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Buzan on speed reading

Updated Wednesday, 6th August 2008

Tony Buzan shares his tips on speed reading - can you skim and still feel well read?

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Speed reading

Tony’s premise is that we are all capable of reading more quickly. The problem is that we haven’t been taught how. If we hold a book at the correct distance away, Tony explains that our eyes are quite capable of taking in a group of words at a single glance. We can thus read phrase by phrase and not word by word.

Tony Buzan Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Contrary to what you might think, reading several words at time does not lead to a drop in comprehension. A single word isolated taken out of context is not as meaningful as a phrase of four or five words. As in the following example:

"The hairy red dog, ran along the muddy path for almost a hundred metres. Its coat was soon covered in a layer of filth"

Instead of reading:

"The — hairy — red — dog — ran — along — the — muddy — path..."

You should read:

"The hairy red dog — ran along the muddy path — for almost a hundred metres..."

The other point to note is that if you use a guide when you are reading, something like a pencil or a letter opener, the eye will find it much easier to follow the text. With practice, Tony reckons it's possible to increase reading speed by a factor of five or more.

Take it further

Tony has published a large number of books, including Use your Head Use Your Memory, The Speedreading Book, The Mind Map Book and Master Your Memory.

Fancy taking your interest in psychology further? Why not discover how the Open University can let you explore this area in more detail?

 

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