Today’s post introduces part one of the free 21 Days Speed Reading Challenge. The challenge is suitable for both beginners and experienced readers. It will focus on practicing speed reading techniques, and daily.
The big goal: increased reading speeds and comprehension as well as a more intuitive way in using those techniques.
There will be three parts; one for each week of exercising. In part two and three I’ll share my own experiences with the challenge and slightly adjust the task schedules. They will be published over the next two weeks and be bundled as a reference for future participants.
So, here’s the call to action and to join the free challenge. I ask you to consider the challenge as a commitment to yourself to practically develop your speed reading skills.
You’ll get all instructions in this post to know what techniques to focus on. I also have included links to free online tools and offline material for your convenience.
Though, self-discipline maybe pretty important you won’t be alone during your challenge. I offer free e-mail support for questions. Use comments and the Twitter hashtag #21dchall to join discussions or share your experience. You can start every time and I now invite you to get on board! Please, read the following instructions and then go to the 21 Days Challenge page to quickly access time schedules and material.
How to take on the challenge
What is the benefit of this challenge? I believe daily training is the best way to improve both reading speed and comprehension. While I have been practicing techniques for more than a year now I found myself too many days without exercising. Well, I kept studying tips from books, videos, podcasts, blogs and other sources, but often missed it to turn them into habits. The challenge is an effective way to turn theoretical knowledge into practical one. Optional reading: Does speed reading really work?
How does it work? I plan to publish three posts with guiding instructions, techniques to practice and a task schedule. I suggest to focus on those techniques that need some time to fully develop. If you think too ‘Hey, I actually should practice more often’ you will benefit from the challenge. Are you able to invest 45-60 minutes a day for this speed reading project? Good. That’s the amount of time I plan to spend every day for myself as well.
Which techniques will we practice? We will practice all major speed reading steps and focus on improving our ability to read bigger chunks of words. Hence, the techniques included in the upcoming task schedules are previewing, scanning, recalling, note taking, word group reading, memory techniques, affirmations, conceptualizing techniques, working with pre- and suffixes and most popular nouns.
What if I’m new to speed reading? If you only have discovered speed reading at all, you can of course take part in the challenge. Simply choose a starting time that suits you. Best is a Monday. If you don’t know much about speed reading techniques please read this introduction. However, a comprehensive speed reading book may serve you best compared to articles only. I read ‘How to be super reader’ by Ron Cole. Alternatively, read our review on Iris Speed Reading.
Daily Tasks Week One. Exercise instructions.
Here’s my own commitment: I will commit to one hour of speed reading exercises each day. I will prepare all my material and tools before I actually start. I will avoid any conditions that could distract me. My goal is to read groups of five words easily and to visualize words the moment I see them. Please make your commitment too and set your goal. Please e-mail me if you have questions about setting an appropriate goal.
Common tips before you start. 1. Use a pointer or your index finger as a tool to keep your eyes focused and to increase reading speed. 2. Try not to skip back in text. You won’t miss any information. 3. Reduce subvocalizing, hence, speaking words with your inner voice. Conceptualizing and word group reading will help you to handle this habit. For now, just sum a melody while reading. Optional: read my post about bad reading habits.
Previewing. Run a number or name scan for each article, essay or book you read throughout your day. For web articles quickly check head and sub-headlines, trigger words or bullet lists. Try to get faster everyday. Try to preview by default. Make sure to extract the main idea before you actually read. If you forget to preview, just realize it and start previewing. Suggested time: unlimited or at least one article per day.
Recalling. Quickly say or write down in one or two sentences what the main idea is, and what you like to know from the material. Learn to do it by default. Suggested time: after previewing for a few minutes.
Word group reading. This will take most of the time, about 20-35 minutes each day. If you have not heard about it yet, read this post to learn more about the concept. Once you are familiar, choose your level and practice either with two, three, four or five words. You may chose these printable booklets or free online applications for your training sessions.
Do this everyday, either at home, in the cafe or on the bus. Try to master reading five words at some stage as this will prepare you for more advanced reading patterns. However, take your own pace to learn this technique.
Conceptualizing. Choose nouns you can physically experience and link a remarkable image to it. You can switch to more abstract words once you feel confident or the suggested task isn’t a challenge for you at all.
When mastering this skill words and groups will appear as an image while reading, which will increase speed and comprehension. I will come up with a list of common nouns in the next post. Suggested time: Spend 10 minutes a day or practice whenever you see or hear interesting words. Turn it into a hobby.
What now? How to I get started?
Well, there is no subscription required. Simply use this quick access point to download your daily task schedule, find online tools and read recommended articles.
Enjoy, share and practice!