Speed Reading: The Definitive Guide On How To Speed Read
Reading is quite a complex but important skill. If you look closely at how your body actually does it, When you read, your brain, ears, eyes, and even your mouth get engaged during the entire process. The good news is that anyone can learn how to speed read with proper guidance and techniques
Through reading, you let yourself discover and learn new things.
Whatever you learn will teach you one or two things to further what you already know and not know, which you can use in becoming successful.
Why is Reading Important?
For a person to function well in today’s society, one must have the ability to read and understand what they read.
Reading is a vital skill. If you want to apply for a job, you have to have the ability to read to be able to understand the information written in the job listing, to know the job description and most importantly to fill out the questions written in the application form.
Another example is reading information about what’s in a medicine bottle. This is very important since life can be at stake.
Reading is important because through reading your mind is developed.
To read is to exercise the mind and understanding what you have read enables the mind to grow and become knowledgeable.
Children are taught to read because it helps their language skills to develop, which is important for them to be able to communicate properly.
As a tool for communication, reading lets you connect with what’s happening around you either by reading a magazine or online news.
Generally speaking, with the amount of information one gets during the course of a day, learning strategies that will make you read faster are practical.
Think of it this way – if you are able to zip through your lists and papers in half the amount of time it usually takes you to finish, you will save time and will be able to make room for additional tasks to work on.
What is Speed Reading?
Speed reading is about using and Training your eyes.
When you read, your eyes move across the page, sometimes jumping ahead more than one word at a time. During these quick glances, one can take in one to five words at a time.
Speed reading takes advantage of these quick glances to build on your reading skills.
With practice, your eyes will be trained to:
- Take in several words in one glance, unless a word is not familiar.
- Expand your vision, making you read and understand several words in one glance.
- Widen your vision so that your eyes will be able to read vertically as well as horizontally in a single line. This means that in one glance, you will be able to see and comprehend several words on two or three different lines.
Read More: Reasons to Speed Read
When speed reading, your senses are more engaged than normal and your brain power works more efficiently.
Your senses are honed to be able to read and take in information faster.
Although this way of reading can lead to less comprehension, through practice this can be prevented.
Different Techniques to Read Faster
There are several techniques one can use to improve their ability to read faster. The following are the most commonly used methods:
1. Selective Reading
Depending on the word, the time it takes your brain to process one from the other may differ.
In a sentence, some words are not really important and may be skipped without losing the thought it wants to convey.
Some readers are able to do this instinctively while some may require practice before comfortably doing so.
This method teaches you to prioritize words which are important, and you will focus on these words.
Because you focus on important words, your comprehension is also enhanced. Words such as while, is, much, and on are just some of the small words that can be skipped.
2. Expand Your Field Of Vision
In speed reading, increasing the distance between your eyes and the text is important for a number of reasons.
This widens your field of vision so you can see more words in one glance. Your eyes travel less preventing the muscles from getting easily tired as well as covering a larger distance.
3.Utilize Good Lighting
Ensuring that your reading environment is appropriately lit – meaning not so dull that your energy will decrease and not so bright that your eyes will get strained easily – will enable you to read comfortably.
Good lighting includes natural off-white lighting, even lighting, or daytime lighting, with no shadows that hover over the texts.
Read More: How To Read a Book Fast
4. Pointer Method
If you are just beginning to learn speed reading, this is a great technique to practice – and it’s one used by some of the most effective teaching methods in good courses.
This method was developed by Evelyn Wood, the legend and creator of speed reading.
This method will force your eyes to adapt to the speed of your pointer. Use your pointer finger or a pen and trace it under the words, with the tip of the pointer guiding your eyes.
The pace of the pointer should be faster than your usual reading speed. Once you feel that your eyes have adapted to the new speed, continually increase your speed whenever you read.
- You won’t have a hard time keeping tabs on which part of the whole page you are reading, especially if you get easily distracted or look away.
- Ensures that your speed is at or faster than your present top speed.
- Speed is consistently maintained throughout.
- This method may require some getting used to before you can effectively practice it to your advantage.
- By scanning, you enhance your reading skills and comprehension by capturing the main idea of the material you are reading. This technique will teach you to scan for important numbers, names, and other trigger words. The more you practice, the better you become in identifying important sentences in a paragraph.
Read More: Hand Pacing
5. Block Reading
With this method, instead of the usual practice of reading words individually, you read multiple words in blocks of a set width.
The width will depend on your mastery of the technique, but one can start with 3 words per length and can be increased to as many as 5 words.
More Read: Speed Reading Techniques
6. Adaptive Speed Reading
For this method, you are recommended to match your speed to the type of material you are reading. For difficult content,
It is recommended that you slow your reading speed to 250 words per minute, but if it’s something unimportant and relatively easy, skimming or scanning a page will work.
7. Getting A Course To Learn Speed Reading
A course in speed reading is commonly utilized as an effective means of learning because good courses involve proven techniques and guidance from experts in the field of speed reading.
A good course will provide tested methods for the reader to practice on. It also includes a combination of exercises that will help you improve your reading skills.
A good course will teach you step-by-step how to read over 1,000 words per minute with full comprehension and retention of what you have read.
These two qualities are very important when considering a course in speed reading because they are the usual things a learning speed reader may take for granted. Some of the things that you will learn by using a good course are:
- How to radically increase your reading speed.
- How to effectively remove mental roadblocks that may affect your reading skills.
- How to train your mind to skip unimportant words.
- Tricks on how to read faster.
- How to avoid critical mistakes that are commonly made by speed readers.
- The type of reading 100% necessary for academic texts.
- How to decrease the instances of your eyes skipping back to already read the text.
- How to increase your information perception by 50%.
- How to improve memory and concentration by more than 10%.
Some Good Courses also Gives You:
- Speed test Tool-Know Exactly how fast is your reading rate at any Instant of time with their speed reading test tool.
- Memory Improvement techniques-with this you will be empowered with tested and proven to work techniques and methods that allow you to comprehend and remember regardless of how fast you read.
I would give details of some Good Courses once you learn some basics.
Tim Ferris Teaches speed reading skills and techniques in an epic post (https://tim.blog/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated-learning/) and with an insightful youtube video as below:-
Advantages of Speed Reading
If you like to read, or your job requires you to do a lot of reading, then speed reading is a skill that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
It will make your daily life easier due to the benefits that you can get from knowing how to do it.
Some of the reasons why you should consider learning how to speed read are:
It Gives You Confidence And a Sense Of Empowerment
People are usually more confident in themselves when they are better equipped with knowledge and information about what’s going on in the news, work-related information, and more.
This can be a lot of information to take in simultaneously, but if you know how to read fast and comprehend well, this can make things easier for you.
A person can become easily forgetful as they grow older or if they are busy.
Speed reading, if done correctly, will not only make you read faster but will also make you better understand the meaning of what you read.
This is because the mind is trained to become more efficient at processing information Your memory is also enhanced as your mind becomes efficient.
When you understand the topic of the subject well, it becomes part of what you know, thus you will be able to remember it easily.
Read: Improve Your Memory
It Increases Your Ability To Learn
Learning is continuous throughout your life. Like change, learning is permanent.
Speed reading gives you the ability to learn more by giving you more time to spend on other things.
This is because you spend less time reading something to learn it and more time actually doing it yourself.
It teaches you how to focus so that no time is wasted by your eyes getting fixated on something else or your mind focusing on other thoughts.
Most of the time, stress is associated with thinking of numerous things at the same time.
In a way, speed reading can help you by training your mind to focus. Focus is very important in becoming efficient with what you do.
If your mind is focused, you can think clearly and become more productive.
Having different thoughts running through your mind makes you stressed because you can’t concentrate on what you are doing at the moment, making it harder for you.
It Teaches You To Be Innovative
The popular saying is true: knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you become in using what you know.
Knowledge enables you to cross-pollinate ideas because you are well-informed you can come up with ideas that may seem out-of-the-box but are actually possible since they are based on information that you have learned.
The more you learn, the more your mind gets equipped with knowledge which can become useful in the future.
Enhances Problem-Solving Skills
Speed reading courses train your mind to process and absorb quickly. It allows you to stream information to your subconscious mind.
The more you read, the more information gets in. This will enable you to harness your critical thinking ability. Because your mind is trained to respond fast, you are able to process and think quickly.
How to Improve Your Reading Speed and Comprehension
By now, you may have realized the importance of reading and comprehension. To help you get better with your skills, here are some tips that you may want to use as guidelines:
Prioritize What You Read
Although the habit of reading is useful for one’s productivity and increase in knowledge, the learning factor is highly dependent on the kind of material that you read.
You can prioritize your reading by separating the important things from the not-so-important ones.
By doing so, you can start reading the important ones while your mind is fresh and in its best state, and save the latter for when your mind can be more relaxed.
Start Early In The Day
Many people can concentrate better by starting to read important material early in the day when your mind is fresh and still energized from the night’s rest.
Skim To Get An Idea Of The Material
You can do this by scanning the table of contents first or reading the overview of the material.
By doing this, you get yourself familiarized with the structure of the material, its content, which parts you can skim through and which parts you need to read in detail.
Create The Proper Environment For Reading
Making yourself comfortable and ensuring that the room where you will be reading is properly lit will promote better absorption of information.
Preferably, place your reading material a little far away from your eyes to expand your field of vision and prevent your eyes from getting strained easily. Don’t read in bed if you need your mind to be alert and sharp.
More Read: Increase Your Reading Rate
Break Poor Reading Habits
Most people practice reading habits that actually slow them down. Common habits that you need to overcome are:
- Sub-Vocalization. This is the habit of repeating each word in your head as you read it. This takes more time because understanding a word is faster than actually saying it. The same happens when you say the word in your head. Practice not saying the words you read until you get used to it. Reading blocks of words might be helpful.
- Reading Word-By-Word. According to studies, people who read multiple words or blocks of words rather than each word understand the content better. You can practice reading words in blocks through expanding your field of vision by holding a book far from you. This will also prevent your eyes from getting strained easily.
- Inefficient Eye Motion. Out of habit, most readers don’t make use of their peripheral vision to see the words at the end of each line. Avoid this by relaxing your face and expanding your gaze This will soften your gaze when you read, allowing you to see blocks of words instead of single words.
- Poor Concentration. When you read, keep distractions to a minimum. Preferably, read in a room where you can focus, without distracting sounds coming from the television and other external sources. Improve concentration by avoiding multitasking while reading.
LAST UPDATED: February 19th, 2019