Learning strategies


since I read the manuals, I have a routine about learning… more or less the same.

I’m wondering about a word, the way it has been drawn and I want to check it and I’m looking for it in the manuals. If I can find it, I transcribe the whole text with the word in it into Gregg and then I look at the correction. I copy the mispelled forms. And then after a while, I repeat the same exercice… hopefully with less mistakes.

Do you have a learning routine to share?


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  1. Christine,

    I have a routine that puts me in three different places in the manual (Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified, 2nd edition) at the same time.  I read the manual, covering up the printed examples for brief forms and families of words and trying to interpret the corresponding outlines, and, reading the shorthand passages.  I'm up to paragraph 90 doing that.  The writing part of my routine involves two steno pads.  In one, I write the example words from the manual in longhand and transcribe the shorthand passages to longhand.  There is nothing but longhand in that pad.  I am up to paragraph 64 with that.  In the other steno pad I transcribe the longhand from the first steno pad, into shorthand on the left side of the pages.  Then I check my work against the manual and: (a) practice writing the outlines I get wrong on the right side of the steno pad pages, and, (b) add (most of) the outlines I get wrong to my Memrise course (which I use to study those outlines briefly 2-3 times per day).  I am up to paragraph 54 with that.  On Saturdays I try to post a note in shorthand to this forum and read the feedback (which I greatly appreciate!).  I put the (hopefully) correct rendition of at least some of the outlines I get wrong in those notes, in the Memrise course.  Before I write my Saturday note I reread the feedback on the preceding note in hopes of avoiding repeating the mistakes I made in that one.

    Aside from that, I skim ahead in the manual from time to time and poke around in gregg-shorthand.com looking for pointers and trying (so far without much success) to read some of the shorthand posted there.


    1. This is actually very good! Actually, I would add that since you’re still learning, make sure that when you poke around the reading selections, take a look at the ones written in Simplified Gregg for now, so that you don’t get confused with other series (they have the “simplified” tag).

  2. What a comprehensive feedback… I was wondering whether my question was badly worded.
    I also often read a short shorthand text while heating up my milk in the morning… (I wouldn’t have time to do anything else anyway.)
    I’m pleased by doing these routines and miss them when I don’t do them.

  3. Christine,

    I think it is time for an update in that I have revised my routine.  One thing I did was to read through all the rules one afternoon–I think it only took an hour or two.  I believe I did it when I got to the ng, ngk lesson.  Some of the mistakes I made along the way were to make the m stroke too long (I really wanted to distinguish it from the n!) and sometimes write the m and n strokes at an angle slightly below the horizontal even though I was shooting for horizontal. Then I find out that an extra long m is an men and an m or n at an angle below the horizontal is an ng or an ngk.  Given that the Simplified manual was not written as a self-study manual, but rather a textbook, one should expect some advice to be left out so the teacher has something to tell the class.  Reading through all the rules doesn't take much time at all and had I done it earlier, I think I would have avoided falling into some bad habits.

    As far as reading through the words and passages in the manual, I am still doing that–I'm up to paragraph 485 on that.  I stopped adding outlines to the Memrise course; I've got enough in there to keep me busy enough with learning the ones that are already in there.  Upon stopping the adding of the words I had trouble with to the Memrise course, I just listed my trouble words on the right column of my transcription pad and tested myself on them that day and the next–the ones I missed being added to the list from the next day's passage (letter or list of words).  However, last week, I put the transcription followed by reverse transcription on pause as I realized I was writing way too slowly.  I expect to pick that up again sometime in the future–its on hold at about paragraph 200 for now.  Now I have gone back to the beginning and am using the audio files posted in this blog (Thanks, Washbear!) in an attempt to get my speed up to a lousy 40 wpm.  So now I am copying the same things over and over again.  I'm currently working on paragraph 23 in that effort.


    1. Hello, Jeff!

      I'm happy to see you are so determined.

      I've got the impression that the only thing that is really detrimental is stopping practising. I haven't practised for just few days and quickly my outlines became less precise, less satisfying.

      I'm not a teacher so I may be wrong but this desire of speed doesn't look to me as something desirable: speed comes with knowledge, habit, time… As for this want for too much precision… If I could look at my old school notebooks, I surely wouldn't recognize my own handwriting.

      As long as you take pleasure in your learning… 🙂

  4. After many starts and stops and distractions, I'm almost done the theory. I'm using Simplified Functional 2nd Edition, which holds the record for amount of reading material. This method gives plenty of spaced-practice reading the text and my own writing.

    I have several bookmarks:

    1. 1st Reading. Just reading, going back if I want a refresher. As Jeff said, this can prevent problems. It's more interesting than writing the same passage over and over. It also lets you write your own material much sooner — and that's the fun part! (It's also the time you practice writing too slowly. Practice makes permanent. Imperfect practice makes imperfect permanent.) (I'm done the theory.)

    2. 1st Copy. A week or more behind 1st reading. I use a normal exercise book and divide each page in half vertically so I have four columns. First copy is from the plate, focusing on analyzing words and penmanship. Read each sentence before writing.

    Writing this column from the answer key, with room for corrections, then checking it vs the plate would have been better, but I didn't enjoy it as much. I wish they had keys for the 2nd half.

    3. 2nd, 3rd, 4th copies. A week behind the 1st copy, each copy made from the previous column, reading each sentence entirely before writing, trying for a bit of speed, and drilling words that aren't comfortable. I mix it up here. Sometimes I do all the copies for a single passage or even paragraph in one sitting. Sometimes I do the entire chapter, or even catch up with the 1st column. (4 lessons to go!)

    There's enough reading material in GSF2 that I would have learned well enough without writing until half-way through the theory, as the Functional Method authors suggest. Even then, maybe only write the weekly Review chapters. (The regular Simplified Manual has much less material, and modern Teeline books even less.)

    4. References. List of brief forms and phrases* by chapter, Gregg spelling, and English spelling. Rules by chapter, Gregg spelling, English spelling, and part of word. Writing and rewriting is a good review, and often one order will show a pattern that others don't. Making the lists myself is a much better review than relying on someone else's summary. They can also be used for drills. (I'm way behind here.)

    *I don't include every phrase, just enough to show all the principles. I still put in all the phrases that leave out words, but might stop once I'm more confident.

    5. Speed Building. From dictation and/or plates and/or answer key. I stopped this mid-theory. It was boring and discouraging. I'll probably start again once I'm done copying the entire book, including review chapters. At first I just wrote from a copy and checked total time, but found writing from dictation was very different. I hesitated in places I thought I did well!

    I'm glad I did as much dictation as I did. It made a difference. I'm also glad I stopped when I did. It was so boring I almost dropped the project entirely. (Also, I found a problem with my text-to-speech program's calibration, and WashBear hadn't put up the records yet. That made dictation even less fun.)


    Jeff, Swem's Systematic Speed Course is helpful at all speed levels. Cranking up the speed really shows you where the problems are. https://gregg-shorthand.com/2010/01/24/systematic-speed-course-for-advanced/


  5. Thanks for sharing your learning strategies, CricketB.  It' exciting that you are so close to finishing the manual!  Thanks for the reference.

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