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21 Sep 2019, Edition - 1530, Saturday

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Debunking reading and comprehension myths

Indrani Thakurata

Bengaluru: Reading is not just an activity; it is a skill which is an integral part of everyone’s educational and professional path. Parents and teachers emphasise on slow reading for better retention. For the longest time, we have been told, during exams and in reading classes, to go slow and absorb words. But when a Buzan Advanced Licenced Instructor and World Speed Reading Champion says on the contrary, we need to listen. Jas Johari, the brain trainer debunks the 5 myths related to reading and comprehension.

Myth 1: By reading slowly one can concentrate better: The kids of our generation encounter much more information in the form of texts and visuals than previous generations. Why should one take in only a few words, when the brain can absorb larger chunks of text? The truth is, while reading slowly, the reader tends to end up spending more time in thinking and comprehending the situation and ends up losing on the information absorbed in the earlier paragraphs of books/theory.

Myth 2: Comprehension and understanding comes from reading slowly: While going through their text books, students often tend to read all the words and sentences very slowly as they think it is the way to learn, understand and comprehend. But at the same time, when one is given a novel to read, one tends to read it at a faster pace and still understands what the story is all about.

Myth 3: Reading slowly will enhance the memory and retention: Memory and reading slowly are not at all connected. When one reads slowly, it is difficult to concentrate and chances are that the readers will go into day dreaming.

Myth 4: Everyone reads at a natural reading speed: According to many, reading is a skill that a human being is born with. According to them, speed reading or reading slowly comes to them naturally. But scientifically, it is proven that reading comes from learning. Reading skills may differ from person to person.

Myth 5: It is impossible to read beyond 1,000 words per minute: Speed readers read up to 3,500 words per minute, and some even beyond that. An average person read around 200-400 per minute and this limit can be increased by regular speed reading

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