10 Ways To Read Faster with Better Focus
Reading faster is not just about speed and how many words you can read per minute. It is also how much you understand the content that you have read. The most important thing you need to read faster without compromising your comprehension is to focus.
Focus is a big part of what it takes to become a speed reader because it helps retain the information you read. If you can learn to focus better, you’ll not only read faster, but you’ll do so with better comprehension. Learning to improve your focus will also help you become more productive in your professional or academic career.
But how do you focus AND read faster? Don’t worry; we got your back. This article will explain why it’s essential to learn how to speed read and the tips to read faster with better focus.
Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Use Your Hand to Guide Your Eyes While Reading
Your eyes are naturally attracted to motion. And if you use your hand to create motion on the page, your eyes will naturally follow.
Try using your hand (or a pen) and going smoothly from left to right while you read. Adjust your speed to make sure you aren’t going too slow or too fast.
If it feels uncomfortable at first, this is only because you aren’t used to reading with your hand. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel.
Tip #2: Eliminate Distractions
If you find yourself easily distracted when you read, you need to figure out which distractions can be eliminated. There will always be distractions out of your control, but we’re more concerned with distractions that are in your control.
For example, if your phone starts ringing while you’re reading, this is a distraction that is in your control, and you can eliminate it. Just turn your phone off for the time that you’ll be reading.
If you have the constant urge to check your email or Facebook while you read, then try turning your computer off while you read.
If other people constantly interrupt you, then you may want to try reading in a different location.
These are all distractions that can be controlled. And if they can be controlled, we should eliminate them to achieve a higher level of focus while reading.
Tip #3: Listen to Music While You Read
Have you ever tried listening to music while you read? It’s a great way to help you concentrate on a task, particularly reading.
Although it does depend on the type of music you are listening. Typically, classical music is ideal to help you focus while you read. Try to make sure the music is instrumental (without lyrics).
Tip #4: Take Breaks
If you have to read for an hour or more, then you should definitely make sure you factor in some breaks. Your break doesn’t have to be very long. It can be a quick 30 seconds if you want.
Taking a quick break from reading will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. You can use the break to take notes or to simply look away from the page.
Once you start reading again, you’ll feel refreshed because it will feel like you just started reading. If you try reading in 10-15 minute spurts, with quick breaks in between, you’ll notice a higher level of focus than if you just tried reading for an hour straight with no breaks.
Tip #5: Avoid Multitasking
Multitasking may seem productive because you are doing two or more tasks at once, but, according to many studies on multitasking, it actually makes you achieve less than you think.
Multitasking disrupts your concentration because it makes you switch your attention between reading and doing other tasks. The disruption can lower your efficiency, make you quickly forget details, and make it harder for you to comprehend the material you are reading.
Tip #6: Set a Goal
Setting reading goals can help improve your concentration, which can increase your efficiency and speed of reading. Having a specific goal can help you get through the reading material quickly.
In setting a reading goal, make it more specific and concrete. How many pages or chapters do you want to finish? How many words per minute do you want to achieve?
You also decide how much time you want to allot to each reading goal. The time limit can help you take a break in-between and complete more goals than you expect.
Then, list your reading goals to help your mind solidify your goals. The list can remind you of your goals and give you satisfaction once you tick each goal as “done.”
Tip #7: Practice proper reading position
Your posture can affect your awareness level and your focus on reading. So, it is important that you adjust your posture when you read. A proper posture improves your focus while reading and prevents health issues caused by poor posture.
When you read, adopt a comfortable yet upright position that will keep you alert. You can have a designated chair for your reading which you should adjust to achieve a proper sitting posture. Also, ensure that you have proper support for your entire back.
Tip #8: Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is also an important factor that can affect your focus and reading comprehension.
Reading requires your brain to be at its optimum level of functioning to receive and process information.
Lack of sleep can result in a lack of concentration, difficulty learning and retaining new information, and emotional instability.
Getting enough sleep can set your mind clear, thus improving focus and mood and minimizing distractibility during reading. It can also make it easier for you to achieve your reading goals.
Tip #9: Excercise
Regular exercise is good for your physical body and good for your brain. It can enhance creativity and memory, strengthen mental stamina, and improve concentration.
It helps relieve stress, one of the main reasons for the inability to focus, by relaxing your muscles and easing the tension on your body. It also releases happy hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help elevate your mood and improve your focus and attention.
Tip #10: Take a reading course
There are specialized reading courses that can improve your focus and reading speed. Such courses have a comprehensive outline to guide you in every step towards improving speed reading while maintaining focus and not sacrificing comprehension.
If you are hesitant, Iris Reading offers accessible and convenient online reading courses.
If you want even more tips for maintaining strong focus while speed reading, check out this article.
Why is it important to learn how to speed read?
Speed reading is a skill that lets you process written information quickly by increasing your words-per-minute rate without compromising your comprehension. Developing this skill can give you more benefits in the long run, whether in academics, career, or life in general.
On average, people can read 200 to 300 words per minute. It can increase up to 500 words per minute, but more than that can compromise your reading comprehension.
Increasing your speed in reading allows you to understand the written material in a short amount of time without sacrificing information. It enables you to manage your time and be more productive.
It also improves your analysis skills and cognitive flexibility because speed reading lets you learn and recognize patterns in the written material. An improved analysis skill can help you become more strategic in responding to information and answering questions.
Additionally, speed reading serves as a brain exercise that can improve your brain performance, allowing you to process information efficiently.
It also improves your memory, which lets you remember more information than before.
Speed reading will enhance your logical thinking and make your thinking process faster because your brain gets used to receiving and quickly organizing information. Hence, you can easily retrieve and analyze information and come up with new or better solutions quickly.
It also helps you be more socially engaged because a speed reader can share the information learned from reading.
Lastly, speed reading helps you improve your focus. Since the brain receives a lot of information while speed reading, it is focused on doing its job.
However, focus is something that you need to set and work on by following the tips we discussed above.
Focus is an essential recipe for reading because it allows you to comprehend better what you read and increase your reading speed.
We have presented a series of techniques you can implement to maintain focus while reading faster to help you develop or enhance your speed reading skill. Begin using them today, practice as often as you can, and you’ll soon see results.
However, if these tips are not effective for you, don’t worry because Iris Reading can help you. You can enroll in our Speed Reading Foundation course for a comprehensive guide on speed reading. Ideal for students, professionals, and lifelong learners, this course can help you learn practical strategies for enhancing comprehension.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.