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Online degree FAQ


Speed reading

Speed reading is a technique most online degree students appreciate. Their reading overload will be less of a burden by learning to speed read.

Online degree speed readers:

   Print any materials longer than 500 words and read them from paper, nnot from the screen. This is very important to avoid getting tired too soon, and to preserve your sight.

   Preview fast and accurately before reading for high concentration.

   Select their reading material carefully.

   Select their reading speed to suit the material.

   Read groups of words at a time.

   Use a pacer to help their eyes.

   Read at thinking speeds.

   Read important information at high concentration levels.

   Adapt and adjust their reading speeds while reading.

   Remember information for longer by using mind patterns.

   Think about the subject you are going to read about.

Online degree speed readers do not:

   Read long texts directly from their PC screens, even if they have TFT monitors.

   Skip paragraphs or sentences.

   Read everything that is presented to them.

   Read only in the precise order in which it information is presented.

Skimming versus speed reading

   Skimming involves reading key parts of the text. You can use it when you need to cover a large amount of material in a limited period of time. Skimming helps you to get an overview of an author's main line of argument and to identify the main themes or ideas pursued by the author. One way of skimming is reading the first, middle and final sentences in every section or paragraph, reading further when they don't make sense in themselves. But you can develop your own skimming techniques. Skimming is only suggested as a way to rapidly identify a text's value for your further study purposes. It can't be taken as an alternative to reading. Speed reading is not a way of skimming. It involves full reading and understanding of the text.

Human reading speed

   There is no known theoretical limit to human reading speed. Speed reading is the skill of moving the eyes, and some other external pacer, across and down a page of print at a rate which will avoid regressions and induce better concentration. Speed reading enhances the enjoyment of reading because of greater concentration for longer periods, supported by fewer reading irritations. Speed reading allows you to read at closer to your thinking speed.

Avoid sub-vocalisation

   To speed read (and speed-understand) you need to avoid sub-vocalisation. This skill will help you throughout your online degree courses. Sub-vocalisation is "hearing" your own voice as your read. When you were learning to read, words were read out aloud to form sentences and then ideas. This is how you established early comprehension (understanding). When your teacher was satisfied with your progress, you were told to close your mouth and read silently to yourself. You have been doing so ever since. Your vocabulary improved as the quantity and quality of your reading increased. However, your reading speed remained static. Why? Because you read as fast as you speak or, at most, as fast as you can hear the spoken word. Your speaking speed, (and ability to hear and process the spoken word) cannot far exceed 280 words per minute. Therefore, you are trapped in a reading speed similar to your speaking speed. But you can fully understand words without needing to "pronounce" them mentally as you read. Words printed in your daily environment are so familiar to you, that your brain long ago stopped waiting for that sub vocalisation. The eyes project the words to the brain and, as long as you already understand the actual meaning of the words, you have instant understanding. In other words, there is direct eye-mind transfer of information. For instance, you normally don't sub-vocalize the word "Stop" on a traffic sign. You just understand it without mentally pronouncing it.

Speed reading is a valuable skill for online degree success

   The key to unlocking your natural ability to read with reduced sub-vocalisation on the printed page lies in building word recognition without waiting for sub-vocalisation (just as you have done, by repetition, in your living environment). The techniques used in speed reading courses will enable you to reduce your sub-vocalisation by between 50 and 70 %, while retaining, or even improving your original comprehension. The real benefit of doing so lies in the huge improvement in your reading speed as a result of less sub-vocalisation. Taking a short speed reading seminar or self-study course is a good idea if you are planning to enrol into an online degree program.

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