The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading (2008)

Appendix A. Glossary

accelerated learning A teaching approach designed to make learning happen faster.

acquisition The ability to come into possession of a skill or knowledge.

aggregator A program that watches for new content at user-specified RSS feeds.

auto-summarize A feature available on some word processing programs that allows you to create an executive-type summary of a longer document.

background knowledge The accumulation of knowledge gained through personal experiences, either informal or formal. The trips you take, the people you talk to, the teachers you learn from all contribute to your background knowledge. In your day-to-day life, and especially when you read, you are constantly learning new things, creating more background knowledge.

back-skipping When your eyes go back over words they already read. Done in excess, it can hinder reading speed and comprehension.

Blank Card Method A reading pacer method where the reader uses a blank white card placed above the line to force the reader to concentrate and focus while reducing back-skipping.

blog Shortened from web log, a blog is a journal-type series of entries posted online.

blog post One entry of a blog.

blogger Someone who adds or edits a blog post.

building bridges of knowledge Applying some new piece of information to what you already know.

Center Pointer Pull A reading pacer method where you place the index finger of either hand in the center of the reading material. You read moving the finger down the center of the column and moving your eyes from left to right.

cheat reading A reading strategy where you look for and read primarily the writer’s outline.

comprehension The process of understanding what you read; the brain’s role in the reading process.

Cursor as pacer An on-screen pacer method of using your cursor to underline the centerof the lines.

daydreaming A spontaneous mental fantasy—while awake—about whimsical thoughts connected to some emotion, typically for a short period of time. It is frequently caused by not paying attention and may or may not be related to what is going on around you.

discomfort zone The uneasy feeling you get when you try something new. Most new speed readers feel it the first time they try to read fast and discover an issue with comprehension.

Double Pointer Pull A reading pacer method where you place the left pointer finger on the left margin of text and your right pointer finger on the right margin of text. Then move your fingers straight down the text moving your eyes across each line reading from fingertip to fingertip.

e-book A book that is produced in digital format. E-books can be ordered online with no shipping, no taxes—many times for free—and delivered electronically to your computer. Many e-books are now available on audio CD or as MP3 files you can download to an iPod or MP3 player.

e-book reader A device used to store and read e-books. It may be a device specifically designed for that purpose, or one intended for other purposes as well, like the PDA (personal digital assistant). Some devices, like the Sony Reader Digital Book, can hold upward of 160 books!

ergonomics The science of workplace design factors that maximize productivity and minimize a worker’s fatigue and discomfort.

eye jump See saccade.

eye stop See fixation.

e-zine An electronically published magazine (or newsletter), especially on the Internet.

fiction Literary works whose content is produced by the imagination and are not necessarily based on fact, such as novels and short stories. Books can be either fiction or nonfiction.

fixation A coordinated positioning and focusing of both eyes on a word. Also called an eye stop.

font A family of digital lettering and characters.

Forgetting Curve Discovered by Ebbinghaus, it shows that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material.

hemisphericity A brain theory discovered by Roger Sperry that in the two sides of the brain (right and left), one is more dominant.

highlighting pacer An on-screen pacer where you “highlight” each line of text as your eyes read.

keeper A new idea, typically some piece of information, you want to “keep” and remember. Keepers should always be written down, looked at again, and/or used for future reference.

key words Words that are typically three letters long or longer and carry the most meaning of a sentence.

LATCH system A five-part system for organizing files, both paper and electronic.

Left Pointer Pull A reading pacer method where you place the index finger of either hand along the left margin of the reading material. You read moving the finger down the left margin and moving your eyes from left to right.

Line-by-Line Pacers Two on-screen pacer methods where you use the upper or lower straight-edge of the screen to help you keep your place and read faster.

Long-Smooth Underline A reading pacer method where you move your three middle fingers under the lines of text moving across from one margin to the other.

memory The ability of the mind to retain learned information and knowledge of past events and experiences coupled with the ability to retrieve that information and knowledge. Short-term memory ranges from 5 to 8 seconds to a day or two. Long-term memory comprises our background knowledge.

mental whispering See subvocalization.

mind map A hand-drawn diagram used to represent the ideas in a reading and arranged around a central topic. It is used to visually see a writing’s structure and serves as a study aid.

narrow eye span Reading word for word, seeing and processing just one word at a time. See also wide eye span.

nonfiction Writing that gives facts and provides information, such as a newspaper or magazine. Most business reading is considered nonfiction. Books can be either fiction or nonfiction.

Open Hand Wiggle A reading pacer method where you lay your hand on top of the reading material and slowly pull it down using a wiggle movement down the page.

organizational pattern The author’s plan of action for getting his or her thoughts across. If you can identify it in your reading, you will be able to anticipate the order in which the material will be presented.

pacer A card or even your hands used to mark the line you’re reading. A visual guide provided by your fingers, whole hand, or a card to move your eyes down and across the lines of text with the results of increased concentration and faster reading speeds.

portable document format (PDF) An electronic document format that’s different from other documents because it allows a certain amount of versatility while retaining the original document formatting.

peripheral vision What your eyes see outside the central area of focus. You can widen your central area of focus because of your peripheral vision.

phonics A method of reading that breaks language down into its simplest phonetic components. Children learn the sounds of individual letters first, then the sounds of letters in combination and in simple words. Some know this method as the “look and say” method of reading.

podcast A web-based audio broadcast via an RSS feed, accessed by subscription over the Internet.

Point-to-Point A reading pacer method where you use your pointer and pinky to alternately point to text on the line, one finger about ⅓ in and the other about ⅓ from the end of the line.

reading speed The rate at which your eyes and brain decode and understand words. Word-for-word readers have a slower reading speed than those who read more than one word at a time.

regression When your eyes go back over words they’ve already read. See also back-skipping.

retention Your ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced.

retrieval Your ability to bring stored information into consciousness. It’s like a (search and) recovery mission for your brain.

Right Pointer Pull A reading pacer method where you place the index finger of either hand along the right margin of the reading material. You read moving the finger down the right margin and moving your eyes from left to right.

RSS (real simple syndication) feed A quick way to get updates, headlines, or even full articles culled from the web and delivered to your computer.

S Pattern A reading pacer method where you pull your pointer finger down the page in an S curve through the text.

saccade The series of small, jerky movements the eyes make when changing focus from one point to another. Also called an eye jump.

sans serif A font that does not have little lines or tails as part of the letters. Sans serif fonts include Arial, Helvetica, and Geneva. See also serif.

scanning When you are looking for specific information.

scrolling pacer An on-screen pacer method where you use the scroll wheel on a computer mouse to advance the text while reading.

serif A font that has little lines or tails as part of the letters. Serif fonts include Times Roman, Courier, and Palatino. See also sans serif.

Short-Smooth Underline A reading pacer method where you move your three middle fingers under the lines of text starting about ¼ the way into the line and stopping your fingers before the last ¼ of the line.

sight vocabulary The ability to see a word and immediately understand what it is and what it means.

signal word A reading road sign; it indicates where you are or where you are headed. Signal words are conjunctions or words that join phrases, sentences, or paragraphs.

skimming When you are looking for general or main ideas.

skipping Deciding not to read something or skipping it.

speed looking The name for what you are doing when you read quickly to the bottom of a page and have no idea what you just read. It does not complete the act of reading because your brain wasn’t engaged.

speed reading A series of active, mindful, and conscious reading strategies that enable readers to read efficiently and effectively.

study reading Anything you read and learn from that you need or want to use later on. (For students it’s usually for tests and papers. For business people, it’s typically for sharing at meetings, writing reports and giving presentations. Some people just like to learn new things so they spend time study reading what they are interested in.)

subvocalization The learned habit of reading word for word, either mentally or physically. This is also sometimes referred to as mental whispering. It can also mean you are either moving your lips while you read in an attempt to say the words you are reading, or mentally whispering every word you read inside your head.

technical material Writing that includes vocabulary specific to a particular field, profession, or trade.

tellback A verbal or written summary of something you read.

thought chunking A reading strategy in which you learn to look for the groups of words that form thoughts in a sentence.

topic sentence The first sentence of a paragraph that contains the main idea.

Vulcan A reading pacer method where you use your index finger and pinky finger to frame the line of text and pull your eyes down the page.

wide eye span Reading more than one word at a time. Faster readers pick up more words in an eye stop than slower readers do. See also narrow eye span.

words per minute (WPM) The average number of words you read in one minute’s time.

XML (extensible markup language) Another way to read an RSS feed.

Z Pattern A reading pacer method where you pull your pointer finger down the page in a Z pattern across and down through the text.