10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks-Beale wasn't the book I was most looking forward to reading from the Personal MBA reading list. However, having finished the book and seeing the results it yielded I am really glad I read it.
The book was not only incredibly insightful, it served as a 10 day training regime that increased my words per minute and in many cases comprehension before my eyes. "When was the last time you had any training to develop or polish your reading?" When I read this line in the book I was definitely caught off guard. I don't think I can even remember having any training. I don't even really remember learning to read so that tells you how long it has been. That question struck me because I typically pride myself on working to get better at things I want to be good at. Yet it never occurred to me that I could be a better and faster reader. I really like how the book is broken into 10 specific days with various tips and actual time trials on each day. You don't have to wonder if you did get better by reading the book, you have the results written down to prove that you did. I went from reading at about 220 words per minute with about 80% comprehension to fairly consistent trials of 480 words per minute with similar comprehension or at times better.
I feel like this is one of those books that I will be recommending to everyone I meet who is a reader. One of my biggest frustrations is how long it takes me to read books. And the more I read the more I realize how much is out there to learn. However, we as humans can only read so fast. I think that this book validates that we can only read so fast, but it also validates that most of us haven't reached that level and are currently reading well below our potential. If I improved that much in 10 days I am excited to see the results of consistent practice.
Here are some major points and principles from the book as well as my results throughout the 10 days.
- The book will help you:
1. realize the value of what you may already be doing
2. introduce a wide spectrum of ideas to pick and choose from
3. enhance your level of reading confidence
- Benefits: read more less time, improve conversation, understand w/ greater depth and accuracy, retain information better, enjoy reading more
- Attitude matters. You are only human. Lack of reading training. To read pile. No time
- First time trial: 1 min 53 secs, 5 estimated correct, 8 actually correct, 80% comprehension, 220 wpm which is "average reader"
- Fallacies: read every word, sound out loud or in head, don't use hands or fingers, you need to understand everything, remember everything, go for quantity, don't skim, don't write out, doesn't matter what you read, speed is not important
- Eyes follow movement
- Pacers - hand, pen or cards can increase reading speed
1. Move pacer down not across
2. Do not stop or go back
- 3 x 5 card - prevent regression block where you have been instead
- Get rid of non valuable reading. What value does it add?
- Second trial w/ pacer - 50 secs, 6 estimated correct, 9 actually correct, 90% comprehension, 480 wpm
- Function more productively in a fast paced world, more in less time, emulate an important characteristic of successful people....focus, tap into a reservoir of energy, improve quality of life
- 1. Why am I reading this? 2. What do I need the info for?
Third time trial w/ pacer and left side pull: 1 min, 6 est. correct, 6 actually correct, 60% comp, 400 wpm
- Use note making when: you are going to refer to info again, quickly locate info like stat or quote
- Only highlight keywords
- Keywords are generally bigger than others. Read only keywords
- Use margin notes to write keywords
- Time trial 4 - 50 lines x 12 words per line = 600 wpm
- Read between lines, focus on white space and top half of letters
- Indenting - focuses and limits how far and wide your eyes go
- Gain some knowledge about a topic prior, set the stage -- Pre Viewing
- Pay attention to subheads and the first sentence of paragraphs and roadways and conclusion summary and questions
- Time trial 5 w/ previewing only: 4 est correct, 2 correct, 1219 wpm
- Be critical! pros and cons of writing
- Time trial 6 preview and read: 44 secs, 7 est correct, 3 actually correct, 30% comprehension, 600 wpm
- Time trial 7: 58 secs, 6 est correct, 7 actual correct, 70%, 400 wpm
- Emails: who its sent to and who sent it, subject lines, preview them
- Skim, scan, and skip
- Time trial 8: 50 secs, 7 est correct, 10 actually correct, 100% comp, 480 wpm
- Time trial 9: 52 secs, 6 est correct, 7 correct, 70%, 480 wpm
- Knowledge of topic affects speed and comprehension
- Time trial 10: 48 secs, 6 est correct, 8 actual, 80% comp, 480 wpm
- Keepers: pacer card, keywords and phrases, wide eyes, large chunk reading rhythm, top half of words, preview