Learn to read words groups and reduce eye fixation
Reading chunks of words is the most advanced of the three essential reading improvement techniques. This method can be easily combined with hand pacing and previewing techniques and aims to reach reading speeds of 750-1,000 words per minute.
Applying this technique will allow you to process bigger chunks of words rather than single words only. It was successfully used by many great scholars, writers and philosophers’. Anyone can learn and utilize this technique.
This post will help you understand and implement the technique. I will also supply resources and materials to practice either online and offline.
- Learn how to practice word hopping
- Learn how to extend your eye vision
- Implement the technique in your everyday reading
- Use carefully designed instructions, programs, tips and assignments
Benefits of Reading Chunks of Words
If you think of your school days you might recall to being taught to recognize the whole word rather than each single letter that make up the word. Why? Compared to words a single letter does not carry a meaning. I also remember that I tried to recognize every single word and after subvocalizing it I would move to the next word to finally understand the meaning of the sentence.
What I did not understand was that single words also can barely communicate an idea which is easier to communicate with three or more words or often within a whole sentence.
In school I should therefore have learnt to recognize clusters or whole sentences rather than single words. The image below will show why.
In this case only the complete phrase delivers the correct message.
Using this knowledge, I therefore decided to swap the ‘single’ with a ‘multiple’ word reading approach. Practicing certain hopping techniques and extending my eye vision were keys to remember whole phrases and sentences. The benefit is clear: The “word group” method not only helps in increasing reading speed but also increases vocabulary and comprehension. Winston Churchill is said to finish reading books in a short period of time; he could go through paragraphs in seconds and comprehend them.
- Visualization of material is easier.
- Effectively collaborates with previewing and hand pacing techniques.
- Helps reducing sub-vocalization.
- Evades hopping back during reading.
- Understand the basic idea at a glance.
How to read groups of words
Learning to read chunks of words is all about training in which you will practice to
- extend your eye vision
- reduce eye fixation stops
- focus on nouns and verbs
- ignore filler words
- reduce bad reading habits
- combine multiple reading strategies
I used Ron Cole’s Alchemy Training Method. Ron Cole’s literature and free materials on the subject is considered to be one the best. He’s also the author of “How to be a super reader”. I read his book and practiced with the free eye-hopping material you can find below.
There are also applications and speed reading software for desktops, tablets or smartphones available on which you can practice group reading. It really depends if you prefer learning with paper or digital resources.
- Download ready-to-go PDFs for 2, 3, 4 and 5 word trainings
- Use this tool to create sheets with your own material
- Apps such as Spreeder, Velocity, Spritz do offer eye hopping trainings as well
Rule of thumb
As a beginner you may start from a few words, practice a week or until comfortable and then jump to the next level.
- Beginner levels start from two words
- Medium level is three to four words
- Advanced level is five words and above
I recommend to commit to a training plan. A session of 10-15 minutes a day will really improve your ability to recognize multiple words simultaneously.
Start with 2 words. This is the perfect level to stimulate your brain to process a larger number of words per minute. Don’t rush or skip a skill level.
Use a pointer or your index finger to jump from one group to the other. Try increasing speed for better stimulation and slow down to keep up with comprehension.
Tip: I use to focus on the space between the words to recognize them all.
Limit your exercises to about 15 minutes because your eye muscles will need a rest, particularly at the beginning.
Note: You might be pronouncing words in your brain while exercising. Don’t worry. Subvocalization is a common bad reading habit. You will be able to reduce it successfully by progressing to 5 words.
Tip: After mastering four words you can try the Zig Zag hand pacing method. Go down the page in a Zig Zag motion and jump to a different word group. You goal would be to skip filler words and get right to the central idea. Try to recognize a logical group before landing.
I hope this article will help to get you started. Please contact me for questions or share the article on Facebook or Twitter.
Photo credit: FlickR Creative Commons 3.0 | Procilas