Using Technology and Brief Training

For Immediate Reading Improvement


This paper will describe 16 techniques that can be combined instantly with brief training to provide immediate reading improvement for all levels of proficiency and for all ages.

This approach is used to read any Internet text, or chapter, or book currently assigned, or which the student wishes to read.

These 16 techniques are presented simultaneously to the reader as a highly enjoyable experience.

For clarification, these 16 techniques are presented and examined individually here, in the following groups: formatting, pagination, progressive cognitive interval length, accompanied computer voice at adjustable speed, interactive pausing with instant repetition, pacing, and augmentation.

1. Enlarge the text. Most people do not realize that their reading speed is greatly slowed down by not being able to clearly see the letters in a word, or the space between words, or the punctuation marks between punctuation intervals. With small text, mistakes are made, extra time is required for clarification, and reading anxiety increases.

When the font size is increased to at least 36 point font, there is at least four times as much information per letter, and four times as much space between letters and between words.

Small type is just as bad for reading as low lighting, or the lack of a proper eyeglass prescription if you need one. All three conditions will lead to increased errors, and or much slower speed, and increased reading anxiety.

Increasing the font size of words also reduces the number of words on a line of print, which in turn, means less fixations per line.

2. Indent each new paragraph, and separate paragraphs with blank lines. Doing these two things make it very easy to see where paragraphs, titles and subtitles begin.

3. Separate sentences with blank lines. There is a blank line between sentences in a paragraph. There is also a blank line after each semicolon. Thus, punctuation intervals ending in a semicolon are treated like whole sentences.

Having blank lines between sections of text makes reading much easier for several reasons. First, it is much easier to see where an idea begins and ends. Secondly, the chance of confusing letters with the text right above or below drops to zero, as there is no text in the blank line. Third, students are not overwhelmed by too much text at one time.

4. Separate punctuation intervals with blank lines. There is also a blank line between each punctuation interval in a sentence. This is an optional choice.

5. Separate phrases with blank lines. Phrases in a sentence are separated from each other by blank lines. This is also optional.

6. Darken background color. The bright white background color is changed to a darker gray color. Doing this greatly reduces the tendency to fall asleep, and the desire to avoid reading altogether because of eye strain from too much brightness and contrast.

7. Optionally, Center-justify phrases. Doing this enables most text to be read with little or no eye movement, as the length of text on a line is rarely more than two or three words, and center justified.

Eliminating much if not all eye movement greatly reduces the amount of physical work that has to be done to read.  This is true for all readers.

Students with dyslexia or wandering eye issues will find that they make far fewer mistakes, as the number of required fixations per line is reduced to near zero. The more fixations required per line, the more mistakes dyslexic students often make.

In addition, people with macular degeneration do not have to move their eyes as they read. This in turn means that they can keep their blind spot at a fixed position, out of the way of their peripheral vision.

Note: Normally, punctuation intervals and whole sentences and paragraphs are not centered justified. However, an individual can change this setting if desired.

8. The reader can optionally choose to have voice accompaniment as one reads the text. Text is ideally read just ahead of the sound, pausing at the punctuation marks for the sound to catch up. This is a new way to read. The reader quickly realizes that he or she can read much faster by combining voice and text, than by reading by either voice alone or text alone. However, one must learn how to do this, and that is done by reading just ahead of the sound.

9. The reader adjusts the speed at which a section of text is read out loud by the computer voice. At any time, the reader can increase or decrease the speed at which individual words are read out loud. Thus, the reader can immediately adjust for more complicated text like philosophy or law.

10. The reader chooses between increasingly longer and longer cognitive intervals of text to read. These cognitive intervals in order are: a word, a phrase, a punctuation interval, a sentence, or a paragraph. A punctuation interval is defined as all the text from the beginning of the sentence to the first comma or other punctuation mark. The next punctuation interval continues from the next word to the following punctuation mark or period, whichever comes first.

11. Pause sound. The sound pauses at the end of whichever cognitive interval has been chosen. The reader presses a single keystroke, namely the forward arrow key, to proceed to the next cognitive interval.

This technique means that the presentation automatically pauses as soon as the student loses focus and concentration. As soon as the student begins to daydream or fall asleep, he or she will stop pressing the forward arrow key and the presentation will stop, until the reader refocuses.

12. Repeat sound. By pressing a second keystroke, the reader can repeat the current section of text as often as  desired.

13. Adjust controls to match processing speed. By controlling the basic voice speed, and the pause, advance, and repeat keystrokes, the reader can quickly start to read as fast as his or her mind can process print.

14. Provide Pacing. By using the same controls listed just above, the reader can use the voice speed to provide pacing at increasing levels, providing rapid self instruction in advanced reading skills.

Almost every student can use this approach to immediately read text at grade level at normal reading speed, which is the speed at which people talk. Average and good readers can quickly become excellent readers, reading at speeds of 300-550 words per minute, and above.

15. Use earphones. By using earphones, the reader can easily eliminate extraneous random noise, and external human conversation, greatly increasing focus and concentration.

16. Augment presentation. By reading just ahead of the sound, and hearing the sound just behind one's own reading, any errors of vision are instantly corrected, all reading anxiety disappears instantly, and readers are able to gain 100% comprehension by just focusing on a couple of main words in each punctuation interval. This process greatly increases the speed of reading and the depth of thinking about what one is reading.

The intensity of voice and text presentation, and the speed and comprehension of concept is so high and so intense, especially when using earphones, that the student wants immediately to share the concepts just learned.

Reading becomes enjoyable.

Conclusion. In our training, these sixteen techniques are combined with brief instruction to show how to operate the necessary controls, and how to overcome the 18 Bad Reading Habits.

Written by

John Fleming Adams

Proportional Reading


Proportional Reading, 2014

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