Previewing For Comprehension
One common myth is that one must read everything they encounter in strict sequential order. With the exception of fiction, most informational text should not be ready from beginning to end.
When reading most informational material (blogs, non-fiction, textbooks, work related material, etc.), we can unburden ourselves from strict sequence and leverage reading things out of order to help improve comprehension.
To begin this strategy, first determine how much you plan on reading or how much information you wish to cover. After you have blocked out a section of time to focus (see ”Purpose Driven Reading”), immediately proceed to read any type of introductions at the beginning of the material. This could be the first paragraph in an article or a few paragraphs or “objectives” in a longer chapter. Sometimes the first few paragraphs will prove sufficient if there is no clearly specified introduction.
After reading the introduction to your material, skip ahead and read the conclusion (or the last paragraph or section of the chapter). Depending on your purpose, you may want to take some notes after reading the introduction and conclusion to the material.
By reading the beginning and end of the material, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of what you are about to read. Because you now have the big picture in mind, you’ll be more attentive to all of the details. This “previewing” strategy is also a great way to keep your focus throughout your reading material especially throughout dry, dense, and technical material.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.