The key to effectiveness in reading is to incorporate flexibility into it. By flexibility it means that you should read different kinds of material at different speeds. Don’t try your speed at reading everything. Similarly don’t waste time reading anything and everything in detail and with utmost care. Don’t read every article as if you were studying it. The flexibility in reading can be developed using the following:
Survey does not mean that either you have to carefully read the whole piece or you have to speed read it. It means reading some items carefully and completely skipping all the others. When you survey, the three things you read are: the beginning, the end and the structure of the item. The structure includes the headings and sub-headings. Surveying helps you to get an insight of the material before you start reading it. This will give you an idea regarding the reading speed and the time you intend to spend on it.
Once the Surveying is done, you can then analyze so as to decide if it is worth your time to (1) read the article in full (2) read only the selected part or (3) not to read it at all. Once you decide on this aspect, you can then decide on the time you have to spend on the article.
The third step is to read at the appropriate speed. There are three speeds at which one can read any article. The first is speed reading. Here the idea of the reader is to get a general sense of the whole article by reading at a high speed.
The second speed used in reading is called general reading. Here the reader goes over the article at a slower pace. He reads line by line for main ad subordinate ideas. You will probably read many memos and letters at this rate.
Then we have the final reading speed, known as the careful reading. In this case the reader pays extra attention to what he reads. He may go over a line a few times before proceeding to the other line.
For better Reading:
Many experts will lay emphasis on the fact training your mind is very important to develop the habit of effective reading. This does not undermine the importance of eye training while reading. The experts say that if you learn to use your mind better while reading, the eyes will take care of themselves.
So if you really want to become an intelligent and efficient reader, you must adopt a strategy. A systematic way of reading the levels of effective reader are listed below in five steps:
Survey: Survey means to get an over view, the overall picture before going into details, reading without surveying is like plunging into a jungle without a map.
Here is how to survey:
1) In the case of a book first read the preface, contents, and summarizes at the end of the chapters. Skim through the rest.
2) In case of a chapter or article,
a) read the first and last sentences of the first and last paragraphs, and also the first sentence of all the paragraphs in between,
b) Read the words in italics
c) See the graphs, diagrams, tables.
These are a few hints as to how a person can go about surveying. Time to be spent in surveying is around 5 percent of the total time.
Question: You should ask questions before you start reading, as well as while you are reading. Reading is thinking plus questioning.
Read: You have surveyed the article, and you have questions dancing in your head. You are ready to read. So read.
Read for meanings and not for words.
Restate: To restate means to put your book down at intervals and to tell yourself what you have read. It’s a key to solid learning. Stop reading after sometime tell yourself the main points and important details of what you are reading.
Review, the fifth and the last step in your reading strategy, is simply repeating the first four steps. So, review is, skimming back over the material, surveying the headings again, answering the question in your mind, reading the hazy item again and restating the central message of the material. The time to review is right after you read.
Reviewing is like marking your own examination paper. You may rate yourself low on your first attempt but very soon you will see your grades shoot up.