Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in October 2018 regarding Speed Reading as an Analytic Technique, specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.
Speed reading is “a set of active, mindful and conscious strategies that allow a person to speed up what they are reading”. Methods for improving/teaching speed reading include skimming, scanning, satisficing, the Evelyn Wood Method, RSVP, track and pace method, pointer method, etc., all of which are designed to help you read faster.
- Increases the speed at which you read (e.g., number of words per minute).
- Helps the reader to identify important parts of the text more quickly.
- Reading comprehension is often adversely affected by speed reading.
- Readers are likely to skip over details that may affect the analysis of the text.
- Effectiveness of speed reading is contingent upon the difficulty of the material.
- For example, scientific journal articles, government publications, and online news articles all vary in reading-level difficulty because they are written with different styles and for different audiences.
There are a number of speed reading techniques that have been proven to increase reading rates to some degree. The three techniques employed in class included:
- An eye-scanning training exercise (Youtube),
- Placing a notecard above the line one is currently reading forcing the reader to continue to move eyes down the page, and finally,
- A meta-guiding technique where the reader traced the current word using a pen in order to guide the eye to move faster along the text, avoiding fixating on a single word or phrase.
Application of Technique:
The class conducted an exercise to test two speed reading methods. Students first assessed how many words were in the first five lines of our reading material. As an initial exercise, students read their reading material for 1 minute, marking start and ending points.
Following the initial exercise, students were shown a Youtube video to warm-up and prepare their eyes for using our chosen techniques. The video showed an object, in this case a pumpkin, move to different points on the screen over the course of a 1.5 minute period. Students were required to follow the object with their eyes, without moving their heads as the object moved.
The first technique applied was the Card method. Students took an index card and placed it above the words/sentences being read. As students completed each sentence, they would move the card down the page.
The second technique applied was the Pointer method. Using this method, students would take a pen or pencil and place the tip under the line being read. The aim of the technique is for the student to follow the tip of the pen/pencil as they read, encouraging them to move along the line, left to right.
In each method, students were advised to try and increase reading speed over the course of the allotted 1 minute time frame for the exercises. At the end of each exercise, they noted how many lines they were able to read. Additionally, students were advised to focus on their speed, as opposed to the comprehension of the material being read.
At the conclusion of the exercises, students assessed how many lines and words they read during the initial exercise reading normally, reading using the Card method, and then reading using the Pointer method. On average, students read faster with the Card and Pointer methods in compared to the initial exercise where they read normally.
For Further Information: