Sunday, March 11, 2007

Learn How to Speed Read Online -

I'm a pretty fast reader. I have no idea what my pages per minute is or any other useful metric, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I found a very cool website,, that lets you paste in a huge chunk of text and then spits the text back out at you, rapidly, in small chunks. You can adjust the chunk size and the speed as you improve. Honestly, it's probably the easiest way to learn how to speed read.

However, if you don't like the automated approach, you're welcome to use a couple tricks that I discovered in college.

Trick 1: As you read look for a very specific bit of information. I was writing a paper on the use of light and darkness in Tess of the D'Urbervilles to highlight or heighten a theme in the book. Pretty standard English Major mumbo jumbo. It's a 600 page book, and frankly I didn't have the time to "savor" the prose. So I zipped through the book, searching for references to light and dark. It took me about an hour and a half, with note-taking included. When I was finished, I realized I had absorbed the whole book so well that I could remember the page number of certain bits of dialogue.

Trick 2: Gist skim. Most non-fiction books are full of fluff. There's no reason to read every word, let alone every sentence, or even every paragraph. Look for the topic sentence of each paragraph, it'll be pretty much all you need to know. Fortunately, it's not always the first sentence in a paragraph, so you'll have to skim the entire paragraph to find it, which gives you a chance to take in the ancillary information.

The sad thing, is that even with these techniques, I can't manage to reduce my daily blog intake to less than an hour a day. *sigh*