’am…I still want to be smart, and I will be smart.
So…here’s the deal!  There are 168 hours in a week; within that week I am committed to becoming competent in a particular discipline, acquiring some skill or area of interest to me.  In Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, he speaks of human being’s careless nature to neglect countless opportunities to invest the time, discipline and focus to become an expert at any one thing.  So while my objective is not to become an expert in my weekly endeavors, due to the lack of expertise in these areas, becoming competent will make me somewhat of an expert by comparison to what the average person knows about each subject matter. 
My approach is to learn the components, governing principles, language, and contexts of the thing, which will provide the entire basis of understanding.  I’ll focus on learned knowledge (i.e. books, pdf, and written material) and activity knowledge (i.e. application of the thing in context, real work on acquiring the skill).  So let the learning begin!