|Reading widely provides vital tools to learn about a variety of subjects. There are ways to maximize the benefits of this pleasurable activity|
Our aim should be to read as much as possible in the available time. As we mentioned earlier, reading is not just passing through a passage with the eyes seeing the words, and the tongue and lips moving in sync. We should understand the contents and be able to apply the knowledge in a new situation.
So what we want is to read fast, and at the same time, understand the contents well. To achieve this, avoid all kinds of pitfalls. What are the usual pitfalls?
Reading word by word: When starting reading as a child, we used to read letter by letter. Slowly we learnt to read word by word. But later, we could read groups of words. By reading a group of words, the idea quickly strikes us. Consider a boy reading a sentence word by word thus: If / you / work / hard, / you / will / succeed. He will find it difficult to grasp the meaning. On the other hand, if he reads the words "If you work hard' as a group, and "you will succeed." as another group, he will easily grasp the meaning.
Regression: When we read, our eyes move from left to right. The movement is by jerks and stops. At each stop, we gather some idea. A child in Class I may stop 15 times in a line. But a college student may stop only six times. Some of us have the habit of moving the eyes from right to left also while reading. This is regression, or going back to a word we have already read. Doing this frequently slows down reading. If a word is new or an idea difficult, go back. But do no resort to this frequently, or make it a habit. Also, we should reduce the number of jerks and stops of the eyes.
Lack of attention: Sometimes, we may read mechanically. That is, we may read without thinking about what we are reading. Our mind may be elsewhere. Our eyes may be roaming about the page. Such reading is not useful. It is sheer waste of time. We should never allow this. Whenever we read, we should have deep interest in what we are reading.
Ignoring full stops, commas, etc.: Some of us do not pay proper attention to punctuation marks, such as full stops, commas and semicolons. These marks guide us to read well. We should develop the habit of heeding the punctuation marks.
Finger pointing: This is another habit that spoils our reading speed.
Head swinging: Some of us swing the head from side to side as we read. Also the head jerks for some people when switching from one line to the next. This kind of movement will tire the reader. Eyes can easily shift from one point to the other, without the head being moved.
Lack of love for reading: Remember that reading is an interesting experience. It is enjoyable and at the same time, useful.
Anyone who wants to improve himself has to read. "The worm thinks that man is a fool since he does not eat his books." That is because a worm cannot think beyond eating. For us, books have great value. They are storehouses of information, knowledge and wisdom.
When in doubt, many of us run to books. We should learn to love books. If we love books, we will certainly love reading. If we love reading, we will try to improve our reading.
Too much of analysis: It is true that we should attend to words when we read. But by taking this beyond a limit, we will not be able to read quickly.
While reading a newspaper, we may come across new words. Running to the dictionary every time we find one will stop us from going ahead with reading. If we find a word to be of particular interest, refer to the dictionary later.
Poor eyesight: If there is any trouble with your vision, get your eyes checked by a doctor. If you wear proper glasses, the problem will be solved. A person with defective eyesight cannot read easily, or read for a long time.