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10 Tips To Become A Faster And More Efficient Reader – Guest Post

Posted by on Apr 26, 2010

Some of you know that I can and often speed read. It’s hard for me to tell people how I do it, since I learned it so long ago. Tom reached out and asked if he could write a guest post for this blog, and it’s on a topic I know something about and think it will help some of you who might want some tips. Enjoy.

Becoming a faster reader can significantly improve the pace at which you work and learn. Many individuals find that they have a difficult time with reading at a fast pace. They may spend hours or even weeks reading assignments, work papers, or other important documents.

The following tips will help you learn to read at a faster pace. It will require a lot of practice, but the benefits of becoming a faster reader will improve your quality of life and increase your free time.

  1. Skim: One of the best ways to speed up reading is to learn how to properly skim. Skimming is the ability to read only the essential sentences and paragraphs of a piece of writing. You can effectively skim by skipping sentences or paragraphs that contain unimportant, summarized, or repeated information.
  2. Skip Words: The fastest readers are able to quickly read by skipping words that are not essential. By focusing on only the most important words in a sentence, you will be able to read sentences with significantly increased speed. In order to read faster, you should skip “the”, “a”, “this”, “that”, and other words that are simply placeholders.
  3. Don’t Move Your Lips: Moving your lips while reading can significantly slow down your reading pace. Your mind can comprehend words much faster than your lips can verbalize them. Reading out loud or moving your lips while you’re reading can significantly slow your reading pace.
  4. Improve Vocabulary: Reading takes a lot longer when you don’t understand what you’re reading. If you find that you are stumbling over words, it may help to read with a dictionary and look up troublesome words. This will require a lot of extra work initially, but eventually you will no longer stumble over unknown words.
  5. Read with Purpose: You should always know your intention before you begin to read a piece of writing. If you are looking for a specific fact, you may want to skim for key words or phrases. If you’re reading to understand the facts about a particular subject, you may want to skip filler words and sentences. Knowing your objective before you begin reading will help you determine the manner in which you should read the passage.
  6. Read Faster: Actively attempting to read faster can increase the speed of your reading. It is not advisable to practice speed reading on homework assignments or work documents, but it’s an excellent tool to use during leisure reading. Spend several minutes per day reading at a pace that is two or three times as fast as you normally read. Eventually your brain will learn to speed up important readings too.
  7. Read More: The more you read the better you will become at reading. An excellent way to improve the speed of your reading is to simply take time each day to sit down and read.
  8. Read in Groupings: Sounding out each individual word takes a lot of time. In order to increase the speed of your reading, you should read in groupings of words or even full sentences. Your brain is capable of comprehending words and sentences visually. You do not need to sound out the words to get the gist of what they mean.
  9. Skim Passages: To read faster while improving your reading comprehension, it may help to skim the entire passage either before or after reading it more thoroughly. This will help you pick out key words and concepts, which will seem more familiar to you during the second reading.
  10. Don’t Reread: Fully rereading passages that you have already read will disrupt the pace and flow of your reading. It’s important to move on, even if you’re not sure that you fully understood the passage.

Increasing the speed of your reading can be a lot of work. The most important thing to remember is that every word in a piece of writing is not important. It’s okay to skip unnecessary words, sentences, and even paragraphs. With time and practice you will be able to increase the speed of your reading and the effort is well worth it.

Tom Walker is a writer and avid reader who works with a UK based online store specializing in print supplies such as HP 363 ink. He maintains their blog about design, art and advertising.

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Great tips! Sometimes I read so much in one day, it saves time by speed reading the least important items.
.-= Carolee´s last blog ..Make a quick $30.00 one one blog post! =-.

April 26th, 2010 | 9:38 PM

Yes, the tips were pretty neat, I must agree.

April 26th, 2010 | 10:03 PM

OK, the problem is that if you skip the non important parts of some posts you’re not left with much 😀

Seriously I think I will just practice to read faster and see if speed improves over time.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Scientific Revelation Explaining Why Some A Listers Are Assholes =-.

April 27th, 2010 | 12:36 AM

Actually Sire, you’re left with a lot. What happens, at least when you practice, is that your brain will fill in those gaps, yet you retain all the other stuff you read. It’s not meant to be perfect; my recall is between 70% to 75% when I speed read everything, which is pretty good. But I have found that sometimes I do have to slow down if the stuff I’m reading is fairly intricate. Like right now, I’m fighting through this book called the Ethics of Star Trek because it’s way deep, not what I was expecting, and I haven’t had to try to read anything like this in years.

April 27th, 2010 | 3:14 AM

I think I’ll stick with the my normal way of reading Mitch. I’m afraid of missing too much if I tried skimming the posts.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Huddle Allowing People To Collaborate Online =-.

April 27th, 2010 | 4:52 AM

great tips there, there is also the thing especially in blogging and email marketing to design your text into small 3-4 line blocks to make it easy to read.

We will have to do a guest post on each others blog sometime
.-= Peter Davies´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Or Internet Selling? =-.

April 27th, 2010 | 2:48 AM

It is a very good post, and I hope Tom comes by and responds to some of the comments the article has received.

April 27th, 2010 | 3:16 AM
Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing:

OK how exactly do you know what’s “unimportant” if you haven’t read it?

Actually, I enjoy reading comments, on other blogs, from those that have obviously tried these methods…give me good laughs while working. 😉
.-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Theme Customization 5- New Pages, Tabs, and More! =-.

April 27th, 2010 | 9:45 AM

It’s a knack you learn, Dennis. I’ve been doing it for more than 35 years at this juncture, and speed reading has served me well. Course, someone asked me last year if I thought you could teach someone “older” (yeah, you fit in that category) and I said I didn’t really believe so because by 21 or so people usually are locked into their patterns, but if they really wanted to learn it they could improve. I guess you’re in that first category; yeah, I said it! ;-P

April 27th, 2010 | 11:01 AM
Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing:

I’m comforted in the knowledge that you will always be older. 😉
.-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Theme Customization 5- New Pages, Tabs, and More! =-.

April 27th, 2010 | 5:37 PM

Ouch! Got me there! lol

April 27th, 2010 | 7:09 PM

To manage my reading load I took an online speed reading course. It really helped to solidify some of the tips discussed above and improved my words per minute.

April 29th, 2010 | 7:47 PM

I’m glad it worked for you J. If people want to, I believe they can improve, but they have to be willing. You’re proof that it can be done.

April 29th, 2010 | 11:02 PM

Thanks to Dean Koontz for fprcing me to learn the act of skimming. Damn that dude can describe a pot in 2 pages leaving you feeling bored as ever. lol. I guess The Face might be the last of his books that I’ll ever read. I’m all about getting the action right away instead of beating about the bush 😉
.-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..StrictlyOnlineBiz’s Top Blog Posts Of The Week 10 =-.

May 7th, 2010 | 3:34 PM

I was glad I could speed read when I got to one of John Grisham’s books, where he spent about 100 pages telling us how cars are built; ugh! Sale with Atlas Shrugged; I’d have never made it through that bad boy.

May 7th, 2010 | 4:16 PM

John Grisham is also guilty of that but then the plot thickens quite fast unlike Dean Koontz (Anyway THE FACE I mean) and that’s why I adore John Grisham. He get the adrenaline pumping in no time.

I don’t ever want to come across such a book again. lol
.-= Udegbunam Chukwudi´s last blog ..StrictlyOnlineBiz’s Top Blog Posts Of The Week 10 =-.

May 7th, 2010 | 4:55 PM

When Grisham eventually gets back to the book he moves things along. But when he’s really going deep on something, it can feel like hours. Heck, it is hours!

May 7th, 2010 | 7:46 PM

Thanks for the list Mitch, I think reading with purpose is the most important one. Sometimes you lose yourself in a book and simply fly trhough the pages – but only if you are interested in the subject!
.-= Jörgen Sundberg´s last blog ..Google Local Business Maps: How to Get Listed with Places =-.

June 11th, 2010 | 12:31 PM

It does all come down to how one wants to read, Jörgen, but knowing both ways can make one really efficient.

June 11th, 2010 | 12:33 PM

Your tips were really great. Hmmm.. Reading by blocks of text (not word by word) is actually a good strategy and by reading without your lips moving can help you concentrate with what you are reading–well as per experience.
Rex Tang recently posted…Ultimate Speed ReaderMy Profile

September 29th, 2011 | 9:35 AM