Aims And Objectives
Gordon Wainwright is a human resources development consultant. He is the author of twelve books on management communication skills and runs courses for a wide range of organisations, including multinationals and government departments. He is based in Sunderland.
SETTING YOUR TARGETS
Now that you have completed the first stage of the programme and you know your starting point, you need to decide where you want to go. How big an increase in reading speed do you want? How much improvement in recall do you want or need? Based on more than thirty years’ experience in training people to read faster and better, I would suggest you set yourself the following targets:
- 100% increase in reading speed
- a recall level of at least 70%.
The increase in reading speed may seem high, but I have seen many people achieve it and some have gone even further. Set your targets low and your final results will be low. Set them too high and you may well be disappointed. 100% is reasonable because most people have never had any training in increasing reading speeds. It is not something that school or college teachers normally concern themselves with. There is therefore a gap between what has been achieved and what could be achieved. Here, you are about to bridge that gap.
Now, mark those two targets on the progress graphs on page 110. In this way you will be reminded of your basic objectives every time you record results on the graphs. This will help you to move towards them.
OTHER AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
You may, of course, have other aims and objectives which you wish to achieve. You may, for instance, wish to improve other aspects of your comprehension in addition to recall. You may want to increase your flexibility in dealing with different kinds of materials. You may wish to become a more critical reader, where critical means not just looking for faults but trying to identify points of merit as well in order to reach a balanced judgement about a piece of writing. You may even set yourself the aim of broadening your reading interests and selecting both your work-related and leisure reading from a wider range of sources.
Whatever additional aims and objectives you have, you will find it useful to write them down in the space below:
Use a separate sheet of paper if you have more than six. Try to make a distinction, if you can, between aims and objectives. An aim will tell you the direction in which you wish to proceed; an objective will tell you how far you want to go in that direction. Objectives are more useful because they are more precise and quantifiable and they should be expressed as results to be achieved. It is therefore easier to check later how far you have succeeded.
A LIFELONG PROCESS
That completes stage two of the programme. In the next chapter, we shall begin to explore stage three and see what techniques may help you to reach your targets. This comprises the bulk of what follows in the book. Towards the end, we shall see how much improvement you have made and the book will end with techniques for continuing and following up on your progress in the future. Reading improvement, like education itself, can be a life-long process.
Before you turn to the next chapter, complete the next exercise. As you read, try to read faster than you have so far. You can, in fact, increase your reading speed by 20-30% simply by trying without using any new techniques. You might as well have the benefit of this before we look at other techniques. So, get into the habit of competing with yourself. Try to achieve a ‘new personal best’ on each exercise. Whilst there is little point in competing with other people, because they will most likely have started at a different speed and may not progress at the same rate as you, there is every point in a little healthy self-competition and self-pacing to move gradually closer to your objectives.
Begin timing and start reading NOW.
Stop timing and answer the following questions without looking back at the passage.
- 1.What was Mr Hobson’s profession before he retired?
- 2.What was the name of the plump girl?
- 3.What kind of shop did the Hobsons run?
- 4.How much was the till short on each occasion?
- 5.How was life at the shop described?
- 6.What was the occupation of Mr Hobson’s friend?
- 7.How was the till observed?
- 8.Where was the missing money found?
- 9.What had caused the money to go missing?
- 10.Who discovered the missing money?
Convert the reading time into words per minute (using the conversion table on pages 109–110), check the answers to the recall test against the answers on pages 111–113 and record both results on the progress graphs on page 110.
ASSESSMENT OF RESULTS
You should have found that this exercise was a little faster than the previous ones. If it was, all is well. If it was not, ask yourself if you were really trying. Could you have put a little more effort into it? You may, of course, be worried that greater speed will mean poorer recall. It may – at first. After all, you are being asked to do things in different ways from those you are used to. Once you do get used to them, many problems will solve themselves. If not, there should be techniques you will learn later in the programme that will be a help. Nothing you will be asked to do will cause permanent brain damage. You will always have the option at any point to go back to reading as you did before you started. Techniques that do not work the first time you try them may well do so at the third or fourth attempt. You simply need to get used to doing things differently. Persevere.
Continue the practice suggested at the end of Chapter 1.