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Would you like to be able to read faster than you do now? Who wouldn’t? We live in the Age of Information. There is so much information out there that it is a struggle to keep up if you can’t read fast.
There is a technique of reading that allows you to absorb information at a phenomenal rate – and we’re not talking about simply reading faster. The problem with reading faster is that is usually comes with a compromise on reading comprehension and retention of information. This technique that we refer to is called Photo Reading…
What is Photo Reading?
Photo Reading is more than speed reading. It allows you to “mentally photograph” pages at 25,000 words a minute. Sounds fantastic? Yeah. I’m sure it does. But I think I’ve seen enough not to exclaim “impossible!” whenever I hear something that sounds too incredible for me to believe at first hearing. “Photo reading” is not the first time I have heard about this phenomenon. I came across it when I learned about Right Brain Education where they talk about absorbing information from books through a process not unlike osmosis. The process is called Quantum Speed Reading and it is described by author Yumiko Tobitani in her book Quantum Speed Reading.
When I was in school, I would have given my right eye to be able to have a photographic memory and to be able to speed read. Unfortunately, I was so stuck with a fixed mindset that I believed for a long time that this skill was something you were either born with or not. It never occurred to me that there might be a way to develop these skills.
How can you learn to Photo Read?
I’ve come across three techniques:
Quantum Speed Reading
From the book Quantum Speed Reading:
- Image and Eye Training
- Flying In
- Staring Practice and Afterimage Practice
Right Brain Kids: Speed Reading
The Right Brain Kids program also develops speed reading as part of their Wink Program for older kids. It follows a series of exercises that is similar to some of the exercises from the Right Brain Education Eye Training exercise.
From the book by Paul Scheele that teaches the process: Photoreading: Read with Greater Speed, Comprehension, and Enjoyment to Absorb Complete Books in Minutes. It’s not quite as straightforward as this, but this is the gist of the 5 steps involved:
- Prepare – have a purpose for what you are trying to achieve. What is it you wish to get out of reading this book? Then prepare your mind to enter a state of “relaxed alertness”.
- Preview – skim the book or article, spending as little as 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
- PhotoRead – soften your visual focus (your gaze should be similar to the one you use when trying to see 3D stereograms) and take in each page of the book at a rate of one page a second.
- Activate – restimulate the brain by probing the mind with questions you want answers to. At the same time, continue to look through the book and “dip” deeper into the text when it feels right.
- Rapid Read – re-read the book, scanning your eyes through all the words from start to finish. Move at a pace you are comfortable with. The key is to be flexible.