Most people who enjoy reading would like to be able to read faster. We can enjoy magazines, books, and other material faster if we could just improve the speed of our reading. It is not necessary to take a “speed reading” course to increase the speed at which you comprehend words.
Tips for Learning to Read More Quickly
Here are some good tips for learning to read more quickly.
Go To The Optometrist
Many people who read slowly do so because they have an undiagnosed vision problem. Even if you think you have perfect vision, or currently wear corrective lenses, there’s no time like the present to get your eyes checked.
Time Your Reading Speed
It is important to find out how fast you read rigt now so that you can track your improvement. Not only will timing help tell if you’re improving, but it will also keep you motivated to read faster. How can I learn to read faster? You can break out a book and a stopwatch and time how long it takes you to read a certain number of words on a page, or find out how many words you read in a certain amount of time. There are plenty of reading speed tools available for free online: just search for “reading speed test” in your search engine. Many of these have reading comprehension tests, as well, so you can see how well you’re understanding what you’re reading. An easier way to time yourself may be the simple stopwatch test. No matter how you decide to time yourself, be sure to read at your normal speed during the test, and time yourself on a few different pages.
Adjust Reading Speed Depending on What You’re Reading
Practice Reading Blocks of Language
We almost all learned to read word-by-word or even letter-by-letter. Once you know the language you’re reading pretty well, this is actually not the most efficient method of reading. Not every word is important, and in order to read quickly you’ll need to read large groups of words at once. You probably already do this — it seems most people read three or four words at a time. Once you make an effort to be aware of your reading style, you’ll find out just how many words you read at a time. The key to reading fast is just to increase that number. Using your hand as a guide may help, or you can hold the book a little further from your eyes than you usually do.
Train Yourself Not To Reread
We all do this from time to time, but it isn’t necessary — don’t stop and skip back to words or sentences you just read to try to make sure you understood the meaning. You probably got it the first time, but because of doubt or because it is a habit, you find yourself returning to a paragraph. One good exercise to help you avoid this is to take a sheet of paper or index card and drag it down the page as you read, covering each line with the car once you’ve read it. Try to drag the card in a steady motion. Start this process slowly, and increase the speed as you feel more comfortable.
Read With Your Hand
A consistent eye motion is a key to speed reading. You can maximize your reading efficiency by using your hand as a guide. One method is to simply draw your hand down the page as you read. much like the “index card” method mentioned above. You can also brush your hand under each line you read, thinking of your hand as a dustbuster, with a sweeping motion. Your eyes are trained to instinctively follow motion, and the movement of your hand will keep your eyes moving forward. Many speed reading instruction books will warn you away from this method as it can slow down the process of learning speed reading, but for some people, this is a key to the beginning of their speed reading career..
Get Rid of All Distractions
Maybe you think you read better when you have music playing, or with the TV on. Lots of people read in a crowded coffee house or other environment, but you can probably increase your speed if you reduce distractions to a minimum. Try to find a solitary place to read, like a quiet room — and turn off the TV, radio and cell phone, etc. If no solitary place is available, try using earplugs to block out any distractions around you. This may sound extreme, but the time you’ll save with speed reading will be worth any initial weirdness you feel wearing earplugs to read. In order to maximize comprehension while reading quickly, you will need to focus on the reading material as closely as you can. Remember, the point here is speed AND comprehension.
Stop Reading To Yourself
We all do this — we think we’re reading silently, but we’re actually reading “to ourselves”. Some people actually move their lips or say the words under their breath while they read (watch people at the library — they do it all the time) while others simply say each word in their heads. No matter how you “subvocalise”, this really slows down your reading time. To break the habit, just try to be conscious of it. When you notice yourself pronouncing words to yourself, try to stop doing it. Habits are easily made but difficult to break — it may help to focus on specific key words and skip over others, or you may want to try humming to yourself to prevent what scientists who study reading call “subvocalising”. It may slow you down at first, but once you break the subvocalizing habit, you’ll be ahead of the game. One exercise to stop your lips from moving is to put a finger on your mouth and keep it there while you read. Like telling yourself to “shush”.
Become a Quicker Reader
Hopefully you’ve got the tools now to become a quicker reader. Use the time you’ve saved to read more — or to further enjoy other facets of your life. Either way, you’ve just saved yourself a ton of time — and as the saying goes, time is money.