INCREASING YOUR EYE SPAN
Your eyes do not move smoothly across the page no matter how smooth
your eyes feel they move. When you read, your eye makes a series
of stops along each line. Have someone read the first few lines
on this page, and watch their pupils closely. You will see that
their eyes move in a series of jerks, making many stops per line.
Faster readers make few stops per line, while slower readers make
many stops per line.
Look at the following diagram. It shows how your eyes move when
you read slowly and how your eyes move when you learn to read quickly.
How many stops do you make per line? The top line is a fast reader,
and the bottom line is a slow reader. The slow reader takes many
stoops per line, and spends more time at each of those stops. When
you learn to read faster, you learn to take in more words per eye
fixation, and you shorten the time you spend on each fixation.
Each time your eye stops, it's processing the information you just
read. Taking many stops per line is what slows you down. When you
increase your eye span, you are decreasing the number of stops your
eye needs to make per line, and you increase your reading speed.
The following exercises you are about to do will train your eyes
to take in larger groups of words at a time, and train you to shorten
the length of time you pause at each group of words. You will soon
be able to take in whole groups of words at a time. Here's an example
of how it works. Look at this picture:
Now cover the picture and answer these questions. What was on the
table? How many chairs were there? Did you see the whole picture
at once, or did you have to look at each separate part of the picture,
telling yourself that there are 2 chairs, a table, an apple on the
table, and a big light above? You could see the whole picture in
one glance, right? You didn't have to say to yourself, o.k., there
are two chairs, and a table in the middle, and there is a red apple
on the table. You just saw it and you knew. Your eye is just an
extension of your brain. Most of us have just got into the bad habit
of saying every word to ourselves. Because we say each word to ourselves,
we've been trained to see only few words at a time. There are thousands
of people who have been taught to break this old reading habit,
and you will too.
Because we have been trained to say every word to ourselves, we
have been trained into a narrow eye span
(Instead) (of) (reading) (like) (this,) (and) (taking) (a stop)
(for each) (word) (on the) (line,) (you can) (take in) (whole) (groups)
(of words) (and read) (much) (quicker.)
You will begin reading more words at a time
(The more words) (you read per stop), (the less stops you)
(have to make per line). (The Less stops you make),
(the quicker you read). (The fastest readers) (read this way).
(Can you see) (how you can read) (faster by seeing more words)
(at a time?)
The exercises which follow will train you to take in larger groups
of words at a time, and decrease the time you have to spend at each
eye fixation. Practice the following exercise before you begin any
reading assignment. Run though this exercise below in order to warm
your mind up for reading. Get your eyes in the momentum of moving
quickly across the line. It takes an object at rest six times more
force to get it moving -- in physics this is called the law of inertia.
Before you begin reading, not once after you started, run through
this warm up exercise and get your momentum going, so when you start
reading, it's easier to take off and read quicker.