Useful Tips

Lesson 1


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You've probably already heard that the ability to concentrate is a natural gift: you either belong to the type of people who can read the whole novel in a day, or to the type who look out the window every five seconds to notice the slightest changes in a passing cloud . But concentration is a skill that can be learned through practice; it is not a completely innate ability. There are certain steps that you can take, and strategies that you can develop to get the most out of your time and complete your work without much distraction.

Recommendation 1.1. Games

Try to always find something interesting in the routine, turning any action into a game. This is what good parents do, who want their child to do some boring work. Games are common to many living things, it is embedded in us at the genetic level.

Excitement is important in the game!

Passion (French. hasard) - hobby, enthusiasm, passion, excessive ardor. (Great Soviet Encyclopedia). In order to create a game of chance based on the upcoming reading process, you must determine the rules of this game and establish clear conditions for victory in this game. If this is difficult for you, then you can use the examples and recommendations below.

Competitiveness. For example, if you read a textbook before an exam, you can arrange competitions with friends who will read the textbook faster or who will answer more questions on the textbook that you can ask each other. Competitiveness in the educational process is the main weapon of the teacher (I know from my own experience) that can increase interest in the learning process. The vast majority of people are gambling in an attempt to "be better" opponent. Therefore, individual lessons are not as effective as group ones. And in reading you can find yourself a rival!

Personal records. Another factor that creates excitement in reading can be a struggle with oneself to achieve a certain result. For example, when reading a book, you can detect the speed of reading, say the number of pages per hour, then try to break your own record. Personal records can be set in speed, in the number of pages, in the number of books, in the mastered material and much more.

How not to be distracted while reading - fight against noise

Reading noise is greatly affected by external noise. External noises, both single and continuous, have a very large negative effect on reading performance. It will be a matter of not just lowering the level of attention when reading, as it was above, but about switching attention from text to another object.

Very often, external noises distract from reading: they annoy or, conversely, carry away to such an extent that the book is sometimes put aside. It is with particular pleasure that we turn our attention away from the book (and at the slightest opportunity we are ready to do it) if we do not like the material we are working on. Being distracted by external noise constantly, the reader gets used to working with relaxed attention, educates inattention.

External noise factor and its effect on text storage

The external noise factor while working with the book is objective (because we cannot change, for example, the noise conditions in the reading room), but it is also subjective at the same time: you can change yourself by learning not to react to noise as an interference when reading. In order to “not listen to noise”, you need to learn not to evaluate the noise you hear, not to process it.

If the noise behind the wall distracts you from reading, you can no longer concentrate and put the book aside. Try turning on the TV, and it will distract you from the noise that has recently interfered, your irritation will turn into a pleasant state. You will forget about the noise annoying you, distract from it and even turn off the TV for a while you will not pay attention to the noise, although it will continue. You can hear the noise, but not listen to it. Thus, the unpleasant was replaced by the pleasant. Temporary attention switching protected you from noise.

How to disable external stimuli when reading books

One of the ways to disconnect from extraneous noises, to learn not to respond to them while reading, is the tennis ball method developed at the School of Rational Reading.

This method is based on the principle of double attention switching. The tennis ball method, as practice shows, is universal: almost all who use it learn to be distracted from external noises and stop listening to them. If the reader, using the tennis ball method, trained himself to be automatic, then the fight against noise will be conducted at a subconscious level, without distracting the mind from understanding the content of the text being read. 1-3 seconds are enough for such a reader to get rid of annoying noise while reading. After that, all attention is again focused on reading.

Quick read. How not to be distracted while reading

To get a better understanding of the speed reading technique, sign up for full-time courses, however, you can learn to read speed yourself.

Improve your reading technique and you will spend less time researching documents. Follow the tips and you will increase productivity.

Reading types

  • Super slow reading. A detailed study of a document is being pursued - for example, a study of legal documents.
  • Slow reading - for example, a work of art.
  • Preliminary reading. When you need to get an idea of ​​a read document
  • Speed ​​reading.

How to read text in speed reading mode

Acting in accordance with this scheme, you will reduce the time to search for the necessary information.

  • Read the introduction carefully.
  • Browse through chapters five through ten for interesting chapters. Pay attention to examples, and to highlight in the text.
  • Browse through snippets of text you find important.
  • Read the subject index. Understand the thesaurus and concepts discussed in the book. Think about how much the content of the book is like the content of previously studied documents.
  • Write a review on the text or a letter to the author.
  • Read the author’s examples. How many examples are repeated? Does it seem that the author of the text borrowed the contents of the document?
  • Review the introduction to each chapter, read the last page of each chapter.
  • Read the table of contents. Get an overview of the contents of the book before reading it.

If you are studying reference text, then you need to study selected places. Therefore, the described reading strategy is very useful.

How to read documents and articles

First, you should look at the places in the text where the conclusions are indicated. And then read the document. In this case, the essence of the article will be clear from the first paragraph.

  • Study the text, overview, first few paragraphs, introductory part.
  • Study the conclusion or a few concluding paragraphs.
  • Examine carefully the places that you find most important.

Margin entries.

Take notes while reading. Write questions to the author of the text. You do not waste time. Thanks to the notes and formulated questions, the studied text is fixed in the mind. If the document and the new information are thought out, then it is not required to return to it anymore.

While reading a book, mark important places with a marker, underline keywords.

Write letters to the author of the book. Writing a review requires an opinion on the text, which means that after writing the response, you will know much more than if you would not formulate your attitude to the text.


One of the most common hindrances to in-depth reading is external noise. The conversation of the neighbors in the reading room, the crying of a child in an electric train, the sound of a working TV behind the wall makes it difficult to plunge deeply into the meaning of what is being read, especially if you have to read something that is necessary, but of little interest. As a rule, attempts not to pay attention to external noise are not only unsuccessful, but, on the contrary, lead to the fact that after a long struggle with noise, the reader begins to analyze what is heard, distracting from reading. (“They talk about diseases all the time, as if there’s nothing more to say!”, “Well, parents don’t pay attention to a crying child!”, Etc.). Gradually, the reader’s irritation grows, and he already has to cope with his own condition.

There is an effective way to deal with such obstacles to reading - the method of "tennis ball".

The "tennis ball" method is based on the use of certain processes that occur in the human brain.

You can imagine the human brain in the form of a site on which bonfires burn - foci of excitement caused by the analysis of various information simultaneously entering the brain: the reader comprehends the content of the paragraph - this is a big bonfire (most of the attention is paid to comprehension), in the room where reading takes place, hot - this is the second bonfire, but small, because such a small part of attention is paid to the perception of this that the reader hardly feels an elevated temperature. As lunchtime draws nearer, another bonfire appears and more and more flares up, associated with the feeling of hunger, etc. Such small bonfires (small parts of attention) light up from all the sensations and thoughts associated with clothes, shoes, comfortable posture, lighting, physical or mental fatigue, etc. The size of the fires-focuses of attention is regulated at a subconscious level, so the reader, despite all his desire to concentrate, nevertheless switches attention to noise, distracting from reading. So at the moment, the main focus is shifting from understanding the text to noise as the main focus of brain excitation. The following conditions are met:

    1. The more actively thought processes take place, the greater is the total amount of attention paid to the simultaneous analysis of all stimuli (external and internal) i.e. the greater the number of bonfires.
    2. An increase in attention to some stimuli is accompanied by a decrease in attention to others (some flaming bonfires take away the energy and fire of others, reducing them).
    3. That part of attention is expanding (that bonfire flares up), which is aimed at the event that is relevant at the moment. For example, if during a reading you recall that there is a program on TV that you definitely wanted to watch, the success of further reading will depend on what you consider more important (relevant) at the moment.

Therefore, if a small bonfire appears on the site with a large bonfire (caused by reading comprehension) (corresponding to the size of irritation due to interfering noise, and this bonfire is not extinguished, then it may flare up, absorbing energy from a large bonfire, and even can put out a big bonfire to prevent this from happening and the tennis ball method is used.

The essence of the method is as follows: having caught himself on the fact that he involuntarily begins to listen to an external stimulus, the reader mentally:

    1. He puts a spacesuit over his head
    2. Imagines audible noise in the form of tennis balls flying from noise sources,
    3. Imagines a bounce of balls hitting a spacesuit and hears the sound of a clatter from strikes.

All this must be done while reading, without ceasing to comprehend the content of the text. As a result, part of the attention gradually switches from an external stimulus (noise) to tennis balls, and then to understanding what is read, i.e. there is a double switching of attention. As soon as you start training, guided by this method, in the first stages of work you will feel positive changes.

The tennis ball (MTS) method works as follows: with the advent of a small but dangerous bonfire (that is, as soon as the distraction from reading outside noise begins), the reader artificially creates a new and sufficiently large bonfire caused by the rebound of the tennis balls from the spacesuit ( i.e., considerable attention begins to be paid to the suggestion of representing the spacesuit and balls bouncing off it, as well as to the suggestion that the reader hears the sound of their clatter). As a result of the relevance of this process, at the moment, a new bonfire begins to grow due to the transfer of energy from other bonfires. This leads to a decrease, and then attenuation of the fire, corresponding to external noise.

And at the same time, a bonfire corresponding to the comprehension of what is being read will decrease, which is undesirable, but forced. After adjusting the power of the bonfires for some time, the reader consciously focuses on the reading process (i.e., he begins to inflate a bonfire corresponding to the assimilation of what is read, due to a bonfire corresponding to the ideas of the spacesuit and ball). Thus, after some time, attention is increasingly shifting to the comprehension of what is read, and less and less is left on tennis balls and especially on external noise.

Thus, although the regulation of foci of excitation occurs in the brain at the subconscious level, nevertheless, through training, practicing certain exercises, you can achieve switching the main attention to the object you need.

The tennis ball method allows you to:

    1. To shift attention from the main stimulus to the worked out ideas until the termination of understanding of the stimulus ceases.
    2. Transfer the focus on these ideas to the main work:

To use ITS, you must first develop the ability to quickly and easily call:

    1. The feeling of a spacesuit around the head,
    2. A view of tennis balls flying towards a spacesuit from a noise source,
    3. Representation of balls hitting and bouncing off a spacesuit,
    4. Perception of the sound of a clatter of balls hitting a spacesuit.

This can be learned in stages as follows:

Learn how to quickly evoke and sustain the feeling of a spacesuit around your head by repeatedly imagining the spacesuit in your mind. The suit or shell can be of any color, size and shape, choose for yourself what you like best, but there are two indispensable conditions: it must be transparent and light.

Learn to imagine tennis balls flying from a source of noise and dissolving in your head. Balls should be light, any color and small in size. They should fly slowly. As soon as one ball, having reached the head, dissolves in it, another ball immediately flies out of the noise source. (For example, if readers at the next table interfere with your conversations, then you need to imagine balls flying out of the place where these people are sitting). Where and how exactly these balls are born does not matter. The balls should fly out regardless of the volume of the noise and its frequency (for example, if the door creaks interfere with you, then as soon as another one rings out, you immediately imagine a ball flying from the door. After dissolving the ball in your head, you imagine the next ball flying from there, regardless of whether the door continues to creak at the moment or not).

Combine the two previous views and add an auditory feel. you need to imagine a spacesuit and balls flying out of a noise source, reaching a spacesuit and bouncing off it, and at the same time hear a clear clatter from the imaginary impact of the ball on the spacesuit. Next, follow the bounced ball until it disappears at infinity and also imagine the flight of the next ball, etc.

You can not make the first balls bounce, but pass them through a spacesuit and, only starting, for example, from the fifth, imagine them bouncing.

The first and second stages can be mastered alternately for two weeks. And only after you learn to clearly represent the spacesuit and balls separately, you can begin to combine them and train for another two weeks.

There are, of course, such readers who can work fruitfully in any noise. Some of them even think that reading is better with music or with the radio or TV turned on.

Specialists, based on experimental data, believe that everyone should work in the conditions to which he is accustomed. But nevertheless they are advised to create silence, but not absolute, but relative, to achieve the greatest productivity of mental labor. A light buzz, the rustling of pages in the reading room (of course, in the absence of chatter at the next table) contribute to the best assimilation of the text. It is shown that in complete silence it is more difficult to maintain attention than with weak monotonous noise.

The ability to isolate attention from external noise can be another of your requirements to improve reading culture.

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Recommendation 1.2. Motivation

Try to motivate yourself that the material you read may be useful to you. Try to list all the possible benefits that the read text will give you. Let them not be significant, but the main thing is to find them. Then visualize it, dream and start reading.

Even if this is a boring textbook that you need to read to prepare for the exam, you must understand that this knowledge is useful to you and, in the end, a good grade on the subject will please even your mother.

Exercise 1.3. External irritants

Some people have one very important ability: they can do something when there is noise and clutter around them. Often this is a matter of habit, for example, when a person lives in a small apartment or dormitory, and he has to adapt to difficult conditions and be able to do it without paying attention to anything.

Complicated conditions make a person more attentive, teach him to disconnect from external stimuli and do what he needs.

Try to artificially create difficult conditions for yourself, try to concentrate on reading at the moment when you are listening to music, when people are walking around. Go to the street in the park on the weekend and read on the bench, trying not to pay attention to others and passers-by.

Exercise 1.4. A state of trance

A state of trance, according to the observations of hypnosis specialist M. Erickson, it is characterized by increased attention, the ability to not respond to external stimuli, and the ability to ignore the signals of some senses. So, in a trance state, a person can take a pose that is uncomfortable in the normal state, and spend quite a long time in this position.

For example, when you read an interesting book and cross-legged, after half an hour during a break, you may find that one leg is very numb. But during the reading, you did not think about the leg, you were in a state of increased attention to the book, your visual perception worked so hard that the signals from other senses were simply not perceived by the brain.

You can read more about entering a trance state here.

Exercise 1.5. N-back game

The n-back task is a continuous execution task that is used in the field of neurophysiology and designed to activate certain parts of the brain, as well as used in psychology to assess and develop the ability to concentrate, logical thinking, working memory and moving human intelligence in general. In the game, cards will be shown to you in order and you will have to determine if the same card was shown last time.

Additionally. To get rid of the constant returns to what you have already read (regressions), to understand the meaning, you can also use the exercises from Lesson 2 and Lesson 4. Getting rid of articulation will allow you to equate the concepts of “read” and “understand” the text, since you will not speak mechanically read to yourself, which means you will not read separately from understanding and creating sensual images of what you read. The material of Lesson 4 is aimed at training the skill of finding the necessary information in the text, which can also help you not to return to what you have already read.

Note. If you think that the proposed exercises are given to you too easily, then you can proceed to the next lessons. After all, each person is individual, and different skills can be given in different ways: some are a little easier, others are a little more complicated.