Speed-Reading: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
The Finger Technique for Speed-Reading
Speed-reading will be a boon for students who master this technique. Students learn a topic or chapter by reading and taking notes almost three times faster than the usual method of studying. The finger technique will enable you to strictly focus upon the lines of a paragraph and skim through it very fast.
Here's an example: Suppose you are asked to draw a perfect imaginary circle using the clockwise motion of your eyes; you will find it very difficult to perform. This is because our eyes and our minds tend to wander off from where we want to focus them. But, if you use a finger to help you draw the same imaginary circle, then you will find much it easier to perform. You will draw a perfect imaginary circle right in front of you.
The finger is actually a guiding point, like a beacon of light, which guides the ships to their destination. Your eyes follows the clockwise motion of the finger, using it as a guide. Your mind does not wander since it finds something interesting going on.
You can use this very principle for speed-reading. You will notice that 90 percent or more of the words in a paragraph or chapter are connecting words. The remaining ten percent of the words are keywords, which are the really important words in the sentence, connected by the other words. With speed-reading you can quickly identify and focus mostly upon the keywords to quickly grasp the meaning of the sentences and paragraph. This technique for application in speed-reading is known as the finger technique.
Finger Training Exercise
Take your favorite novel or book, open a page and turn it upside down. All the words and numbers will be inverted but don't worry about it. The sole purpose of this exercise is to train your eye and index finger for very fast movement and follow-through.
Now, put your index finger on the beginning of the page and run your finger below each written line of the page very, very fast. Simultaneously, your eyes should follow the motion of your finger all along without any break. Try not to read anything, breathe normally and carry on this exercise for five minutes.
Repeat this exercise twice for the same duration with a two-minute break between each session. Take a break for a few minutes and then attempt this exercise again, this time with the book in the usual reading position. You will find that you'll be able to go through the complete text of the page very quickly. Do not worry if you don't understand everything you read. This is your first day, so everything will not be comprehensible.
With a little practice you will master the finger technique and be able to comprehend 80 percent or more of the words in a page. When you are not able to understand a few words or concepts while practicing the finger technique, do not try to go back for reading them again. It is important not to revert back but to go ahead at full speed for the sake of hand-eye coordination. With some more practice you will be able to understand everything you read by utilizing this technique.
Many students have a habit of reading aloud when they are reading. This focuses their mind but slows down their reading speed, so try to skip this practice consciously while practicing speed-reading. A few students have a habit of speaking aloud in their mind when they are reading something. This can be avoided by chanting a nonsense phrase like ''da-rum'' or ''da-drum'' in your mind, to avoid any distraction.
Speed-reading can be used in conjunction with the Link Method of Memory to aid in quick memorization of a topic or paragraph. Suppose you speed-read a chapter in History on the American Revolution; you will be able to find all the keywords easily and then link them one after the other using the Link Method.
If you are reading about the American Revolution, you will link the keywords like declaration of independence, beginning of hostilities, role of the Congress, General George Washington and General Cornwallis, important battle at Yorktown, help from the French Government, British retreat and surrender, drafting of a new constitution, and so on.
This will enable you to summarize what you've read and retain the subject in your mind. After a few minutes you may write down the summary of the topic you've studied so that you may check for any inaccuracies and correct yourself.