Before you are able to truly appreciate the basic techniques associated with speed reading, you should familiarize yourself with some of the background concerning the subject. One of the first things you should do is think about the way in which text is approached. Most people begin tackling a large chunk of text by reading passages one letter at a time or most often, word-by word.

Sometimes, one can actually feel their eye muscles as they pass over the printed text, as some people target their gaze on a specific block of words. Instead of reading one word at a time, they are actually concentrated on the block instead. This gives the eye time to rest, which is called "fixation."

Some people do not always move from one block of words to the next and instead, move back and forth from current and preceding blocks of words when uncertainty strikes. It is these types of interruptions in reading that causing a break in the forward flow of interpretation, which are called "skip-backs."

Skilled readers tackle many words during each period of fixation, gathering clumps of five words to an entire line. The time they fixate is rather short (sometimes ¼ of a second). Once done, they quickly move onto the next block of words. Skilled readers also face less skip-backs, which helps to lessen the amount of work the eyes are forced to output. In the end, the volume of information one can analyze in a period of time and the understanding of content is maximized.

On the other hand, a poor reader often struggles with these blocks of words and is slowed down in the process. They spend a great deal of time reading small fixations and often suffer from a lot of skipping back and forth. The flow of reading is often interrupted and the structure of the text becomes quite demanding.

A poor reader also faces a higher amount of unnecessary eye movement, which makes reading a chore. The act becomes less satisfying and continues to foster the common bad attitude towards reading. In the end, overall concentration suffers and less understanding of the material is accomplished.

How to Improve Reading Skills

Those who embrace the art of speed reading are able to improve their overall reading skills, which has the power to open a variety of doors in education, work, and personal satisfaction. There are three main ways that a speed reading tutor or software can help boost reading skills.

The first deals with reducing skip-back. Some techniques teach readers to get in the habit of scanning quickly through a block of text by using a pointer as guidance. This may include fingers, pens, or pencils. When your eyes follow the tip of the pointer, the smoother the flow of reading will become. The speed of the pointer will also challenge your reading skills.

The second approach regarding the improvement of reading skills, deals with reducing fixation time. Poor readers can learn how to minimize the time it takes to pick up information in a better manner by trying to establish a fleeting fixation point. With practice and confidence, this part of the process becomes much easier.

Expanding the fixation zone is another way that one may enhance their reading skills. This includes the number of words one may read at any given time. Some people may improve by holding their reading material a little further from the eyes, which helps to expand practice sessions. In the end, the more words you are able to read in a single fixation, the faster you will read in the future.

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