Ways & How

How to Read Faster

How to Read Faster

Learning how to read faster can save you a lot of time and help you get through the pile of books and magazines you’ve been meaning to read for the longest time. In this age of information overload, we have to read more than before if we want to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world. Much of this reading doesn’t require memorization and deep contemplation. This is information that we need to get through quickly, retain for a few days, and then replace or add to as new information arrives. This is true of news, entertainment reading, many email exchanges, children’s homework, and internet material. What slows us down is that we spend the same amount of time focusing on light reading as we do on crucial reading material. However, when eating, we don’t chew oatmeal as much as we do steak. We should have the same attitude towards reading.

  1. Stop vocalization. You may have a habit of which you are unaware: mouthing words as you read them, or sounding them out in your head. This is just a habit. It does not affect how well you comprehend what you read, but it does slow you down.

    ou need to stop doing it.

  2. You have probably seen or read a variant before of the paragraph in which all the letters except the first and letters of each word are in a jumble. You likely found that you were able to read the paragraph without any trouble. Why was this? It was because your brain was smart enough to figure it out. The fact is that you can read whole words at a time, and from that, whole sentences. When reading whole chunks of text, take them in as chunks, not as individual letters or words. You may think this is impossible, but with constant practice you will find that you can do it. That’s one quick way to read faster.

  3. Don’t dawdle. This requires you to train your eye and practice constantly, because as you learn to read, you develop certain habits. They include vocalization, as described above, stopping between sentences, going back over what you have already read, and frequent eye movement across the page. All these habits disrupt the smooth flow of reading and slow you down.

  4. Practice, practice, practice. As you move from one reading technique to another, you will find that your speed increases at the expense of comprehension. This is to be expected, because you’re undoing years of habit and forming new ones. But as you practice speed reading, you will also challenge yourself and develop new ways of absorbing and processing information. Eventually, you will learn to improve your level of comprehension.

  5. Pace yourself. Time yourself to see how long it takes you to read a few pages of text, and then challenge yourself to read more than that in the same length of time. To make sure that you are taking in new material, read new pages, don’t go over those you’ve read before. Use the techniques described above.

  6. You may want to use a “tracker” or “pacer” – something that will remind your eye to move on at a constant pace. This can be as simple as a pen or an index card. Make as if you’re underlining the line you’re reading with the pen, or hold the index card below it. Move the pen or card at a constant pace, and force your eye to follow it as it moves. Do not allow your eye to go back, stop, or dally. This will train it to move at a constant, consistent pace.

Master the techniques described above and you will be well on your way to learning how to read faster.


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