10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute [Book Summary – Review]

If you had a personal fortune, you may start by requesting a trillion dollars and the ability to fly as your first two wishes. However, some people, particularly those who enjoy reading but never have much time to finish all the books they want, could use their desire to acquire the ability to read at a high-speed rate.

No assurance reading these chapters will give you superhuman reading abilities, but you don’t need a miracle to improve your reading speed and comprehension; all you need to do is learn how to break some bad reading habits and put specific tips into practice.

According to the book 10 Days to Faster Reading, we can improve our reading speed in just ten days. The greatest techniques, advice, and examples from the book are collected in these chapters. You may practice these skills right now with your daily newspaper or any other non-fiction books you may have laying about, and you’ll soon find yourself reading more quickly and retaining more of what you read.

These chapters will teach you

  • why we have incorrect ideas about reading;
  • how to get 40% of a book’s content without actually reading it; and
  • what takes place in your brain when it isn’t processing the information as efficiently as it might.

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Chapter 1 –  When reading, people place too much pressure on themselves.

Too many books to read, not enough time. We can all connect to the issue. You discover more intriguing reading material every day, and the stack of books you still have to read keeps becoming bigger and bigger.

However, time itself isn’t always the issue. It’s more likely that you’re not reading effectively as a result of a few common reading myths.

Firstly, you don’t need to read a book or newspaper cover to cover to comprehend it. In actuality, you can’t possibly read everything that comes across your desk. Instead, develop the practice of choosing and putting the most essential things first. As you’ll see, it’s fairly simple once you know how to skim the content and quickly identify the portions that genuinely interest you. We’ll go back to that point later.

Secondly, you don’t have to retain every word you read to learn something. This misunderstanding about reading arises from the pressure we feel in school to include all the information we read because we will be tested on it.

However, the information you have learned is only retained for a brief time and is quickly lost. Create a simple retrieval method if you wish to keep the knowledge for the future. Try highlighting and making notes in the margins, or try writing down the important material (on paper or online). The materials should then be filed away. This will make it simple for you to locate the data and relieve some of the strain to memorize it all.

The last myth is that reading is inappropriate during work hours. The exact reverse, nevertheless, is true! You are required to read as part of your employment.

Businesspeople frequently believe that reading while working would make them seem careless. But reading information that is pertinent to your field might assist you in developing fresh business concepts, keeping up with industry developments, and identifying competitive advantages.

Never be frightened to read at work since it’s so important!

Chapter 2 – Breaking a few negative reading habits will help you become a more effective reader.

Reading is one of those things that, if done frequently enough, becomes a habit. What are some common problematic reading habits, and how can you overcome them?

Passive daydreaming throughout a book is a widespread reading bad habit. While we read, we have a million other thoughts going through our heads that have nothing to do with the book we’re reading.

To transform this ineffective noodling into active mind wandering, a mode of thinking that links the material we’re reading to our personal experiences should be our aim. By doing so, we create a bridge between our existing knowledge and the new knowledge we will gain.

It only takes turning your mind in the appropriate way to make the change. Consider reading an article about Italian art, for instance. Think back to last year’s trip you took to Italy. This link functions as a type of brain glue that makes it simple to attach fresh information.

Rereading what you’ve just read is a regression habit, which is another wasteful practice. Try covering the text you recently read with a business card, leaving just enough room for the line you’re reading, to prevent regression. Regression is frequently little more than a waste of time, but if you truly don’t comprehend the author’s point of view or run across a phrase you don’t recognize, it may be worthwhile to review the information.

Last but not least, many readers subvocalize, mouthing or mentally muttering the words as they read. When we read at “conversation speed,” we only read roughly 150 words per minute, even though the brain is capable of processing up to 400 words per minute. So, if you just cease subvocalizing, your word-per-minute processing speed will increase by more than twofold!

Concentrate on the keywords and skim the remainder of the text when you want to read quickly and cease subvocalizing. Another method is to make rhythmic noises while reading, such as mumbling, humming, or chewing gum.

Chapter 3 – Shortcuts let you read more quickly.

You are now aware of the undesirable practices. But how can you read more quickly and effectively? Start by carrying out these three easy actions.

First, go into reading with a purpose in mind and a sense of accountability. Both focus and organization will benefit from this.

Consider your reading choices by considering why you are reading each passage. For instance, you can toss the professional publications from two years ago if you want to increase your expertise in a certain subject or stay current with global happenings!

Then, consider why you require this information. For an exam, a meeting, or even to assist your child do better in school, you might need it. But do you need to check your child’s homework every day if they already have outstanding grades?

Therefore, ask yourself these two crucial questions before reading anything; if you can’t come up with a satisfactory response, don’t read anything.

Second, preview any nonfiction material before beginning to read it to acquire a sense of its subject matter and to determine which passages will be pertinent to and intriguing to you.

To gain a sense of where the introduction is going, start by reading the first few introductory paragraphs. After that, go over the subheadings, titles, and subtitles, which are often bold and bigger. Finally, read the opening sentence of each paragraph to obtain a better understanding of the topic of each paragraph.

Pre-viewing gives you background knowledge, which speeds up reading and comprehension while lowering the need for rereading. Once you are familiar with the underlying material, you won’t need to continuously read it again to make sure you comprehended it.

You may learn a significant amount—40%, to be exact—of the essential details of the content just by previewing it. The remainder is merely elaboration, justification, or filler.

Learning practical speed-reading strategies is the third and final phase, which we’ll go through in the chapters that follow.

Chapter 4 – Consider reading only the keywords to hasten your reading.

Learning how to read more quickly is the third stage in becoming a proficient reader. Our reading techniques are rather old since for most of us, reading instruction is finished in elementary school. You can test out the new reading techniques you learn in the next chapters. Examine each one to see which one suits you the best.

The first method entails focusing just on crucial words while ignoring the rest. Instead of reading with a steady flow, our eyes often skip about in stops and starts.

Another tactic is to focus your gaze on thought groups rather than individual words. Imagine that slashes are used to divide words: You may compel your eyes to go along more quickly while yet keeping adequate understanding by scanning for thinking groupings.

You’ll need to utilize your peripheral vision to understand the entire statement at each stop. You may practice your peripheral vision in a variety of ways, for as by trying to repeat words you rapidly glance at. They usually have meaning and are longer than three letters. Try to read just the words that are highlighted in the following example: Several phases and components make up the task.

See? Just read the keywords so you may get the meaning without having to read the entire phrase.

You’ll need to utilize your peripheral vision to understand the entire statement at each stop. You may practice your peripheral vision in a variety of ways, for as by trying to repeat words you rapidly glance at. Alternatively, if you’re stuck in traffic, rapidly scan the license plate of the vehicle in front of you and try saying it out loud.

As you practice these techniques, it’s normal for your eyes to feel tired since they are adjusting to a new pattern. It’s best to use your eye muscles as much as possible. 

Chapter 5 – You should also give “reading between the lines” and “indenting” a shot.

Here are a few more fantastic tips for improving your reading:

Keeping your attention on the space above each line of text might help you break the habit of subvocalizing. Thus, you can readily grasp them without being concentrated on the words themselves since you can still see the upper half of the letters.

The goal is to read the words without getting stuck on any of them. If you aren’t staring straight at the text, you can accomplish this more successfully.

Using your peripheral vision is part of the indenting approach, another tactic. Try directing your gaze half an inch inside the left margin instead than at the start of each line, and then stop reading half an inch before the right margin. You may still use your field of vision to observe where the line starts and ends.

You decrease the number of possible starts and pauses that happen when skimming the lines by not concentrating on every word. Your total speed can rise by more than ten percent if you can reduce the number of stops your eyes make every line from seven or eight to just one!

Some people may believe that this is not natural. Draw vertical lines approximately half an inch within both margins to help you get acclimated to starting a line after it really begins on the page. You can then precisely control the beginning and end of your eye movement.

Relearning a skill you already possess may be annoying. Just keep going! Sometimes things may become worse before they get better, but the benefits are absolutely worth the discomfort.

Chapter 6 – explains how to train yourself to read quickly by using your hand or a pen to guide your gaze.

In order to pace our reading and comprehend the words more fully while we were learning to read as kids, we always used a finger or another object. Why should we discontinue practicing that ability once we can read? We shouldn’t, and it could even be beneficial.

Eyes instinctively track motion. For instance, when a fly enters the room, your eyes pick it up right away. Similar to how pointing and moving your fingers might help you read a document more quickly, Just lay your fingertip to the left or right of a line, then gently move your finger as you read across the line but consistently downward at the page’s bottom.

You can position your index finger in the middle of a paragraph, directly under the line you’re reading, while reading narrow columns like the sort found in newspapers. As you read over a line, move it either straight down or in the shape of a snake to direct your gaze.

Cover the content you’ve previously read to avoid regression after that. Using a business card is one technique to do this; using only your hand is another. With your left hand, make a fist while extending your thumb to the side. Simply place your hand over the text you just read, either vertically or horizontally.

Blocking the text you’ve previously read stops you from rereading, much like the business card technique you learned before.

These approaches could be painful or even embarrassing, but they also help you build quick reading habits. When you no longer require them, you may remove them, much like training wheels.

10 Days to Faster Reading The Princeton Language Institute, Abby Marks Beale Book Review

The majority of us stop learning to read in elementary school, so our adult reading habits are woefully out of date. In order to stay up with the fast-paced world, you’ll need to relearn how to prioritize, preview, and speed up your reading if you want to get the most out of it.

A 20-minute pause should be taken.

Don’t overdo it since, according to research, individuals can only focus on reading for around 20 minutes at a time. Every 20 to 30 minutes take a five-minute break so that your eyes and brain can rest. Additionally, don’t read for longer than an hour without stopping.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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