The strategy itself is simple – it's just a matter of "daring" to implement it. Here's a quick reminder: Paragraphing means you read the first and last paragraphs in their entirety (and in that order: you jump straight to the end of the text). Then you read only the first sentence of each paragraph.
Not all texts are written exactly according to this scheme. Therefore, keep a certain flexibility:
- Some paragraphs are extremely long. In such cases, it is a good idea to read the first two sentences or the first and last sentences of a paragraph. You may also quickly look into the middle of the paragraph for some important cues (enumerations or a word like “however” indicating a change of thought).
- In legal and some other specialized texts, the last sentence in the paragraph may also express the main idea. In that case, read it instead of the first.
Obvious applications for paragraphing are (especially shortly after your course attendance) first of all texts that are not so important: everything that is "nice to have", which you could theoretically read “when you have a lot of time” (which normally means you wouldn’t read it at all). So you can't lose anything, but you might be surprised how much of the content you still understood, even though you leave out 80-90% of the text.
A little more "courage to leave gaps" (“Mut zur Lücke” in German) when reading is generally an important point, which you train specifically with the Paragraphing strategy. A good exercise especially for "perfectionists"!
By the way: The "Paragraphing Principle" is also very helpful when writing: Put the main question/overview at the beginning, a summary at the end and the most important points first in each paragraph. This way your readers will understand you better and avoid queries. Do you already know our online writing training (in German)? www.smartwriting.de