Reading from the Computer Screen or Print Material
Category: Speed Reading
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, "Will the enhanced reading skills I learn from The Reader's Edge enable me to read normal printed material better?"
The answer is a resounding unequivocal YES!
Why? Let's recall that The Reader's Edge teaches how to unlearn the habits of Slow Readers and learn the habits and skills of Fluent Readers. This simply means that with The Reader's Edge you will learn to see and read more than one word at a time, without vocalizing words as they are read.
Although this skill is learned on the computer, from a screen, it (the skill) is absolutely transferable to reading print, to reading billboards, or to reading any form in which print is presented for the eye to see.
Another common question asked is, "What is the difference between reading from the computer screen and from print material?" The general consensus of various experts is that reading from a screen is slower than reading from print.
Our view is that the basic level of your reading skills is the determining factor, i.e., if a person is a slow reader reading from print material, then that person will also be a slow reader when reading from a computer screen.
Our experience and research indicates that it is too broad of a statement to say that reading from a screen is slower than reading from print. We believe that in either medium, it depends on what content is being presented and how that content is presented. The similarities and differences between content for the web is compared to writing for print. There is no question that guidelines for good writing for the web, and for print, are beginning to coincide. This is good news for all of us... Web and Print Readers.
The guidelines for writing for the Web vs. Writing for print highlight the developing science which is devoting to making reading from the Web easier than reading from print. Let's review seven basic guidelines:
Guidelines for Web Writing
- Before worrying about CONTENT, recognize and address inseparability of text, design, format and navigation.
- Based on the assumption that reading from a screen is slower than reading from print, keep Web content no more than 50% of equivalent print.
- Web Writers write for scanability (using keywords, headings and lists) because web readers tend to skim before reading content in full.
- Web Writing acknowledges that readers read to find specific answers (more efficient). Readers tend to leave a site if they are bored.
- Web Writing provides content that is split into more easily digested and understood "chunks."
- Web Writers can't control where readers will start reading, i.e., different pages. Therefore, each page is designed as an independent segment.
- The goal of Web Writing is to provide text in columnar formats to ensure shorter easier-to-read sentences.
Guidelines for Print Material Writing
- Write for CONTENT with less (minimal) thought to text, design, format and navigation.
- General advice is to use fewer words and shorter sentences. However, in print, this guideline rarely produces a shorter document.
- This advice is suggested for Print Writers but is not followed as strongly as by Web Writers.
- Print Reading is not nearly as oriented to providing content and format designed to please a reader and provide for efficient reading.
- Although good advice for Print Writers, who still tend to focus on content rather than creating easy to read and understand communication.
- Print Writers are advised to use chapter headings and topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph, with shorter sentences and words to facilitate efficient reading.
- Print Writing is typically in a single column format. This limits the amount of "white space" around the text and makes pages look "overflowing" and cramped. Hence, this makes single column material, such as hardcover and paperback books and 8 1/2 x 11 documents, very difficult to read.
In conclusion, many of us read as much (or more) text from computer screens than from printed material. Other than eye strain from either medium, there are more similarities than differences between reading from computer screens vs. printed material. The reason: Web Writers are focused on providing content in an efficient and effective format that ensures maximum readability. Because of the competition between the two mediums, Print Writers are employing the same guidelines to ensure optimum communication with their readers.
The competition between the two mediums will ultimately benefit all readers. Remember, with The Reader's Edge, you will learn Fluent Reading skills that permit you to see and read groups of words with each single eye fixation. Then, you will be better prepared to read, in either medium, better and faster with improved comprehension and recall.