Ways People Read and Tips to Read Faster
Our conscious brain takes in 16 bits of information per second, compared to our non-conscious brain that absorbs 11 million bits per second. Can you imagine the difference? That is the reason why we hate to do stuffs consciously because it does take effort and discipline. Our non-conscious brain structures process tons of information coming from our sense organs such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood circulation, not to mention instincts and emotions all without our awareness.
The eyes, our primary tool in reading, only take in information when they are stopped. If you want, you can verify this by holding a book up in front of people and let them read a certain part in it. Watch their eyes as they read though don’t tell them what you are observing. What feels like continuous motion is actually move stop read, move stop read, and so on. Speed readers minimize the number of stops by maximizing the number of words taken in at each stop.
Here’s an exercise that will help you develop effective eye movements. Try looking at the following sentences in three ways:
First, focus your attention: look only at the first “S” in success.
Second, adjust your focus / attention: look to be able to see at the entire word, “success”.
Third, adjust your focus so you are seeing three or more words at the same time.
Because you can’t say three words at the same time, you can’t subvocalize if you are reading three words at a time. Thus, elimination of vocalization from thought is necessary. Although many think that verbalization is essential to linking words with concepts, common experience shows that this is not so. For example, if someone asks a mechanic how a car works, he surely knows what to answer but will have a problem in how to respond. The subject of his thought is too complex and multi-dimensional to be expressed in linear forms.
He may be able to visualize and manipulate concepts — and find answers — to mechanical problems in his mind without ever putting those thoughts into words.
The same is possible with abstract ideas (which are also often highly complex and multi-dimensional), though it takes practice because there are no definite “images” to fall back on. In some cases, especially when the thought involved is quite complex, removing the verbal component not only speeds up the thinking process, but can even lead to intuitive leaps that verbal thinking might have prevented.
Consider the way in which you are reading this text. Most people think that they read the way young children do either letter-by-letter, or at best word-by-word.
The truth is, we do not read letter-by-letter or word-by-word. Instead, we are fixing our eyes on block of words. Notice the way your eye muscles actually move when reading a printed text. Try to move your eyes to the next block of words, and go on. Effectively you are not reading words, but blocks of words at a time. The period of time during which the eye rests on one word is called a fixation.
You may also notice that you don’t always proceed from one block of words to the next. Sometimes, you may move back to a preceding block of words if you are unsure about something or if you dont understand what it meant. These disruptions to the forward flow of reading are called skip-backs.
Only speed readers have been trained to create mini eye movements, while the rest of us read with micro eye-movements. The former produces speed reading because they engage the peripheral-vision to chunk words simultaneously, not just one-word at a time; while the latter is automatic, and keep adjusting our eyes to place the words we read on our foveal centralis, the sharpest focusing area of our retina.
Most people read in the same way that they watch television in an inattentive, passive way. What they should know is that reading takes a lot of effort and you must exert the effort. A wise teacher once told me that you can learn anything if you do three things. That is,
PAY ATTENTION, PAY ATTENTION, and PAY ATTENTION.