Have you ever wondered what happens in your brain when you read? When you understand how different parts of your brain become activated doing different types of mental tasks, then you can take control of your ability to read better and faster. On the other hand, by not understanding some simple facts of how your brain works, the process of learning to read better and faster will continue to be a mystery. Speed reading mastery requires you to know how to unlock your whole brain.

Reading is a mental/cognitive skill by which the reader views the printed symbols on a page and derives the meaning of those symbols by connecting them to previously experienced symbols and meanings. That was a tough sentence. Let's break it down. As you see the print, you make mental connections. Understanding this fact means reading is a thinking skill. You can read as fast as you can think (or make connections amongst the symbols of print). In order to read fast, you need to think (respond to the print) faster. However, how do you do that?

Before getting to that, it would be helpful to understand some basics of how your brain perceives information.

The left hemisphere takes in information in a structured, sequential logical manner in step-by-step sequences of information bits. The left hemisphere is also the center of speech recognition and expression. The left hemisphere understands language, then, in a linearly grammatical sequenced fashion.

Traditional reading by its nature is almost completely a left hemisphere activity. Reading word-by-word, left to right in a linear manner, you read in the grammatical fashion as if you were saying the text aloud, except you are doing it inside your head. Thus, subvocalization, one of the most commonly understood limiting habits to speed reading, is inevitable. This will always hold you back in your speed until you learn how to break out of this pattern.

Traditional linear reading also keeps your mind limited to focusing on the parts (individual words) before you can recognize the "whole," or larger picture, framework, or concept and meanings. By limiting your comprehension to this method or approach, you "can't see the forest for the trees." Your speed may get up to around 600 wpm, but you will not breakthrough to truly rapid speed reading.

The right hemisphere, on the other hand, perceives information quite differently. The right hemisphere is visual and imaginative. The right neo-cortex takes in data and information in a more random fashion capturing snapshots in attempts to understand the "big picture," and then creating meanings by literally "connecting the dots." By not relying on sequence and too many specifics, the right hemisphere creates pictures (often by filling in the blanks) and "trusting the gut" while it seeks meaning and high concepts.

The right hemisphere, then, does have an important place in your learning how to speed read. By engaging the right hemisphere, you can more quickly grasp the larger meaning of a document or book. From that general framework, you can then more quickly absorb the facts and details because they have a place to hang onto in the comprehension process. The right hemisphere's visual preference helps the speed reader to by-pass the need for grammatical structures as meaning becomes more important than word sequencing. The right hemisphere needs to be engaged especially when reading to enjoy a novel. Additionally, engaging the right hemisphere and "seeing" or understanding the big picture first, helps reading non-fiction as well because the facts and details can more easily be absorbed.

Therefore, it's not a question of reading with either right, or left hemispheres. Effective speed reading requires both hemispheres to be engaged. So stop reading as a "half-brain."

To better engage the right brain and read in a more "whole-brained" fashion:

1. Read with a purpose. Know why you are reading something and what you need to learn or get from the material.

2. Try to understand the gist or main idea first before focusing on the details and specifics when reading documents longer than a couple paragraphs

3. Ask yourself, "What's this about" continuously, and allow your mind to respond. Listen to your mind's "gut response."

4. Learn and understand the differences between concepts, ideas, facts, and details. Knowing these differences can help you adjust your approach to comprehension.

5. Know that comprehension is a building process, not a onetime event. Learn and understand how to "layer" your approach to comprehension based on your reading purpose.

Although there are several more things you can do to engage your right brain, using these tips can go a long way to helping you read faster and better.

Bonus tip: the above ideas and tips are necessary for longer documents, books, and articles. They do not necessarily apply to text messages, sms, or short one-paragraph postings.

Now that you know a few simple powerful tips to engage your whole brain while learning to speed read, I'd like to invite you to learn even more free tips and ideas by going to: Get Free Tips

Author's Bio: 

Ed Caldwell is the creator and publisher of the "Masters Online Program: Dynamic Reading, Memory, and Recall" and other live and web-based learning programs. As former National Director of Instruction and Certification for the world famous Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program, Ed has 30 years experience teaching and testing new strategies to help people from all walks of life learn to read more efficiently. Trainer, speaker, and writer, he can be contacted at inquiry@productivelearn.com. Having trained tens of thousands of people, he has mastered the art of the coaching, especially when learning speed reading. Ed is the creator and president of Productive Learning Systems, Inc, and ProductivElearn.com, Inc. You can learn more tips and truths about speed reading at http://speedreadingtactics.com/speed_reading_newsletter.html and download the free eBook, "The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."

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