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Creating Ideal Conditions For Efficient Reading (Hints and Tips)

Most of us start learning to read when we are very young. We also stop learning to read when we are very young! Which is fine if your lessons taught you how to read quickly and assimilate information efficiently. It is fine if your lessons got you into the habit of setting out your objectives and covered how to get the most out of your reading.

Unfortunately for most of us, ‘learning to read’ stopped at word recognition and made no conscious distinction between reading for pleasure and reading for work. Reading in a darkened room or in bed, with soporific music playing in the background is fine if your objective is to use up (and shorten) the time between feeling awake and feeling sleepy! However if your objective is to assimilate information in a book, article or report, the following suggestions may be of use:

  • Ensure that you have daylight or are using good quality ‘daylight simulating’ bulbs
  • Ensure that there is plenty of fresh air and that the temperature is right (cooler rather than warmer)
  • Ensure that your stomach is neither full nor distractingly empty
  • Be clear about your objectives and the time you intend to spend
  • Take time to preview the whole book before you start
  • Take regular breaks to rest your eyes and your brain
  • Mark passages that you either don’t understand (but need to) or that have particular relevance
  • If there are individual words that you don’t understand, mark them and return to them if necessary on a ‘dictionary run’
  • Be positive about the material – focus on your objectives

Using the Power Browse

  • Look briefly at the cover of your document and see what it tells you about the subject
  • Look at the table of contents to understand the flow of the document
  • Run through the document briefly – one or two seconds per page
  • Highlight those parts that you want to explore in detail
  • Finally do a quick review and Mind Map what you have just browsed

Find out more

Find out moreย about our Effective Speed Reading courses running in London or available in-house for groups and teams.
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