What should it bring?
Read. Fast and with better understanding. Is that even possible - or just a smart way of cutting money? The Company “Improved reading training” promises: With a few simple tips and tricks, taught over two days, the reading speed can be doubled.
As a student, I have to read tons of scientific papers and basic works, so the offer appeals to me. But I'm skeptical: If you read too quickly, can a lot get stuck? And how should it be possible to retrain yourself from everyday life like reading within two days?
But still I dare the self-experiment - punctually before the exam phase. Time is so precious. All the more important that I succeed!
The seminar room is spartan. So distraction should be avoided, I guess and am grateful that at least not on coffee and tea was dispensed.
The tables are U-shaped and apart from me, only Zivis take part in the advertising industry. You will receive a grant for the seminar and will use it as a preparation for your studies.
The seminar leader, a smart young man, is reminiscent of a salesman, - in any case, he once attended a rhetoric seminar, because he wisely and cleverly, so I can follow him well. He has organized the course in blocks of one and a half hours, which are structured essentially the same. First, there is a little theory, then follows a practice phase.
We start with an inventory. A short reading and understanding test helps to determine how many words per minute (WpM) each individual participant creates in his usual reading speed. Subsequently follow-up questions about the text. This results in a percentage of the text comprehension, and the effective reading rate (ERR) is then calculated from both values. This test serves as a before / after comparison, on the other hand as the basis for the individual practice steps.
Efficient reading thanks to stopwatch?
The seminar leader promises that we will double our times. I am Sceptical. Especially because the next exercise is a bit suspicious. It is about improving the eye movement by driving your eyes across the lines without even having the right to understand something.
A so-called rate controller should support this process. It consists of a transparent plastic disc, under which a book can be placed, and a movable plastic slider that runs at a preset speed from top to bottom. The task is to read under the slider, so that the eyes are forced to orient themselves only forward and can not jump back.
Faster, better, more!
Time and again the speed is increased by the instructor. The new guideline value results from a reading and understanding test, which is carried out at the end of each block and thus in turn determines the speed, understanding and effective reading rates (ERR).
On the basis of these values, one can also observe one's own progress during the seminar. The only does not stop immediately, but forms after initial progress, a performance low. Everything is completely normal, it says in the theory section. But what about the overall success of the seminar?
5 tips for fast reading
The term “seminar success” is of course very individual in a course of this kind. Nevertheless: In my course, all participants give good feedback. And I also have to say that my expectations were exceeded. Of course there was previous knowledge, but also a lot of new knowledge.
- Looking ahead. Anyone who makes sense of the first line, which section the text belongs to, and what the core topic might be, reads more efficiently.
- Reading in meaning groups. Instead of word by word, the brain is also able to capture whole sense groups. This technique not only increases the reading speed, but also the concentration.
- Man standing in the ear. The inner voice binds forces, because whoever responds, even if it is silent, is automatically slower.
- Read and understand. First comes the reading, then the understanding. If you want to do too much at the same time and then quickly, you are overwhelmed.
- Reading position. It is always advisable to take an upright posture to promote concentration. In addition, the paper should be between 30 and 40 centimeters away, a screen about 70 centimeters away. That relieves the eyes.
Away from unnecessary perfectionism
At the beginning I was wondering if something could get stuck while reading quickly. To what extent is it possible to train a new way of reading within two days? I am surprised to find out: Yes, it is possible. However, using it in everyday life is a completely different question ...
First, one should break away from the claim to understand everything immediately 100%. This is not possible even with slow reading. And if you read fast, many participants - and I agree with them - did not have much of an understanding at the beginning. But the subconscious, somehow, had absorbed the knowledge. The control questions were certainly no problem.
Afterwards, it is as always: it takes time for new procedures to become habitual. I also need to focus, consciously choose, I want to apply the learned. Of course, I no longer have a comparative value, because no one stops the time, but I still feel more effective reading.
Whether the course is worth its proud price of something over 400 EUR, I see something skeptical. Ultimately, in my opinion, knowing that you can browse your books and the Internet was selling very well.
The advantage of a course is however clear: the fixed attendance times and a lecturer, which compels you to complete the exercises. So you can not cheat yourself, and is forced to read quickly.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965964341
English version: ISBN 9783965964358 (Translation notice)
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