Most people learn to read at an early age and level off in their abilities sometime between the 3rd and 6th grade. That is not to say that their vocabulary does not increase, because it does. However, no one looks at particular methods for effective reading much past that point. The volume we read continually increases as we grow, so learning to read more efficiently without sacrificing comprehension is a time-saving, essential skill to develop, no matter how old the student. One particular area to target is visual obstacles. Assuming you have had your vision checked recently, there are still other “eye patterns” that can affect your ability to understand what you read. These include visual regression, deceleration, and scattering to name a few. Simple tricks will take care of these issues and help your reading time to become more productive, profitable, and enjoyable.
Visual regression is reading the same words over and over again in the sentence or paragraph. How many times have you had to read something again? In part, this is because you were not paying attention while you read, and you were not aware of the purpose for your reading. Another reason for this is that your “camera lens” was not pointed and focused. The end result is like a blurred image – you may vaguely remember the subject, but not the content of what you just read. Your eyes were too busy backing up and redoing what you already did while reading, and clearly this wastes your reading time.
Visual deceleration is similar. It occurs when you slow down to read something again because it was more interesting or entertaining, and then you lose your focus on where you were going with the assignment in the first place. Often with visual deceleration, we find something enjoyable, so we stop to read it again, but then our minds wander off into unrelated thoughts. Before we know it, we’ve lost time getting sidetracked and not reading. Getting anything done this way is very difficult.
The final eye pattern worth mentioning is visual scattering. Visual scattering is when your eyes jump all over the page while reading, as if looking for a “fun” place to land. Clearly, this hinders comprehension because you read out of order and in a disjointed fashion missing the author’s sequential presentation of the points. This quenches the passion for any reading assignment in a hurry because you never really “get it” in the first place.
Effective reading is like shining a light on the text or pointing your camera lens towards a specific object. You have to keep your focus clear. So in order to combat visual regression, deceleration, and scattering, you must employ some strategies. Doing this is fairly simple and most people fail to realize how quickly these reading obstacles can be overcome. The easiest trick to avoid these pitfalls is to use your hands while reading. Remember when you were learning to read? You probably used your finger to point out each letter or sound and to keep yourself focused on it. What I am advocating is to bring back your finger or hand and use it to focus the “camera lens” of your eye on the text that you are reading. You may have to get used to that feeling again, but using your hands to point the eye will keep your vision targeting the right text as you read.