When I completed the 1,500 page health care bill in 50 minutes, many people asked if I read every word. Have you ever wondered what is a speed reader actually doing when they are blazing through a dense piece of material at over a dozen pages a minute? The answer is very simple, you don’t read every word. Speed readers have learned to read patterns and to use these patterns to understand material at very high speed. This article will explain how to accomplish this.
Imagine you were viewing the face of the Mona Lisa. If I were to ask you the name of this painting what would you answer? “The Mona Lisa.” What if I asked you to tell me the name of the famous artist who painted her. Now what would you tell me? “Leonardo DaVinci.” If I asked you if this painting were worth a lot of money, what would you tell me? “It is worth a fortune. More money than almost anyone could afford to pay.” This may seem like a fictitious mental exercise, but it is actually an exercise I use when teaching people to speed read. Let me explain.
I actually show people a picture that contains only the face of the Mona Lisa. When I ask them the precise questions that I just asked you in your mental exercise, I routinely get the same answers. When they are done answering the questions, I then show them a full picture of the Mona Lisa. I point out that all they were able to see was her face. Yet, with only her face visible, they were able to answer all of my precise questions. Even more importantly, they answered the questions correctly. How can this be possible?
I discovered years ago that the brain does not read words on a page individually. Instead it reads patterns. When you see a portion of a familiar pattern, like the face of the Mona Lisa, your brain is able to place the missing information where it belongs. When you see a speed reader reading through a lengthy text a very high speed, they are doing the exact same thing. Let me show you how.
Your brain has information already stored into its memory. When you view something this is related to information that you have already stored, than only seeing a portion of that data can trigger your mind to associate it with the full portion of information in your memory. Over the years, I’ve read over 30,000 books. I have a very large database of information. While reading, even at very high speed, I often find a pattern that I already understand. This enables me to read very quickly with excellent understanding. So how does this relate to someone learning how to speed read for the first time?
There are two skills you are using while speed reading. You are either learning new information, and putting it into your database for future use, or you are drawing upon your existing database. Both skills are part of the learning to speed read. However, you will always read faster when you already possess some of the critical information you are reading. In my next article, I will explain how you can speed read in unfamiliar text.
Post time: 03-10-2018