Reading for Speed and Retention
1) Make the environment more diversity friendly. Ask yourself what needs to happen for my focus and attention to be better and download information into memory? Do you need a quiet space, headphones or music? Does your phone and email need to be off?
2) How do I make the document friendlier? You can change the font, size and colour (i.e. Tahoma 12 in leaf green,) use reading/screen filters and change the spacing to 1.5 lines. Would you benefit from changing the speed of the voice in your text reader? Would you prefer the voice to be faster or slower?
3) Set an outcome for the overall reading of the text i.e. to find out the relevance of this to me and my work. When you have decided on this, speak the outcome to yourself or dictate this or make a voice recording.
4) Set specific outcomes/questions and assign them a colour code. If you are reading paper documents, you may want to use an appropriately coloured post it note i.e. write the question you are going to highlight in Green on the green post it note.
If you find it easier to do so, begin to answer these questions in a summary.
Remember to use your spoken voice to activate sound and meaning quicker. Talk yourself through the questions.
5) Read the text once, skimming it for key words that relate to your outcomes/questions. This is so that you can have a broad understanding of the text and know where the information you need to read may be positioned. Stop each time you spot the key word(s). If you can remember that much, look for two words. Scanning for two words can make the text more interesting and easier to remember. Consider here reading aloud in your own voice or using the screen reader. If you are reading on the train, you may first be able to make an audio file of your document and download it to your voice recorder. If you have difficulty with skimming or creating questions; look for the document headings. You may be able to discard anything that doesn’t apply to you.
6) Read the text for purpose, highlighting the text which answers the specific questions. Make notes next to the point referring to its use i.e. use this for referral to other agencies. Making notes, possibly with the spoken voice, helps you to engage with and understand the text better.
7)Repeat step six until all the questions are answered.
8) Organise this information into a structure which will make it easier to locate e.g. email in a treatment referrals folder. You may want to mind map/sketch out this information. You may also benefit from speaking this through with someone else.
If you have Dragon Naturally Speaking, you can use this to dictate a summary of what you have learned.
Summarise the text, by using your answers to your questions. Create a bullet point summary or a mind map, or use your own spoken voice to create a summary.
You could talk yourself through the answers to the questions and make a recording on your digital voice recorder or other device.