“ Speed read ing has be en found to be bet ter for under stand ing than slow read ing.”

Exercise 3 Now look at the next sentence reading the words as they are grouped:

“It has been discovered that the human brain with the help of its eyes takes in information far more easily when the information is conveniently grouped in meaningful bundles”

Exercise 4 Do you ever use your finger, your thumb, a pencil or pen or any other visual guide when you are: i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) vii)

looking up a number in a telephone directory looking for a word in a dictionary looking up an item of information in an encyclopaedia or reference work adding up a column of numbers focusing on a point you are about to note showing someone else a point on a page to which you wish them to pay attention reading normally

Yes Yes

/ /

No No

Yes Yes Yes

/ / /

No No No

Yes Yes

/ /

No No

Most people answer yes to at least half of these questions. It’s amazing that we all use guides when we’re reading in virtually every situation except normal reading, where we’ve been specifically instructed not to do what we’re naturally inclined to do… Exercise 5 Do this with a partner so you will need to split into pairs. In the first part of the experiment, you should both sit facing each other, approx 60cm (2 feet) apart, with your arms folded and your heads still.

Now person 1, imagines a perfect circle approx 50cm in diameter. The circle should be 30cm (the length of a ruler) in front of the eyes. Person 1 who is imagining the circle follows the outline exactly with their eyes, both people keeping their arms folded, and person 2 looks very closely at person 1 to see exactly what person 1’s eyes are doing. I want person 1 who is imagining the circle to feel exactly what it’s like to move the eyes around the circumference of the circle. Right – at this stage don’t say anything. Now reverse the roles. When you’ve completed the roles, exchange information on what you both saw in the partners eyes and what you felt while you were following the imaginary circle. Exercise 6 Now sit exactly as you did before but this time person 1 aids the other by tracing with their forefinger a perfect circle in the same place as the imaginary one. Person 2, who was not tracing the circle, follows the tip of their partner’s finger all around the circumference noting how the eyes feel as they follow the finger tip. Person 1 who is guiding follows closely, as before the eye movements of person 2. When this has been done, reverse the roles and discuss what you noticed about your partners eyes and your own. Don’t try and draw the circle too quickly Most people find that the eyes follow the guide smoothly, and are more comfortable doing so. This is because the human eye is designed to follow movement, because it is movement in the environment that gives much survival information. The exercise demonstrates that eyes following a guide are much more relaxed and efficient. So, in your reading and revision, use a guide