How to Read Quickly March 05 2014

What is your favourite children's story?  Do you like some Harry Potter magic? To go on an adventure with the Famous Five or a little escapism to the land of Narnia?  

We love books at Honeymellow, whether it is fact, fiction, for children or adults, paperback or ebook.  If we can see it, we will read it and probably love it.  Hence we enjoy making signs out of words and pictures to evoke an idea, a particular time or create a sense of place.  However what we don't like is the fact that if we read from now non-stop for the rest of our lives, we will never ever finish all the books we would like to read.  As readers, we dip in and out of books, sometimes finishing them, sometimes not and quite often losing our place so we have to start again.

Honeymellow can help with the last problem easily with our range of 'Wise Words' bookmarks.  In actual fact our 15x5cm and 10x15cm signs are all great for slipping into a book to mark your place.  You can choose an inspiring saying, a reminder to make 'Time for Tea' or design your own in our 'Write Your Own' designs.  Not losing your place is one way to speed-up the reading process, however if you want to devour as many books as possible in the least amount of time, try the following:

1) Make sure the text is in a serif text such as Times New Roman.  The horizontal lines at the bottom of each letter act like a ruler, making it much easier to speed along the lines without losing your place.  If the text is sans serif, such as Arial, your finger going along each line (the sweep method) or using a bookmark will suffice.

2) Get an overview.  Look at the book as a whole especially its contents page and skim read sections.  This will give you a sense of direction so that you are more likely to understand where you are heading with a book rather than getting lost and having to re-read on the way.

3) Stop sub-vocalisation (i.e. vocalising the words in your head). Try to comprehend what you are reading without saying it in full in your mind.  This will also stop you pausing at commas or full stops.

5) Stay focused by moving your hand down the page at a constant speed.  Read to keep pace with this and still understand the text.  This will also stop you jumping forward or looking back at text you have just read.

6) Read blocks of words rather than each one individually.  This will not only speed-up your reading but also aid understanding.

7) Try the app Spritz: it promises a reading speed of 500-1000 words per minute compared to the normal 220.  By showing one word at time with one letter highlighted in red and a vertical line, it keeps the eye in the same optimal recognition point, avoiding time-wasting eye movements.  All you need is very good concentration to take in the meaning - and a Samsung device to download the app.

These techniques are great for reading quickly and easily, but remember there is always a time and a place for slowly devouring a story, enjoying the look, smell and touch of the book as you turn the pages; listening to the sound of onomatopoeic words and enjoying the anticipation of what is to come. If we had used speed reading techniques as children, would we have grown to love reading stories at all? Perhaps reading is a time when less is so much more.