Did you know that the average reading speed is approximately 300 words per minute?
People who can speed read, however, can easily double that result. A fast reader has a higher potential to be a smart professional because they can access and process information faster than others. You can easily outpace your competitors.
Becoming a faster reader requires more than reading a lot. Discover more techniques and tips to boost your reading speed with our list below:
Use a Tracker
The first step is to use a tracker. Some people underline words and sentences using a pen. Others take a straight edge, such as a ruler, and then descend as they keep on reading.
Reading with a tracker is helps keep you moving. The tracker prevents you from suddenly getting lost. You won’t waste time trying to figure out which line you were last reading, helping you keep the momentum moving down.
It also stops you from going back to reread previous lines, called regressing. We’ll tackle the issue of rereading in a separate segment below.
Don’t Talk to Yourself
Your inner voice is a major antagonist when it comes to speed reading. You should try to stop talking to yourself while reading.
If you wait for your inner voice to read the words out loud, you’ll slow yourself down. Before you know it, you might end up reading out loud, using your mouth. Physically reading is a lot slower than reading silently in your head.
There are a few ways of preventing your inner voice from getting in the way. One oft-suggested method is to chew on something while reading. Chewing and constantly moving your tongue will cut down the physical act of reading, keeping the process solely in your head.
Bookmark Reading Content
Every time you find something difficult or voluminous to read, bookmark it. It’s easy to bookmark pages on Windows. For Apple users, here’s a short but in-depth guide regarding bookmarks on Mac.
Bookmarking difficult text is a good way to re-test your reading speed. Even if you read a particular page before, you won’t be able to immediately memorize every word and line. To further prevent getting accustomed to a page’s content, cycle through dozens of bookmarks when performing a speed reading test.
What kind of content should you bookmark? Focus on pages with tons of difficult words, jumbled sections, and multiple headers. This ensures you can practice a lot of the other tips on this list.
Don’t Reread Text
Regressing is the process of going back to reread text you already passed. Speed readers never go back to reread passages they already went through.
Instead of rereading, force yourself to just push forward and keep reading. Don’t worry about comprehension. Your brain will catch up and process the blocks of information as you continue reading.
Group Words Together
One of the best tips to speed read is to chunk several words together. Instead of reading a line word per word, it’s a lot faster to process words as a group. Your brain will automatically process the meaning of those words due to their association.
You can start with simple paragraphs first. Some speed readers start practicing this method by reading children’s books. Focus on books with a lot of rhymes so you can sort out confusing chunks and prevent yourself from misreading lines.
As you get better at grouping words while speed reading, start focusing on more difficult lines. A good suggestion is to speed read fiction books, particularly science fiction and fantasy books. Books like The Lord of the Rings, Dune, and the Harry Potter books are all great selections.
Improve Peripheral Vision
The next step is to start reading from the center. This is perhaps one of the harder techniques to master. Since childhood, people learn to read from left to right.
Reading from the center doesn’t mean you can’t fully absorb the whole length of the text. Your peripheral vision should be able to capture the gist of the words located at the sides. If you practice reading chunks of words, your brain will automatically be able to piece the sides and the center phrases together.
One way to practice this is to start with thinner paragraphs. Copy a bunch of text you want to read, open a new MS Word or Google Docs document, and paste it. Adjust the margin, making it larger, to group the words closer to the center.
As you get better, decrease the margin size. This will spread the words further to the sides.
Enhance Your Vocabulary
Are you still struggling a bit to comprehend what you sped through? One of the biggest obstacles when trying to understand what you read is your vocabulary. The more words you know, the easier it will be for your brain to piece the information and meaning together no matter how fast you read.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to boost your vocabulary. Some people focus on reading literature. Others like to read through a thesaurus and dictionary.
One fun way to boost your vocabulary is to take a word and then create two separate lists in your head. The first list should focus on words that rhyme with the first word you came up with. Make sure to keep increasing the number of syllables in the words you list down.
The next list should focus on synonyms and antonyms. This will help increase your understanding of the word.
Do you want to test your speed reading skills? Get a timer. At a specific time per day, get some of the most difficult passages you already bookmarked and keep reading.
When the timer buzzes, stop reading. Using your mouse, select all the passages you read and use an extension or tool to quickly perform a word count. Aim to increase the word count each day.
Boost Your Reading Speed Today
Now you know how to become a faster reader.
Boosting your reading speed isn’t impossible as long as you follow these tips. Don’t reread; stop your inner reading voice, use a tracker, and read from the center. Enhance your vocabulary and chunk words as a group while reading.
Did you enjoy this speed reading guide and want more tips like these? If you do, feel free to read our other posts today. We cover topics about travel, business, relationship, and finance.