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How to Read Efficiently




Nigerians are better entertainers, we have more talkers and fewer readers. This might be as a result of our active/busy nature. Most people want to improve their reading habit but have no idea on how to go about it.

The key to reading lots of books and reading effectively begins with a restructured mindset. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but it becomes part of you as a reflex and default.

For most people, it is easy to learn to read faster. Your reading rate is often a matter of habit, and can be improved on. We find Dennis Doyle’s article on Reading Better and Faster to be very useful in enabling a more effective result.

 Pay attention


Most people read in the same way that they watch television, i.e. in an inattentive, passive way. Reading takes effort and you must make the effort.
Firstly work on blocking out external sound. Find a place with lesser noise if you’re not able to overcome the noisy environment.

Stop talking to yourself when you read.


People talk to themselves in 2 ways, by:

vocalizing, which is the actual moving of your lips as you read, and

subvocalizing, which is talking to yourself in your head as you silently read.

Both of these will slow you down to the point in which you find that you can’t read any faster than you can speak. Speech is a relatively slow activity; for most, the average speed is about 250 WPM (words per minute).

Reading should be an activity which involves only the eyes and the brain. Vocalization ties reading to actual speaking.

 Read in thought groups.


Studies have shown that when we read, our eyes must make small stops along the line. Poor readers make many, many more fixations (eyestops) than good readers. Not only does this slow you down, but it inhibits comprehension because meaning is easier to pull from groups of words rather than from individual words or even single letters. Try to read in phrases of three or four words, especially in complete clauses and prepositional phrases. Your mind may internalize them as if the whole phrase is like one big meaningful word.

Don’t keep re-reading the same phrases.

Poor readers habitually read and re-read the same phrase over and over again. This habit of making “regressions” doubles or triples reading time and often does not result in better comprehension. A single careful, attentive reading may not be enough for full comprehension, but is often more effective than constant regressions in the middle of a reading. It is best to work on paying closer attention the first time through. Do a preview first before the careful reading to help you remember after reading once.

Vary your reading rate to suit the difficulty and text type.

Poor readers always read at the same slow rate. An efficient reader speeds up for easier material and slows down for the hard. Some things were not meant to be read quickly at all. Legal material and very difficult text should be read slowly. Easier material and magazines and newspapers can be read quickly or skimmed. Poetry and plays were meant to be performed, and if not acted out, then at least, spoken out loud orally. This obviously will conflict with good speed reading method which forbids vocalization. Religious writings and scripture were originally written to be recited and listened to by an audience which was likely to be intelligent, but illiterate. The “fun” of poetry, plays, or prayer is not really experienced if you “speed read” the text.
Today, This is all we can share from Denis Doyle. Feel free to search for him and read other articles on becoming a better reader.

Keep it touch with us for more on DOs and DON’T s of Reading and Writing.

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