You may not be aware of it but as you read silently, you can hear a voice inside your head. This phenomenon is known as “inner speech”. It is “inner speech” that is directly responsible for limiting the speed at which you read.
At school we learn to read by saying the words aloud, and then, when our proficiency is sufficiently good, the teacher asks us to close our mouths while reading. At this point our voice gets trapped inside our head and there is nobody there to tell us that it is possible and more efficient, to read without this “inner speech”.
The Right Hemisphere of the Brain, The New Frontier to be Explored
It is well known that our brain is split into two hemispheres, the left hemisphere is related to “Academic Activities” and the right hemisphere is related to “Creative or Artistic Activities”. Each hemisphere has completely different but complementary functions. It was discovered that the right hemisphere is not only capable of reading but that it can do it much more efficiently than the left hemisphere. When the right hemisphere is in control words do not present themselves in a phonetic way but like icons, which have immediate meaning and are not attached to the sound it represents in our minds.
Using the right hemisphere, information will transcend the words becoming more consistent and clear, linking all the parts of the narrative faster and giving a more holistic interpretation to the text being read. Your focus will be far superior and you will be able to read in less than half the usual time without missing anything. In fact visual images will start to multiply in your mind’s eye.
Once you learn how to use this new mental resource, you will be ready to develop your memory. You can use the right hemisphere to build Mind Maps – virtual structures that can depict a blueprint of your mind. The left hemisphere deals with words and the right with more abstract ideas, so images, feelings and sensations can be created out of words more easily if you can connect with your “creative” right hemisphere.
Comprehension is a Matter of Focus
Lack of focus essentially occurs because you are under using your brain. Your mind naturally processes information at a very high speed but the presence of “inner speech” means that you read at a much lower speed. As a result your mind is not drawn into the text and starts to disengage and drift away. The fact is that reading faster will draw your mind and thoughts into the text and as a direct result your focus and comprehension will automatically increase.