8 Speed Reading Tips
Most people read at a speed of 200-250 words, on average.
But what if you could double – and even triple! – your reading speed? Imagine how much you’d be able to get done!
Before you get disappointed, speed reading is not exactly rocket science – it’s a skill anyone can master. And as with any other skill, it’s mostly patience and practice.
And if you think you’d be able to get a lot of things done with speed reading, then you’re right.
Read on to find out how to double your reading speed without losing on comprehension with the most effective speed reading tips out there!
Calm the mind
This is one of the speed reading tips no one tells you about: you’ve got to empty the mind first. The logic behind it is really simple – if your mind is cluttered, your focus won’t be as sharp.
The best way to approach this is to meditate. Meditation calms the mind and helps you anchor your attention to the present. Even 7-10 minutes are going to make a huge difference!
Meditation is not your cup of tea? Give walking meditation a try or do a quick brain dump on paper!
Skim the text first
Skimming is the foundation of speed reading. That’s the way people read online nowadays – most people scan and skim, and then stop to read whatever grabs their interest.
When it comes to speed reading, skimming helps you get a better sense of what’s the text about. For example, if you’re skimming a long letter, you’ll be able to take the major points out of the text in the first minute.
Pro tip: Be careful when skimming important files or documents – it might not be the best time to practice doubling your reading speed.
Stop reading out loud in your head
The number one reason why people are unable to pick up their reading speed – subvocalization.
Subvocalization is when you read out loud in your head – letter by letter, word by word. And you do that with every single sentence.
Most of the time, subvocalization is just a bad habit you’ve probably picked up at school when you were first learning how to read. (remember how your teacher made you read letter by letter, word by word, slowly and deliberately?
To practice speed reading, ditch the voice in your head. Obviously, that’s easier said than done but a good place to start is to simply become more aware of it.
Read with your eyes
One way to pick up your reading speed is to learn how to read with your eyes. Here’s how to do that:
Focus on word chunks, lines of text or even full paragraphs. Don’t focus on single words or phrases.
Look at the middle of the sentence but use your peripheral vision to read the whole sentence – not just the middle part of it.
Move your eyes left to right fast – without losing track of where you were. Use your finger if needed to guide you.
For now, don’t worry as much about completely understanding every single paragraph – put your attention to practicing this more and more.
Read chunks of text
As tip #4 follows, sometimes, reading word-by-word is what’s slowing you down.
Still not clear by what we mean here?
Here’s a sample sentence: Today, me and my mom were baking some apple pie together – can’t wait until my dad gets back home and tastes it!
If you were reading word by word, it’s going to take you a while to get to the end. But here’s how you can group the words together to read it faster.
[today] + [me and my mom] + [were baking some apple pie] + [together] + [can’t wait] + [until my dad] + [gets back home] + [and tastes it!]
Pro tip: As with any other tip on the list, this is going to take some practice – don’t give up on the first try!
How many times have you gone back to a sentence or a particular word trying to fully understand what the author meant?
Believe it or not, re-reading parts – especially parts with little significance – is what takes up most of your reading time.
If speed matters, then give up re-reading until you reach the very end. Most of the time, the parts you’d usually re-read won’t matter but if it turns out they do, you can always go back to them again.
Pro tip: Avoid doing this while studying or reading important documents!
Use the Pomodoro technique
Or in other words, use a timer.
The original Pomodoro technique breaks down work – or in this case, reading time – into chunks of 25 minutes but you do as you please.
To get started, decide what your goal is to finish reading in 25 minutes, set the timer, and get going. This puts you under just enough pressure to read faster and feels like some sort of a challenge.
Don’t forget to track your progress each day. Simply write down how many words/pages you’ve managed to read and look back every once in a while.
Pro tip: Even if you use a timer, apply the rest of the tips introduced here for best results.
And last but not least, the best speed reading tip is this one: just read more.
By reading more, not only does your vocabulary expand but also, you better at it – and should we even mention the many amazing things you get to learn?
Successful people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk make sure to spend at least a couple of hours per day on reading. If they can do it, so can you!
Commit to reading 15 minutes before bed and work your way up from there. You’re bound to notice a difference!