based on Peter Elbow's Writing Fast technique
[Elbow, Peter 1973 Writing Without Teachers Oxford
An important strategy to develop is reading
fast—an adaptation of Peter Elbow's freewriting.
In his description of freewriting, Elbow talks about writing
something four times quickly, not just once slowly, to
let an idea evolve. I have found the strategy works equally
well for reaading—particularly for material I have
Let me explain it (this comes directly from interwoven
Take the time you have available, divide
by four. Skim everything quickly, marking whatever catches
your attention with a highlighting pen. then jot down your
impressions,, or any questions you have. Read again, with
your highlighter, react briefly once more—confirming
previous impressions, changing your interpretation, whatever.
Read a third time, this time attend to what you've highlighted.
Now write your reactions to some of the highlighted portions.
Finally, quickly read a last time from the beginning to
end and sum up your reactions. You might actually find
the fourth reading isn't necessary.
The point is to help readers avoid becoming
bogged down in terminology or caught up in difficult
explanations until they have th edrift of the argument
as a whole.
Mark any words / phrases you might want to
deal with later, but keep on reading; the information you
need isn't where you're having difficulty, it's somewhere
later in the text. The more difficult the passage, the
faster you should read. Experiment and see what happens
The majority of people, I find, have difficulty making time
for reading a large quantity of material. To compensate,
they read slowly and carefully, thinking this will somehow
allow them to make sense—WRONG! Reading slowly and
carefully will prevent you from covering ground quickly.
What 'reading fast' does, is permit you to get through a
lot of material in a short period of time and to see connections
because you're taking in a lot of information at once.