Speed Reading Techniques: Reducing Regression Exercises

In this chapter, you will learn about other pointers and pacers you can use while you are reading.  Although the finger pointer that was discussed in the last chapter is the best pointer and the most recommended one to use, you may find one of the other pointers to work better for you.

The Pencil Pointer

The first pointer is also one of the most known methods to reduce regression. As you are reading, use a pencil (a highlighter will also work) to guide your focus. For example, as you are reading a sentence, place the tip of the pencil below the word that you are reading while moving the pencil at a steady place to match your reading speed. Your goal is not to underline the words that you have read. Your goal is to pace yourself with a pencil by reading the words above it. The major advantage of this pointer method is that you can highlight or underline a portion of the sentence that you find useful. This can prove to be an excellent study habit is mastered.

Exercise #1
Your goal in this exercise is to read for about 15 minutes using the pencil pointer method. As you are reading, glide the pencil just below the word you are reading. When you reach the end of each line, simply move your pencil to the beginning of the next line and repeat this process for a total of 15 minutes.

The Hand Pointer

This pointer is very similar to using a pencil as a pointer. This technique requires you to use your hand as you are reading (instead of a pencil). To begin lay your hand flat below the sentence you wish to read, with your middle finger slightly below the word you are reading. As you are reading, glide your hand across the page, with your middle finger serving as a pointer. By using your hand as a pointer you can guide yourself to read more than one word at a time since the pointer covers more than one word. You can use this method to practice and improve your range of focus.

Alternative Hand Pointer

Instead of using your middle finger as a pointer, you can use all of your fingers as a pointer. To perform this variation, you need to lay your hand on the surface of the book. At this point, instead of keeping your hand flat on the book, pull your middle finger and ring finger so that all four of your fingers (excluding your thumb) are at the same level. Your hand should serve as a pointer. Although this method requires all four of your fingers to be at the same level, your middle finger should still guide your focus as you are reading. The main advantage of this method is that it provides a greater range of view as you are reading. For example, you can space your fingers while keeping them straight to reflect your range of focus. For instance, if your range of focus is small—Group 1 or Group 2—you need to keep the spacing between your fingers minimal. Therefore, try to read the words that are covered by the placement of your fingers. This method will help you to see words as a group rather than individually. Hence, try not to move your eyes while you are reading this group of words, but rather see the group as one object. This method is excellent for increasing your range of focus.

As you are reading, smoothly glide your hand below the words that you are reading. Make sure your middle finger is directly in the middle of what you are reading. You can use either the regular hand pointer or the alternative method. Remember to read at your normal reading pace while gliding your hand as you read. It is important to keep your hands relaxed because it allows for faster movement as you read.

Exercise #1:
In this exercise you will practice the normal hand pointer method to read for the next 20 minutes. Your objective is to read the words on top of your hand pointer at your current range of focus. Remember to keep your eyes focused on top of the hand pointer. More importantly, you should always give your eyes rest while reading. This includes blinking your eyes when you feel that your eyes are getting weaker. It is also recommended that you rest for several moments by looking at a distant object for several seconds. This will help keep you focused and greatly reduces regression that results from faulty eye movement.

Exercise #2:
In this exercise you will be practicing the alternative hand pointer method. You goal is to read the next two pages using this method. It is very important that you read the words in groups when using any pointer method because it greatly increases your reading speed. This pointer method is optimum for reducing word-by-word reading, vocalization, and regression. As you are moving your hand across the line, you are reducing the effects of vocalization because you have focused yourself on both—moving your hand and read simultaneously.

You should practice the above exercises several times for the next week. You must practice these methods consistently and experiment with them to find out with formation is best for you. It is highly important that you make these methods your own and use them every time you want to speed read. Thus, you have to very comfortable with the movement of your hand and your reading speed. This is one of the most important reading techniques that help to boost the reading speed and comprehension of many people. It is recommended that you master these methods before continuing this guide. Moreover, at this point you should be using the timing sheets and the evaluation sheets at the end of the guide to help you track your progress.