You've decided to learn about speed reading and maybe pursue a program to change your outdated skills to a level that can help you better cope with today's massive overload of information. You're excited! You read some information about learning to move your eyes more efficiently. You may even start practicing. Then it dawns on you: you've moved through several pages of print and you have no idea what the material is about. What should you do?

Most people keep practicing for a short while. The research they have done tells them that eventually it will "click-in" and make sense. They learn that they should focus on "word-groups." So they practice moving their eyes to see 2-3 words for each eye stop. Then they practice 4-6 words per eye fixation, or stop. After practicing that for a while, they are told to learn to see "blocks of words." As they gain more ability to see more for each fixation, they realize they don't understand the material.

This happens because the learner forgets the meaning of reading. Reading is a thinking process. A thinking process means your mind is responding, or understanding the print. The problem for the new learner is that the eye movement has become the central focus of the mind, and not the meaning of the print. A new learner needs to understand that more efficient eye movement is necessary for speed, but also important is getting the mind to respond to the print. What do those "blocks of words" mean?

If our mind is not making sense of the words, then comprehension can not occur. In order for you to comprehend, you need to also learn how to engage your mind as you are increasing the efficiency of the eyes. How do you do that?

Comprehension is your mind's response (understanding) of the print. To comprehend well, reading needs to become an active thinking process. The most important thing you can do then when increasing your eye efficiency is to monitor your thinking. What are you thinking about? Are you using the symbols on the page to stimulate your mind's response? What do the words point to in creating a meaningful "whole" of the document being read.

Another problem with most speed reading programs is that they focus on merely speeding up your old inefficient habits of linear sub-vocal reading. This approach to learning speed reading may get a dedicated learner to read 400-600 words per minute, but that is really the tip of the iceberg of what is possible.

To read above 600 words per minute with good comprehension requires a shift in the whole approach to reading documents longer than a couple paragraphs. Part of this shift means that you need to understand that there is a comprehension process, not merely one rapid pass and hope that something sticks in the mind. Learning to activate the mind is the key to high speeds with good comprehension. It's all in your head, actually.

Now that you have learned something about reading comprehension, I invite you to learn more free tips at:

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 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, Inc. You can learn more tips and truths about speed reading and get a free ebook,"The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."
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