Skim once per day!


A central challenge in the course was that you "plow through" a text with your eyes much faster than you would normally read it. The crucial point in this exercise is: you are not reading now, but you are training fast, but also complete fixation processes. Do this exercise routinely 1 time a day – preferably in the morning or before you read longer texts. Think of it as pure eye gymnastics, and either use an unimportant text for this or read your text for comprehension afterwards. 

It is important that you are not only fast, but also pay attention to the right technique:

  • focus broadly: see 2-4 words at a time (... do not necessarily understand them)
  • fixate long enough: about ¼ second per fixation, i.e. you should really stop noticeably – not just flit quickly over the lines
  • enough fixations per line: for a paperback page e.g. 3 x, for an A4 sheet 4-5 x and on a cell phone screen horizontally 2-3 x

Exercise duration: 30-60 seconds are usually enough to effectively "stimulate" and anchor the dynamics and correct gaze guidance in the eyes and brain. The point is to remind yourself again and again briefly how it feels when your eyes literally "run away" from your brain. 

By the way: If you happen to understand something during this exercise – feel free to rejoice! But that's not the real goal, so don't put pressure on yourself.

This exercise is similar to the skimming strategy: The idea is to "skim" through a text completely, but very quickly, with the goal of understanding the main ideas. At the same time, you know that you are not missing anything important. 

When skimming (aiming at understanding the main ideas), you should be 10-20% slower than in the exercise presented here, because you are explicitly pursuing a comprehension goal. However, you can consider a skimming session (also/supplementary) as a physical eye exercise. Then you have a double benefit: You train your eyes and you can expect a rough basic understanding from the text. News articles, newsletters, optional texts or texts you already know and want to refresh a bit are well suited for this. 

Tip: Use our online rate controller occasionally! This effectively supports your eye fixations, you effectively avoid regressions – and you control exactly at what pace you work (maybe you increase the pace from time to time). Simply save the website on your browser bar and copy your own texts into it if necessary!