Now that you’ve begun to employ speed reading techniques, it’s important that you understand what you’re reading.
Many people lose some comprehension when they first begin speed reading. This is usually because they do not use any specific method for speed reading; they focus instead on increasing their reading speed. But since you’ve learned some specific techniques for speed reading, you should not suffer this fate. However, it’s important that you understand what you’re reading because otherwise your speed reading efforts are of little value.
While we recommend using online programs to test your comprehension, you can do a little bit of this on your own. There are a few ways you might test your reading.
Here are some ideas:
- After you read a small passage, write down what you believe you just read. That is, break down the general ideas and concepts that you gleaned from the block of text that you read. Then go back and read the text at a slower pace, or the pace at which you would normally read. Did you comprehend what you’re reading?
- Have someone else read an entire page of text. We’re not talking about a page in a novel here, but rather a page in a textbook, or in a report, or something similar. After you have read the text at a normal reading speed, employ speed reading techniques to read it at a much faster pace. Once you have read the document, compare notes with your partner. Did you comprehend what you are reading? Did you get at least the big ideas if not some of the finer nuances in the document?
If you find your comprehension is suffering, you might want to practice your speed reading techniques further. That is, if you understand how to speed read and use the techniques properly, your comprehension should not suffer. We’re not saying your level of comprehension will increase, but rather your level of comprehension should remain the same as if you were reading at a regular pace.
If you find your comprehension is suffering, think about what part of the speed reading techniques you are not employing. Are you learning to read without distraction? Is it possible you are going too quickly and at a pace that you’re not yet ready for?
It could be that you are not pre-reading properly. That quick pre-read, where you quickly run your eyes over a page or a block of text and pick up the big ideas and important passages is an extremely important step in speed reading. If you fail to do this, or you don’t do it properly, your comprehension might suffer when you speed read.
Another technique for testing your comprehension is to take an online test. There are many of these available and you can find them doing a quick Internet search. These tests might have you speed read a passage and answer a couple of quick questions to determine if you comprehended well what you read about. This can be an effective way to test your comprehension, especially after you’ve developed some confidence with speed reading and with your ability to comprehend what you are reading when you’re doing it very quickly.
Aside from checking your reading comprehension, now is the time to test your reading speed again. It should have increase substantially from your first test, if you effectively apply the speed techniques you’ve learned.