All entries for April 2012

April 11, 2012

Speed Reading: Finality

Follow-up to Speed Reading: Reflections from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Han-Na Cha.

Likely I’ll continue with the nonlinearity, or at least try to, as part of the SQ3R thing that was recommended in the memory book.

Unlikely I’ll continue with the reading more slowly – in particular I’m not particularly sure how to read more slowly. I can’t consciously chunk it less, because this kills my understanding, and any slower speed seems to involve smaller chunks. I’ve come to reading a sentence, then trying to recite it to make sure I actually remembered it. This isn’t actually ‘reading slower’ but it’s close enough, I feel, to the original intent. This was a point that seemed like there should be an obvious way of doing it (surely it should be easier to read slowly instead of quickly?); but I can’t get it to work reasonably. I’ve developed a system that’s worked fairly well so far, and it comes easily to me, so I think I’ll stick with it until circumstances prove me wrong.

Reading symbols is part of doing mathematics so that’s not something I can ignore :D

Hmm, I put most (read: all) of my “aha!” moments for the extant action points into last week’s post..time for some other miscellaneous commentary.

I still feel it’s too easy to let my attention drift away from what I’m reading. On the plus side, I no longer wake up and realise I have no idea where I am – I just stop, dead. I found a few ways of getting around that. The first was timing myself, and reading for a fixed length of time, which I thought worked well until I found out I was somehow getting less done in a greater length of time than before timing. It did, however, get me to stop taking absurdly long breaks (the enjoyment returns are strictly diminishing after, say, 20 minutes off).

The other way was to give up on reading and try reciting what came before. If I can’t remember, that’s a hint to go back :). Otherwise it’ll improve retention without risk of boring further.


April 06, 2012

Speed Reading: Reflections

Follow-up to Speed Reading: Taking care, moving backwards, slowing down… from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Han-Na Cha.

Before we start: results on how much I comprehended or how well I remembered were likely contaminated by memory training I was doing at the same time. Good thing these results weren’t supposed to be formal or anything, and indeed had no way of properly being measured!

The best thing from the sessions was probably just a realization of the state of affairs (I read quickly) and a formalization of the effects of things I do (why they’re beneficial, why they aren’t) and that the (obvious in retrospect) answer to the question “how do I get better at X” is “do X a lot”.

On the not so well side, reading non-linearly seems to increase the risk of reading over material you’ve already read, especially if you’re able to do impressive things like forget section headers soon after you read them (which happened almost inevitably without some recitation).

TODO differently: Put the memory techniques into the program itself, as opposed to a “hey it would be cool if I did this” item that only comes up when I remember to do it. Comprehending stuff is easier if you can remember what came before :P

On the other not-so-well side — slowing down is hard, because by nature I don’t do it. It’s like improving my handwriting, or that “fingers on home row” typing, because my natural typing involves my hands moving all over the place, and my natural handwriting is a spider’s crawl — it’s just not natural for me, so I fall back into habits as soon as I stop thinking about it and sometimes even while thinking about it, because the behaviour is instinctual, in the same way that my fingers have a habit of hitting ‘n’ between ‘ght’ and ‘ing’ so the outcome is fightning.


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