Incremental reading step by step

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Incremental reading is easy. The manual is huge and intimidating. Good skills and strategies take months to develop. However, you can start incremental reading in minutes. Here are the steps starting from those you are likely to need most.

3 minute ABC

  1. download and install SuperMemo for Windows (SuperMemo 2004 Freeware, SuperMemo 15 Freeware, SuperMemo 16 or commercial SuperMemo 17)
  2. import an article with copy&paste or, better yet, directly from Internet Explorer. See: Import
  3. read the article, once you see an interesting fragment, select it and press Alt+X. See: Extracts


  1. use Learn button to start learning
  2. if you see a short fragment of text that you want to remember, select a keyword and use Alt+Z. See: Cloze

See YouTube videos for an exemplary application in learning about nutrition or history.

Keep learning, importing, extracting and converting short sentences to questions. Work out your own strategies. If something is missing in this text, write to me.

Big test

This is optional, but can give you a big boost:

  1. open this article in Internet Explorer
  2. import it to SuperMemo with Ctrl+Shift+A
  3. use Ctrl+Enter to open SuperMemo Commander
  4. type Sp for Split article, and press Enter

The above will splinter the entire manual into 340 hints. If your process one per day, you will be done in a year. You can process faster if you send low priority articles to later dates, or give them lower priority with Alt+P.

If your skills are limited, instead of worrying about extracts and clozes, you can just read the splinters, and seek inspiration. The order may not be essential. You will build comprehension incrementally.


Incremental reading with SuperMemo 17

Figure: A typical snapshot from an incremental reading process in SuperMemo. While learning about leptin, the student extracts important portions of the text, and marks keywords that might be used to form questions that will enhance memory in the long term. The questions are reviewed along a spaced repetition schedule. See this video example for explanation. The brain picture can be found here