Is Incremental Reading any different to highlighting a book?


Staff member
I have been wondering if the term "Incremental Reading" is anything more than just going through a book, highlighting certain sentences of then entering them into SuperMemo.

How is it any different?


New member
I feel like the difference is only of degree, or depth. In a book, you would tend to do a single round of highlighting. With IR, you can highlight the highlights and their highlights until you atomize the info.


Staff member
I thought exactly the same way as you did about Incremental Reading. However, after reading plenty of chats about this amongst other Supermemo users, I believe many of them are doing this....

Read & highlight > Add all highlights to Mother Topic > Split Mother Topic into subTopics > Cloze deletion

...rather than what I thought the "official" Incremental Reading approach would be, namely,

Add article(s) to SuperMemo > Periodically read and extract sections of these articles > Reduce these subsections down again on next review > Close delete the most granular entry.

Once you get the reviews going for the cloze deletions, the information starts to sink into the subconscious, giving you the neural lexicon for the material.


Founding Member
I'm not a SM user - but is it possible to screenshot what you are talking about so I can understand it more?


Staff member
That would be very hard to do. However, this is a brief overview of what it is:

Incremental reading is a learning technique that makes it possible to read thousands of articles at the same time without getting lost. Incremental reading begins with importing articles from electronic sources, e.g. the Internet. The student then extracts the most important fragments of individual articles for further review. Extracted fragments are then converted into questions and answers. These in turn become subject to systematic review and repetition that maximizes the long-term recall of the processed texts. The review process is handled by the proven repetition spacing algorithm known as the SuperMemo method.

However, if you really want to go into detail, you will find this gargantuan resource for incremental reading:

I believe it has about 80,000 words. :eek:

Or, there is the video below:



Staff member
You're welcome Bee. The whole Incremental Reading thing took me quite a while to get my head around. Like any good idea, there are many variations around it. Consider it a fulcrum to pivot around for a method that suits you.