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Breakthrough Rapid Reading Revised Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Kump uses familiar reading exercises, and variations on them. The lessons are brief, and each lesson contains short (10-15 minutes) exercises; at the end of each lesson, you are instructed to do a series of drills. Kump wants you to spend about a week on each series of drills, and to repeat them every day. They can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more a day, depending on how much time you are willing to spend. I've found most--but not all--drills useful. The ones that were not useful to me drilled on skills I already had (recognizing levels of specificity within paragraphs, for instance).
Here's an example of one particularly useful drill. Kump has you read for 2 minutes, as fast as you can with comprehension. Then you read the same material again, trying to read a little faster, and a little further, in the same amount of time. And again. You do this four times. A variation of this is to read for 1 minute, then a little faster for another minute, and then to "practice read" (i.e., move your eyes quickly across the words, without worrying about comprehension) twice the longest passage in the same amount of time. Then you practice read three times the original (that is, the longest of the first two 1-minute drills) in one minute.
One REALLY nice thing about this book is that Kump has you use your own reading material, your own books. Other books include selections for you to practice with, most of which are tedious, simplistic, or just too brief. Kump's exercises work, and you can read your own books while you practice.
I found that even without the background I already had in the methods that Evelyn Wood teaches, the Peter Kump book is excellent and stands on its own. The exercises are explained thoroughly and not only does he teach rapid reading but also teaches comprehension techniques as well.
I was able to triple my speed in a matter of hours. With diligence I should be to able to increase my speed 5-fold,maybe 10-fold. The only other thing the reader should have is a timer or stop watch to help time oneself during the exercises.
On the bad side, I had trouble staying at the chapter per day pace, given a job, working on my Master's, and trying to spend time with my family. Still, I practiced, kept up with the new techniques, and continued to improve. Even though I left off just after I learned how to read at diagonals, it's stuck with me and been the best expenditure of time I've made.
I can't believe this isn't taught in school; it would've made college a completely different experience for me.
It's hard to call what this book teaches "rapid reading." That phrase makes it sound exotic and unreachable. I truly believe after reading this that everyday people can learn to read at 1000+ words per minute with excellent retention.
I first read this as a 20-year-old college student. With it, I learned to clock my reading rate at 350 words-per-minute. Like most people, I read from left-to-right in "rows of corn," sub-vocalizing. Although extremely bright, I never really could enjoy extensive reading. Doing it for school was a chore.
I tried all sorts of methods for taking notes on books. I tried a tape recorder. I tried writing in the margins. I tried post-it-notes. I tried marking page sections and writing notes longhand in a separate notebook. I tried typing at my computer as I read. I'd end up with sometimes dozens of pages of notes and outlines yet not feel like I could discuss the text fluently.
This book teaches how to process text differently. Now, I relax my eyes and ideas simply flow from the words. A page in a book is no longer like a step ladder or rows of corn -- but it is like a sculpture. As a pianist, I can say that reading text for me has become like reading music. Just as I can see a sheet of music and gain an idea of the song, I can look at a written page and see ideas. Every author has a rhythm and style.
After extensive and sometimes frustrating practice, based on techniques in this book, my understanding of text has completely changed. I am much more able to understand an author's central themes. Whereas before it seemed I could only think on a scale of words and sentences, now I can easily think on a scale of sections and chapters. I have much better judgement in taking notes and feel able to discuss books that I read much more fluently. Books that might have taken me 15 hours to read before now comfortably take 3 or 4.
I am now able to actually enjoy reading fiction. It's more like listening to a new peice of music now than forcing myself to plow through a haystack of text line-by-line and inch-by-inch. Literacy education truly needs to incorporate methods of visual reading. My only regret about this book was that I realized I hadn't been fully taught to read before!