Vocalization - a bad reading habit
Vocalization is a widespread reading habit that has the effect of slowing down
reading. It occurs when we say the words we are reading out loud or under
our breath. Vocalization is a technique we often learn when first
learning to read. The out-loud phonic sounding of word parts is precisely
how we learn to read in the first place. This phonic sounding must be specifically
unlearned, otherwise it hinders reading speed and comprehension even into
adulthood. You should be able to read three times faster when you read silently
as opposed to verbally! A transformation from a talking reader to a visual
reader is necessary to become a faster reader. Being aware of the problem
is the first positive step - many adults vocalize without ever realizing
Vocalization is a habit that has significant consequences. The main result
is that a reader who vocalizes has to make a big mechanical reading effort
to extract a small amount of information. It is a situation of big effort
for poor results. Poor speed and comprehension are achieved, and the reader
can easily become frustrated. Bad reading habits such as vocalization
are common in both children and adults and they are sticky and stubborn.
Here are some practical strategies to eliminate vocalization:
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Try and concentrate on concepts, ideas and key words as you are reading.
Force yourself to read faster - after a while the voice cannot keep
up with your reading pace and the vocalization will decline.
Practice these steps two to three times per week for twenty to thirty
minutes per session. Do not attempt long sessions over one hour in duration
as this is not the optimal learning strategy.
Measure your reading speed regularly to keep track of your progress.
When measuring your reading speed you should not have read the material
before, as you read material faster and faster each time you re-read it.
You will need a timer. Read for four minutes and then stop. Accurately
count the number of words you have read and calculate a "words per
minute" measure. Also try and get a feel for how well you have read
the material - if you can't summarize six major points in the material
then it is likely that your comprehension was reduced.
Vocalization is an ingrained habit. It is difficult to change such habits.
For motivation imagine how your life will change as a faster reader; greater
knowledge, power; opportunity and wealth. You should be assured that you
can become a better reader when you eliminate bad reading habits. Eliminating
vocalization requires hard work and dedication but the reward is faster
reading and improved comprehension.