What is incremental reading?
Incremental reading is the most
important enhancement to SuperMemo since its inception in 1987. Yet few
people know what incremental reading is, and yet fewer are able to successfully employ it
in their daily learning practice. Incremental reading can shortly be
described as reading&repetition. You just take an article and keep on
reading it (in the same way as you read it in your web browser). However, while
reading, you tell SuperMemo, which portions of text are important. All you need
for that is: select&click. SuperMemo will present those portions to
you at later time for further analysis. That's the essence of incremental
When you read important fragments, SuperMemo helps you convert them to
question-and-answer material with a single click. For example, you read
that Neolithic diet increased the rate of infectious diseases. With
a single click you convert that to a question: Neolithic diet [...] the
rate of infectious diseases. It is the job of SuperMemo to handle the
flow of articles, their fragments and questions. Every day, you get your
dose of reading and repetition. SuperMemo tries to maximize the retention
of your new knowledge. That's all.
Some articles are suitable for incremental reading (e.g. encyclopedic
material), others are not (e.g. belles lettres). To help you inspect the
incremental reading process in action, we have prepared for you the
materials available from http://www.w3schools.com.
Those materials are ideal for incremental reading: concise and meaty.
collection and see how individual portions of text imported
from w3schools get portioned and converted to question-and-answer
elements have already been generated in the collection). Note that the deeper you go into the
course, the less processed the material is. That is the norm in incremental
reading. This is work in progress and the progress is incremental.
Every day you go deeper, focus on more detail, and learn more. To complete
the course, go to w3schools, import more pages and process them
using the incremental reading technique. For technical details see: Incremental
reading. For a longer article about the role of incremental reading in
learning see: Devouring knowledge
The collection was created entirely with incremental reading. The
starting point of the incremental reading was the following page at W3Schols: http://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp.
This page was processed incrementally, and more pages have been imported when
appropriate. You can continue the incremental reading process in this collection
tutorial. This is work in progress that is supposed to help you understand
Normally, after a complete processing of an article, Done (Ctrl+Shift+Enter)
would be executed. Done deletes the processed material
to reduce the size of the collection. Done pages are empty. Done
makes it possible to execute more specific searches with Ctrl+F.
However, for educational purposes, original articles have not been Done
so that you could have a look at the incremental reading workflow. Press the Contents
button to see the resulting knowledge tree.
Except for some cosmetic edits, this collection has been created entirely by
pastes and extracts. Incremental reading is a blessing for slow typing people!
With sufficient skills, collection of this size can be prepared in 1-3 hours.
Better yet, learning takes even less time! However, if you learn this ready-made
material, you will naturally not benefit from what you would have learned by
processing it incrementally. In other words, you will learn it at a slower rate
than the person who does the actual incremental reading.
Tutorial, copy the body of text and paste it to SuperMemo with Ctrl+Alt+N
- Process the pasted body of text by selecting its fragments and using Extract
(Alt+X). As a result the text is marked with this bluish
color (meaning: processed). In this collection, these
extracts have not been deleted so that you could trace the origin of
individual questions and answers
- While processing the pasted page, follow external links and import more
pages (e.g. the first link leads to http://www.w3schools.com/js/js_intro.asp which
you can import again with Ctrl+Alt+N)
- Repeat this process until you import the entire course to SuperMemo
- Alternatively, you can use Open In New Window in Internet
Explorer and open all lessons from the course. You can then import them all
at once with Import web pages (Shift+F8). The
later pages in the course were imported using this en masse method.
Only when their turn comes up in incremental reading, are these pages pasted
fully to SuperMemo by following the external link
- You can move between pages with PgDn or using Contents
or Search (Ctrl+F)
- While reading individual pages during the incremental reading process
(starting with Learn or Ctrl+L), you can execute
more Extracts (selected text and press Alt+X)
and Cloze deletions (select a keyword and press Alt+Z).
Keywords that become questions get marked with this brownish
color. Use Alt+Left to move back and see the result of Extract
and Cloze. You can also import more pages by following hyperlinks.
- After a number of days, extracts become shorter and more specific (and
more numerous). Less relevant portions of material are dismissed or deleted
or Done. Most important extracts are processed with cloze deletions
and converted to simple questions-and-answers
- This is work in progress! Initial pages of this course have been
completely processed and converted into items. The lower you go in the Contents,
the lesser the degree of processing. The bottommost branches have not been
processed. You can process them as part of your incremental reading practice