(This is the second in a series of 5 posts on the keys to supersonic reading – reading at speeds above 600wpm)
If we were in a conversation with each other I might say to you, “Can you imagine a pink elephant?” Immediately in your mind you would probably picture this unrealistic image of a large mammal with big drooping ears, but colored pink rather than grey. Your mind fills in all the details.
How does this apply to reading fast you ask?
When you read nearly anything most often you already know 90% of the printed words and do not have to say them in your mind. However, the “saying in the mind,” which is referred to as subvocalization, is a habit that stems way back to your beginning days of reading. Your reading mentors had you read individual words before you even read one book. As you progressed you continued to read aloud for quite some time.
At some point in your reading development you were told to read silently. If you asked what that meant, you were probably told to read “to yourself, inside your head.” Then, instead of sounding the words aloud, you merely said them inside your mind. You still decoded the print using a 4-step process: you saw the words, you said the words inside your head, you then heard the words, and finally you understood them.
As an adult reader, you may not say the words aloud, but there are many adults still lip synching as they read. Perhaps you are one of them. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t lip synch. However the 4-step process is still happening. Unless your speeds are over 600 wpm, you are still doing some subvocalization.
Subvocalization is how you feel assured of comprehending. The “saying and hearing” give you confidence and assurance. But that assurance is false assurance because our mind has an incredible ability to visualize words we know. The auditory reassurance that subvocalization provides is not necessary.
“Visual Reassurance” is what readers who read at speeds above the 600 wpm threshold and into the thousands of wpm use. It is one of the keys of “supersonic reading.”
A quick example of visual reassurance is to think of driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood. If you see a red octagonal sign, you don’t sound the word on the sign in your head, do you? Or, do you immediately apply the brakes?
Visual Reassurance can be developed with some practice. It requires a combination of brain stretching exercises, reading exercises, and replacing your word by word linear approach to comprehension to a different path of perceiving and thinking which begins by preparing your mind for reading. All of these developmental tools are part of what you can learn in the Dynamic Reading methodologies.