At the Internet Entrepreneurs Bootcamp on Saturday, Sean mentioned that I could speed read backwards. That night and the next day I must have had at least 10 people ask me about why do I speed read backwards.

That was a great line by Sean but not what I do.  I am a very fast reader and I have been a first reader for a few authors (that means you  read it before it’s published to check for errors or for comments) but I don’t speed read backwards.

Recently Sean asked me to read through his latest book and check it for him.  I told him that when I’m asked to read something and  proof read it, I have a process.

This is what I do when checking something that has been written.

Read It All

I read all of the book first to get an idea of what is about.  That allows me to know what the author wants to say and how he wants me to think after reading his book.

Read It a Second Time

I then read it again looking for errors or anything that can throw you out of the story.  For a writer, throwing the reader out of what you have written can mean you lose them as a reader.  So my second read is to look for errors such as spelling mistakes not picked up or the wrong word used.  There, their and they’re are common mistakes made by writers and often not picked up.

Read It Backwards

Finally, yes I do read it backwards.  That doesn’t mean I read it backwards for enjoyment.  What I do is read each word backwards. 

backwards word each read is do I What.

Why Do I Read It Backwards

Reading backwards forces your brain to read each word individually.  I’m sure all of us have checked, double checked or even triple checked a blog and then when it’s published realised you spelt a word wrong or some  little error you missed because your brain allowed you to read that it was right.

Reading it backwards means you will catch the “their, there or they’re” because as you read each word individually your brain will ask why I am using “their” when it should be “there” which you totally missed reading it normally.

I’m sure you have seen the emails where you are asked if you can read something that has been totally misspelled.  You can do this because your brain will ‘translate’ the text and allow you to understand it.

Think about all the SMS texts out there that have so many spelling mistakes that your English teacher would have been horrified and given you a F if you had put them in an assignment. Your brain translates them into “proper English” for you.

When you write, your brain can trick you into believing that your writing is correct but a reader will realise that it’s wrong and could give a bad impression to that reader.  Is that what you want when you write on your blog?

“hru, w8 4 me pls” is not me typing gibberish, it translates as “How are you, wait for me please.”  If you know what the words should mean, your brain will  translate it.  If you don’t, someone will explain.  That’s fine for SMS but for most readers, they want good English in the posts you write.

So speed reading backwards is something I would love to do, if only to amuse myself but what I really do is use some proof reading skills to check my posts.

Give it a try with your next post and see if you pick up any errors.  Let me know how if it can work for you.

Tania Shipman
Interested in Anything and Everything © 2009 – 2011

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