8 Ways to Improve Your Reading Speed

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8 Ways to Improve Your Reading Speed

You should be able to identify specific ideas after a quick skim

8 Ways to Improve Your Reading Speed

Do you have a lot of paperwork to get through with a deadline that continues to stalk you every minute of your day? Do you have a lot of reading to do? Do you simply just want to read at a faster rate, whether it's a book or just work? Don’t worry, we've got your back. Here are 8 ways to help increase your reading speed.

1. Size-Up the Task

Assess the work you’re about to do. Skim the text first and look for important points. Catch the headings and subheadings; read the first and the last paragraphs of several chapters; get accustomed to the writer’s style. Grasp the forest before focusing on the trees. You should be able to identify the main ideas after a quick skim.

2. Cover words you've already read

When reading, your eyes often move back to previously-read words. Most of the time, these are short movements that probably don't improve understanding. Use your hand to cover words right after you've read them, training yourself not to overuse this habit. These 'regressions' also happen when you've failed to understand something. If your eyes jump several words or lines back, that's a sign that you may need to slow down.

3. Turn off that voice in your head

Another habit we picked up when learning to read in grade school is to sound out words, often from reading aloud. Even as adults, most of us retain this habit to some extent, as over the years, we become habitual of speaking the words in our minds. The problem with this is that it takes up unnecessary time because we can understand a word more quickly than we can say it. 

One way to eliminate the voice is to read blocks of words (as mentioned in point 1), as it’s much harder to vocalise sets of words than single words. Simply eliminating this voice can drastically increase your ability to read faster. However, this technique does tend to reduce your enjoyment of a well-written text, so you can manipulate this trick for your favorite crime novelist or poet.

4. Ask questions about the text before you start reading

This technique is used by teachers to improve reading comprehension, but it’s also a good way to help you read faster. If you have some idea about what useful information can be taken from the text, make yourself a set of questions, and then read quickly to find the answers. This will definitely save your time which you tend to spend when reading through useless information.

5. Don’t multitask while reading

One of the worst reading habits is reading while watching TV, listening to the radio, or even allowing mental interference to distract you from what you are reading. If you think you can multitask, think again. 

If you want to read faster, you MUST obliterate the distractions and focus solely on the task. Find a quiet space, turn off your phone's notifications, and settle into a comfy chair. 

6. Set a Goal

Holding yourself accountable will ensure you stick with your reading and your time tests. Give yourself a goal of a certain number of pages to read each day/week/etc., and stick to it. When you reach it, treat yourself. Incentivising your tasks and goals has never hurt anyone.

7. Work on improving your vocabulary

Think about it: You’re reading peacefully and at a good pace when you come across a word you don’t know. Do you skip it? Do you try to figure it out by context? Do you stop to look it up? Whichever course of action you take, you are slowing your time significantly, if not stopping it altogether.

8. Skim the main points first

Finally, when you have a time crunch and need to get something read by, like yesterday, take a deep breath and calm down. Open the book, and take some time reading over all the main points. Read the table of contents. Read the subtitles. Read the captions under the diagrams. Get an overall feel of the chapter/section/etc.

Next, read the first paragraph of each main section. Read the last. Read the middle. Think this over in your head, and piece it together.

Developing reading skills are the key to mental and professional growth. These simple tricks are bound to help you like never before. Try these and thank us later. Happy reading!!