Pay attention and you will find out how to do it. While reading, our eyes move from left to right following the line, but this movement is not continuous or constant, but intermittent and variable; in their movement, the eyes make short, almost imperceptible breaks. Watch the movement of the eyes of another person while reading, and see for yourself. The explanation is that our brain is able to recognize words only when our eyes stay fixed over them for a short period of time. In each pause, the eyes stay perfectly focused and see clearly four or five words, and also distinguish a few words to the right and to the left sides. Although these words are not seen as clearly as the others, the brain still catches and recognizes them.
The total number of words that a person can recognize is called field of vision or area of detection. Somebody who can see a whole line at a time has a maximum field of vision and can go over a whole page in a few seconds. On the other hand, people who can recognize on only one or two words at a time need several pauses of the eyes in order to read a whole line, so their reading speed will be very low.
Generally, all people encounter one or more of these problems:
– Their field of vision is too small – thus, as mentioned before, they can recognize no more than one or two words at a time.
– Their eyes stop too many times on a line.
– They vocalize, just like primary school teachers do. Even if they start reading silently, they still read as if they were talking to themselves.
– They turn back and repeat a fragment because they lose the thread and forget the beginning of the sentence before getting to its end. Their pauses are so long that they miss the meaning of what they read and they need to start again.