Improve Your Personal and Professional Performance by Richard Sutz

Richard SutzTHIS ARTICLE IS A MUST-READ! If you’ve ever felt over-whelmed by information over-load you’ll want to take the time to check this out. Although improving your personal and professional performance may seem a bit general, you’ll have to admit it makes sense, doesn’t it? Any improvement in your performance will make you feel better, do better and serve others better. All of that equates to more happiness and success. Now, what area could you improve in that would make the biggest impact? My suggestion is something more fundamental that will contribute to your overall success in life. Consider this example: You’ve just been handed a brochure and manual for your company’s newest, most innovative product ever. How do you feel? If you’re elated by the prospect of offering this wonderful product, great! NULL

If you’re like most salespeople, though, you’re probably feeling excited about the future prospects yet, overwhelmed by the necessity to read everything in order to understand the benefits this product offers.

Unfortunately, “overwhelmed” is the feeling most adults in the business world have when asked about reading material. It doesn’t matter if it’s a newsletter, magazine, or the latest marketing idea that could help them earn twice what they did last year. When people are faced with hundreds of daily email messages related to business and personal relationships on top of everything else they must review, reading can become a burden—a heavy weight that wears you down and wears you out. It’s not that you don’t want to be informed, but information overload causes stress and can lead to depression. If you’ve ever felt you couldn’t deal with all the material you need to read, it’s probably founded on something that you learned way back in elementary school—how to read. In first, second, and third grade, you’re taught to read word-by-word, out loud. Those who have mastered this phase (most of us have done so) are considered to be Fluent Oral Readers. However, after about third grade, we all enter a world of “silent reading” where all reading is done silently. If you apply Oral Reading Skills in a Silent Reading World, i.e., reading one word at a time with each eye fixation and vocalizing each word as they are read, you are condemned to be a poor reader the rest of your life…

and most people are poor readers because Silent Reading Skills are not taught in America’s reading curriculums.

Silent Reading Skill is the opposite of Oral Reading Skills.

  • Oral Reading is seeing and saying one word at a time out loud with each eye fixation.
  • Silent Reading is seeing, reading and processing more than one word at a time with each eye fixation, without vocalizing.

Think about it, after third grade did you really work on your reading skills in any way, shape or form? No, because formal reading education stops after the third grade. Once you entered fourth grade, you were told to read silently in class. Looking around a room full of kids you wouldn’t hear much, but you would see fingers pointing to words, lips moving to silently work out what the words might be, and heads turning left and right across the page. They are still using Oral Reading Skills to read silently. In order to improve your reading skill, you need to learn to see more than one word at a time and stop vocalizing words (even if it’s silently in your head). Reading one word at a time allows you to achieve a certain pace, not unlike a horse walking down the street. Clip-clop, Clip-clop. However, kick that horse into a trot or full gallop and you’ll reach your destination in half the time or even less and become much more invigorated by the journey you’ve just taken than had you continued clip-clopping along. So, how do you become a Fluent Silent Reader – an effective and efficient Speed Reader?

Remember, Fluent Readers read better and faster with improved comprehension and recall.

You commit to a short term intervention (about 15 minutes every other day for about three weeks) to gain long term benefits with a software program that is the result of more than $3 million of R&D. Because of my lifelong interest in learning about and teaching enhanced reading skills, and years as consultant (and close friend) to Evelyn Wood, I formed The Literacy Company to develop a self-paced software program, The Reader’s Edge® to teach Silent Reading Skills. As easy as playing on your computer, you can begin to increase your personal and professional performance by becoming a better reader. It will make all the difference in every aspect of your life. Your new skills will become as permanent as riding a bike. SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS AS TO WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN SILENT READING SKILLS! (Remember, repetition is the Mother of all Learning) Because it makes good common sense… sometimes the most uncommon thing around. Silent reading fluency has become the most neglected skill in reading education today. Let’s take a closer look at:

  • why mastering Silent Reading Skills is so valuable, and
  • dispelling some common myths about rapid reading

Over ninety percent of what we learn past Grade 4 is based solely on reading. It simply makes sense to arm yourself and your children with the skills needed in order to be successful in today’s information-based society where individuals are ultimately judged on their ability read.

Scientifically sound reading education should involve two phases. Regrettably, it does not!

Currently, the Learn To Read phase is the only recognized phase. In this phase, children learn to smoothly read out loud to an audience  their mother or teacher. The end goal of Learning To Read is to fluently read out loud, indicating that you have learned “how to read.” This is the point in which direct instruction in reading usually stops because you have proven yourself to be a Fluent Oral Reader. Unfortunately, the Learn To Read Phase of reading education is the point that most formal reading education stops. It is why most adults are poor readers because they were never taught Silent Reading Skills; hence, they use Oral Reading Skills in all their silent reading.

Why? Because of the highly held misconception that assumes individuals who know “how to” read out loud well, will be able to seamlessly apply this skill when they need to read silently.

Individuals armed only with oral reading skills, seeing and reading one word at a time, out loud, is condemned to be slow silent readers for the rest of their lives. They internalize “hearing” themselves read and thus will only be able to read as fast as they can speak. The problem with most poor readers arises when they apply Oral Reading Skills in a world in which all reading is done silently. The second phase of sound reading education, which continues to be overlooked, is the Reading To Learn phase. The necessary skills utilized when Reading to Learn are the “exact opposite” of Learning To Read skills. When reading silently, all individuals need to learn how to read groups of words, or units of meaning, with each eye fixation.

Mastering Fluent Reading Skills will eliminate their tendency to vocalize while reading thus increasing their reading speed.

The facts are that individuals who master Silent Reading Skills read better and faster with improved comprehension and recall and, they get better grades. Teaching children Silent Reading Skills, and having adults learn Silent Reading Skills is the best way to ensure that reading becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. Individuals who do not master Silent Reading Skills are condemned to be poor readers the rest of their lives. Let’s examine and put to rest the common myths that surround the concept of Fluent Reading… which, properly defined, i
s effective and efficient speed reading. Myth #1: Reading Every Letter = Better Reader Most people believe that good readers fixate on each letter in a word in order to comprehend what is being read. The article below clearly demonstrates that the brain can easily decode and comprehend the message of the text without having each letter of a word in the correct order. This is possible because our brain is wired to search for and understand the meaning of what is read rather than being concerned with the exact letter placement of a word. Fixating on every letter, while reading, only serves to drastically reduce one’s reading speed.

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