THE MECHANICS OF READING


Skillful reading requires:

A minimum number of fixations to the line of type.

Wide eye span which encompass phrases and thought sequence rather than isolated words.

A complete absence of lip movements and vocalization.

Infrequent regressions.


Eye Movements:

Move the eyes consistently forward, regularly, and rhythmically-- pick up groups of words rather than isolated words.

Practice quick and rhythmic return from the end of the line to the beginning of the next.

Practice looking down quickly at a line of print, lifting your eyes, and checking to see how many words you saw in this fixation. Do this until you are actually aware of a broadened span.

Cover the print of a single line with a plain white card. By moving the card downward, expose the line, cover it up, expose it, cover it up, etc. Do this until you are aware of seeing more words at a glance.

Practice reading a column of newsprint, restricting yourself to only two fixations per line.

Keep in mind that the length of fixation and span is determined by the type of material you are reading.

Watch for signs of fatigue: twitching muscles, burning sensations in the eyelids, fading, or blurring of print. Look away from your reading often and give momentary rest to your eyes.


Vocalization
:

Place the forefinger on your lips and your thumb and other fingers on your larynx.

Practice reading with your mouth tightly closed; attempt to restrict movement of the larynx, tongue, and lips.

Check to see whether you are actually "hearing" words as you read; this is another form of vocalization which can be eliminated only through determination to use only your eyes and the meaning centers of your brain.


Regressions
:

Regressions often occur because you are attempting to take such long spans that you miss essential words and relationships. If this is noticeable in your reading, shorten the span.

Practice covering all of the material which you have just read with a plain card. This will not permit you to regress and will force you to concentrate on essential words and essential relationships in the sentence or paragraph.

Read so fast, in easy materials, that there is no time for regressions.

Recognize the fact, at all times, that some regression is necessary to establish relationships within the selection which you are reading.

HABITS OF A LIFETIME ARE NOT EASY TO ELIMINATE. THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SKILLS IS OFTEN PAINFUL AND REQUIRES CONSTANT ATTENTION, DETERMINATION, AND FREQUENT PRACTICE.

Practice!
Practice!
Practice!

College Reading Skills Program.

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