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Author Topic: Learning How to Speed Read??  (Read 893 times)

jvan2619

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Learning How to Speed Read??
« on: March 07, 2006, 01:18:43 PM »
I know there have been a lot of threads about how to prep/not prep for 1L, but has anyone considered taking a speed reading class to hone your skills?  Just curious to get your thoughts on if you think they would be beneficial. 

I've been out of school for a few years, so I don't remember the last time I read dense material for academic purposes.

Any thoughts?

Thx

Actual 1L

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2006, 01:31:24 PM »
Law school is not about reading fast.  It is about reading and understanding in an efficient manner.  It's about knowing what is important and what is not important when going through a case.  Learning those things will save you time.  Reading faster would provide minimal/zero advantage to most law students.

redemption

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 01:41:30 PM »
I think the OP meant "speed reading" to include the notion of understanding what one has read. I can't imagine that s/he meant something else; it wouldn't be "reading" otherwise.

Actual 1L

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 01:43:55 PM »
I think the OP meant "speed reading" to include the notion of understanding what one has read. I can't imagine otherwise; it wouldn't be "reading" otherwise.

I know what he meant.  I would just be shocked if you could increase your reading speed significantly while also maintaining or increasing your level of understanding.  Also, most people have to read cases several times to totally understand it.  I just think the effort needed to learn how to speed read could be better spent on figuring out why you're reading a case in the first place.

redemption

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2006, 01:48:08 PM »
I think the OP meant "speed reading" to include the notion of understanding what one has read. I can't imagine otherwise; it wouldn't be "reading" otherwise.

I know what he meant.  I would just be shocked if you could increase your reading speed significantly while also maintaining or increasing your level of understanding.  Also, most people have to read cases several times to totally understand it.  I just think the effort needed to learn how to speed read could be better spent on figuring out why you're reading a case in the first place.

Ok.

To the OP: the best way to dramatically improve your reading proficiency is to read increasingly difficult material over time. No shortcuts, I'm afraid. Only practice accounts for the very great disparities between reading efficiency between people.

jvan2619

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2006, 02:01:53 PM »
I think the OP meant "speed reading" to include the notion of understanding what one has read. I can't imagine otherwise; it wouldn't be "reading" otherwise.

I know what he meant.  I would just be shocked if you could increase your reading speed significantly while also maintaining or increasing your level of understanding.  Also, most people have to read cases several times to totally understand it.  I just think the effort needed to learn how to speed read could be better spent on figuring out why you're reading a case in the first place.

Ok.

To the OP: the best way to dramatically improve your reading proficiency is to read increasingly difficult material over time. No shortcuts, I'm afraid. Only practice accounts for the very great disparities between reading efficiency between people.

Thank you - reading efficently is what I meant.  I should have clarified.  I had heard that learning the ins and outs of speed reading helps you to retain more of what you read rather than having to re-read a lot. 

Any suggestions (other than casebooks) for increasing the difficulty of reading?

wunder

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 08:20:59 PM »
My husband took a speed reading class before law school and increased his reading speed dramatically (I forget what the numbers were, but I was impressed).  He had to take comprehension tests, too, so he wasn't just plowing through without understanding the text.  We were just talking about this the other day and I asked him if he thought it was helpful now that he is getting ready to graduate.  He said that honestly, he wasn't really able to keep up with the speed reading when he got to law school because the vocabulary was so awkward he couldn't use the techniques.  But, he said, the part of the class that did really help were the comprehension strategies, which basically teach you how to read super-actively and also take really good notes.  Take that for what it's worth.

PS - Speed reading is not attained by reading more difficult material, etc.  It is attained by learning to read down a page instead of left-to-right across each line.  I could do it when I was younger (think Grisham novels in twenty minutes or so) and it really worked.  But, I think you can learn it just as easily by yourself as in a class...

upNdown

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 11:34:21 AM »
My husband took a speed reading class before law school and increased his reading speed dramatically (I forget what the numbers were, but I was impressed).  He had to take comprehension tests, too, so he wasn't just plowing through without understanding the text.  We were just talking about this the other day and I asked him if he thought it was helpful now that he is getting ready to graduate.  He said that honestly, he wasn't really able to keep up with the speed reading when he got to law school because the vocabulary was so awkward he couldn't use the techniques.  But, he said, the part of the class that did really help were the comprehension strategies, which basically teach you how to read super-actively and also take really good notes.  Take that for what it's worth.


This makes a lot of sense to me. 

But you can chalk me up as a speed-reading skeptic anyway. 
GPA - 2.095 (It was a long time ago and I wasn't trying.)
LSAT - 161

In - Suffolk, New England School of Law
Out - BC, Northeastern
Pending - Nothing pending . . . now what?

nowayman

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 11:44:42 AM »
Unless you already do this, practice not saying the words in your head as you read them.  In essence, you use a seperate part of your brain to interpret the words, rather than your language and speech center which is tuned to run at a slower rate.  I generally find if I do this I have about a 50-70% initial uptake of information.  If I don't do this, initial information uptake increases but everything takes longer and all that you are learning doing that isn't necessary anyway.

Trying to do this is making my head hurt.  How
Michigan, Class of 2008.5!

sarmstrong806

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Re: Learning How to Speed Read??
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 01:09:19 PM »
I think it would be a good idea to enhance your reading skills if you are a very slow or poor reader, but I don't think that speed reading in the way it is usually presented is a valuable technique for lawschool. I guess it really depends on what kind of course you take or materials you use, but the informerical type stuff seems like it would be counter-productive in lawschool.