Reading books is one of the most important factors when obtaining new knowledge and gaining wisdom. It is essential that you read as much as you can. We often read for enjoyment of a novel, learning from self-help books and just leaning from someone else’s life story. But readying takes a lot of time and often is strenuous, making the joy of reading less enjoyable. That’s where audio books comes in!
Audio books make it easy to read books by not reading books, just listening to the author (usually) or someone else read the book to you. But audio books too take a long time to complete because often they are many hours long, What if you can combine reading and listening together?
I figured out routine for a common technique of reading quickly and faster, I call it Super Reading.
What is Speed Reading?
Speed Reading is what is says, it’s the practice of trying to read very quickly speedily – and still maintain complete comprehension. Although this does take a lot of practice with certain underlying technique and is often very difficult to achieve.
There are hundreds of training programs out there that can teach you the art of Speed reading and its techniques like chunking and reducing your sub-vocalization; but this isn’t a training program and you don’t need to learning those fancy techniques to read super quickly and even faster. That’s why I wrote this article to teach you how to read quicker and even more efficiently.
Speed reading may fall into the hands of someone like Super man -he not need fancy techniques and practice because he can do it very quickly any ways. Using his ability unlike the average Joe he can read books very quickly.
What is Super Reading
Have you ever tried picking up a book and gave up shortly afterwards? No, well then you’re just like me! Reading does take a long time, especially if you have dyslexia. It is often difficult to stay on track and having to reread the same paragraph over and over just to understand what was being mentioned and don’t forget to add all the background noises like the cat and people – to distract you. I don’t have this problem as bad anymore thanks to this powerful technique.
So lets set one things straight, Super reading isn’t speed reading -alone it’s speed reading enhanced without the fancy subvolcal…….. techniques.
So how does it work? The approach is simple, you read the physical book yourself and have someone read it to you as well. Adjust the speeds and you have super reading! We’ll discuss the reading speeds a bit later and process of reading.
Batman on the other hand is able to use the Super reading technique on the job. You’ll often see him running from roof top to rooftop with headphones plugged in and a e-Book on his batPad. But if you ask him what he’s doing he’ll say “I’m batman, get a free Audible subscription with coupon code B A T M A N” and then off he goes to the latest book club.
So if you run into him ask him about how he reads using this technique.
Understanding of using audio with visual
We have used are sensors -hearing and seeing – for all of our lives. Hearing alone can be very limiting in speed (sound) compared to seeing (light) – but reading and interrupting is even slower then listening.
It is very beneficial to use both sensors hearing and sight to learning something. By combining to censors is eliminates a lot of distractions such as background noise, dogs barking, people speaking, etc. Combining both sensors enhances your reading ability transcendently. Which of your sensors do you think is faster, hearing and seeing (reading and interrupting) -it’s hearing. Keep in mind that your hearing is your primary sensor in this context, reading the book with skimming enhances your ability while listening, allowing your to listen at such a fast speed and still comprehend the information.
There are some techniques and practices I follow for skimming while reading mentioned later in the article.
I used this technique to read How to win friends and influence people a ~250 pages book, in a little over three hours. – you can check out my review I did here. This technique makes reading more enjoyable and easier to do at the same time. It’s the same applied to when watching a movie and listening to an actor speak, having the subtitles enabled allows you to quickly pickup what you missed when the actor said something. Cool, huh?
Let’s discuss some ground rules below.
1.5x Speed rule
This rule should be applied when listening to audio books alone; just the fact that normal speed too slow for your busy life. Listening alone at speed 1.5x or greater can greatly reduce the amount of time you can spend listening to the entire book, resulting in finishing the book quicker. It is important for you note that when listening at a higher speed requires a higher level of concentration dedicated to the reader and often at times you’ll miss track of what the reader is saying, then you’ll need to rewind to catch up again. So for now just stick with 1.5x speed until you’re comfortable of going faster.
2x Speed rule
This rule is good for Super Reading and it’s good to use so when you do miss out words the reader is saying you can quickly pick them back up from skim reading.
When you’re skim reading you’ll often miss words that need to be recovered and it’s easier to concentrate on the task at hand because you’re actively engaging in reading and listening. This is why Super Reading is so useful.
Going above 2x speed; use just like the 1.5x speed rule, you can go faster too but be cautious by doing so, if you find you day dreaming or zoning out quickly I’d advise you not to go any faster as you’ll make less progress.
If you go to fast you’ll get arrested!
The right book
Picking the right books is very important and you should consider the following factors. Ask yourself, do you really need to apply this technique to easier to read books that you can easily just listen to when driving your car or does this book require high concentration on certain factors. Books that are factual but aren’t Technical are ones you should look out for, ones that you do find more difficult with reading will suffice to Super reading technique.
The lean startup for example, the reader illustrates many studies and articles and I found myself having to rewind the track to understand it. A better practice for this particular book would have included reading.
For more difficult material you want to read the better challenge you’ll face when trying this technique. I don’t advise you incorporate Super Reading into your technical books, though you may find it difficult to find such audio book. The more challenging material should maintain full comprehension, so read slower.
The expense of reading this style
Granted buying books can be expensive, sometimes it’s leads us to rent them from a library or book store. Having to buy the audio version with it can be MORE expensive too. So is it really worth it? Well it’s up to you! Ask yourself, can you afford this? Should I do it? Is it really that beneficial?
My recommendation is yes! At least try it. Try it once and see whether you enjoy it or not, you most likely will. It’s an experience you will love and enjoy! If you can afford to read a book or two in this style every month or even every week, go head! The whole idea of super reading is save the time of reading a book.
In the time saved of reading the book you are factoring in two expenses, one money is costs to buy the E-book or hardcover and audio version, two the dedicated time you need to read this book and high level of concentration required. But if you are like me and want to do this every month or few weeks I encourage you to go ahead! You can read an entire book in a day.
How should you read with the book and skimming techniques
Reading efficiency is beyond the scope of this article, although I will include some key factors and some other resources at the end.
There are different ways to approach reading, but how does it apply to this style of reading? How should you actually read?
Super reading allows for reading quickly, yet efficiency comes through practice; but by its nature it is possible to read with great comprehension. Super reading in practice is increasing your speed reading ability while still maintaining great comprehension.
You can check out this article for Reading Effectively and Efficiently
Skimming is the way of letting your eyes roll over the text and absorbing fragments or pieces you pick up; for the pieces that you don’t, the audio has your back. With the technique we can effectively accelerate the reading process, reading at a much greater speed, Super Reading.
There are some technique of skimming just to get your engine started.
- Prime the memory, making it easier to read. Read over a page or two where you left off before you start actually Super Reading. This will make it easier to remember when reading the second time. This will usually get you into gear for reading, let’s call it 1st gear!
- Orients the thinking process, when doing your warm up lap you are shifting between gears getting your tired warm (eyes) and your engine roaring (brain). This part will help you draw a picture of what you are about to Super Read. Gear 3!
- Having concentration, is the last and yet more important factors. Super Reading in itself blocks many distractions you have and allows for better concentration by nature; but that only goes so far by itself. Focusing on the task at hand at setting goals (discussed further down) for yourself can help you tremendously.
When should you read the book alone
When should you just read the book and forget about my discussion on combing audio listening?
The answer is simple, If you can’t find the audio version of the book, it will probably fall into the categories below and the book just will not suffice to be pre-read.
Technical and specialized books, mostly, and books that are to complex of the scope for an audible version. Technical books explain topics, include factors and examples, diagrams or illustrations in them and it wouldn’t make much sense to pre-read them.
Imagine someone reading out all the Java code in Head First Design Pattern. Books like these with difficult material should have comprehension and a long thought process, don’t use speed over understanding.
When should use audio alone
Well when should you listen to the audio alone? If you’re an addict listener like myself you know what’s best. It’s good to pop in your ear buds and catch up where you left off yesterday of Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions and drive for half an hour while covering 50 minutes of the audio book, 10 more trips to work or ‘that place’ and you have finished the book. For you that could be to and from work or school and you easily cover an entire audio book a week. Fancy that!
You should listen set a rule and routine to listen/read at least one session a day. I have found it difficult before when I left the book for more than a day and had to rewind a chapter and start again.
Listening to audio books should be when doing mundane tasks that doesn’t require a lot of thought or concentration, like cleaning, exercising, or anytime that you can swap out music.
Best times of the day to read
There are bests times of the day to do Super Reading and the morning time is best! Why? Well because you haven’t done any strenuous work yet and won’t burn out as easily. Super Reading requires you to be in the zone, have full concentration for better comprehension and have very narrowed focus on the task at hand. The morning can be best suited because you are fresh and very alert. Do what suites you best, you should prioritize your day as needed that suites your liking.
Like all girly-girls you should read in the morning, have your cup of coffee or tea and get down to it!
Reading routine, breaks and goals
How often should you read and how should you apply a routine to do it? The idea of Super Reading is complete an entire book in a single day, if it takes any longer it you have a very big book. You need to understand the size and scope of the book first, how many pages it has, the average amount of words on each page is what should to be considered but not necessary. You can just pick up a book and start reading, but without those measures you’ll find it difficult to. Super Reading will allow you to read a book in very small amount of time.
The routine of reading
When should you read? Given a time of space and the time of day; like I said in the morning is best. You have to have a dedicated time to read. Your book can take preferably one day to complete, but may extend to three. It should be the space of watching The Lord of the Rings movie, which is almost four hours long. Since it could be a day to complete a book, you need to form some reading routine. Knowing what you are reading can be easier to figure out how long you need to read for as discussed in The right book section of this article.
For a detailed guide on how to set a routine, check out my article here
In your day or reading which will take a few hours often lotr time, you need to include breaks for yourself. To keep it simple I have thought of template for you using a KanBan board like KanBanFlow.
- The Pomodoro technique, I have discussed this and included it in many of my blog posts. Simply having sessions of 25 minutes of focus and a 5 minute break. After 3 sessions you get a longer break. This technique is famous for being so effective
- The other way, 45 minute sessions and 10 minute breaks. How does that sound? It’s not as effective as Pomdoro standard timer but you get the jist of a similar routine.
Breaks are very important! Don’t think you don’t need them, as you’ll burn out quicker and become less effective with reading. So be sure to include breaks often, to walk around or move around.
Setting micro goals for reading this book is very important. By setting these goals gives you guidance from what you have done and where you are going; it also helps to see how much further you need to read.
Settings goals is easy to do, with a piece of paper or your favorite KanBan board like KanBanFlow web app,
list all the chapters of the book and time you expect to finish them by as subtasks (micro-goals). Having these goals makes it easier to just plow through a thick book.
Your routine could look something like this. Feel free to adjust my template to your liking and even improve on it too. Mine is very simple.
Throwing this out the window
“Hey! I don’t want to do this, setting goals and routine! Like you said I should try it first.” is something one of you might say. Well this paragraph is here for you. Still understand the size and scope of the book. Don’t choose a book that is enormous, the material is to difficult for your current level and soon after you’re going to hate after an hour or two. Start with something simple.
You should still include breaks and have an idea of when you want to finish. You should always enjoy what you are reading. So pick something you like
Why should you read?
Reading is one of the key factors of learning, other than doing. With the wealth of books and topics to choose from it often takes a very long time to read a single book, at times a year to complete. Books can have many other forms of knowledge, some can provide a guide or introduction to something of greater meaning feather scope and others are just for enjoyment. Either way you should be constantly reading, even if it doesn’t apply to a book or Super Reading in of itself, articles like these are very useful. I’m sure there are some other great articles on the web somewhere you can find 😉
Super Reading concept is not my idea alone and I just call it that. You can search YouTube for “reading 300% faster in X minutes” or some other wacky way to read and a little man will show you how to read. I tried this one out and surprisingly found it works well.
I perfected this concept by setting rules and routines on how to apply them. You are free to adjust and alter them to suite your own liking, like with many of my other articles.
So I encourage you go ahead an at least try this technique of Super Reading at least one and see how you like it. You can email me at email@example.com of your experiences.