Posted by Mitch Mitchell 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.