By Ashley Peterson
Developing the skill of speed-reading can drastically improve one”s education.
Most people read by sounding out the words in their head. The average person reads four words per second. The skills taught in the Writing Center”s speed-reading class train students to read 2-3 times faster, said instructor Jennifer Abbott, a second-year graduate student, from San Luis Obispo, Calif., majoring in English.
The main goal in the speed-reading class is to train the students brain to break out of old reading habits, helping them develop a skill that will increase the rate he or she reads, Abbott said.
When wanting to develop his or her reading and studying abilities students should follow the Five P”s to Speed Reading.
No. 1: Preview. The student is able to assess the plotline, as well as get a sense of the tone of the book. It also sets up expectations and questions.
No. 2: Posture. “When you are trying to read quick, posture is very important,” Abbott said. “The brain and the body work together.”
No. 3: Pacing. To find the correct pace, set the timer for one minute. Read at a speed where the material can be comprehended. Count up the number of lines read. Multiply that by three. That number, is the pace number. The Writing Center allows students to come in and use its pacers and books.
“It is important to push yourself, even if you don”t comprehend all of the material,” Abbott said. “When you read at such a quick rate, you are able to read more visually.”
Read continuously for five minutes with the pacer as a guide.
No. 4: Periodic Recall. After five minutes, stop for one minute and write down things remembered from the reading. Doing this helps the brain hold on to the things the eye reads.
No. 5: Practice. Speed-reading is a skill. It involves shaping a number of habits. To develop and keep up reading skills students must practice.
The Writing Center, in the basement of the Joseph Knight Humanities Building, provides several one-hour mini-classes a week that aim at helping students fine tune useful skills, including speed-reading.
“I came to the speed-reading class because I wanted to learn how to read faster,” said Todd Goodsell, a senior, from LaCanada, Calif., majoring in English. “I learned that my brain picks up what my eyes see.”
The class is taught with a hands-on approach. The students are briefly introduced to the topic, than placed in a setting where he or she can practice and develop speed-reading.
Mike Gardner, a sophomore, from Rockfield, Md, majoring in Physics, said in the speed-reading class he learned that it is important to not be in a too comfortable position while reading.
Speed-reading is an additional, useful tool that can be added to one”s reading skills tool box.