5 Ways To Increase Your Reading Speed
Do you find that “boring” documents take you longer to get through versus a fun fantasy novel you’re itching to find out how the story ends? You are not alone! Why you read one piece of text faster than the other could very well depend on your interest in the topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Speed reading helps with comprehension and can get you through those dry topics so you can move on to the fun ones. Improve the rate at which you read by practicing the following proven strategies that increase reading speed and strengthen comprehension.
Stop the inner monologue
Sometimes when people read, they hear the words they are reading in their heads. This is called subvocalization and is one of the main reasons people struggle with the concept of speed reading. In elementary school, you may remember hearing the instructions, “Read in your head, as I read the passage aloud.” Because you were always a good student and did as you were told, you learned to read with an inner monologue. As an adult, train yourself to read without subvocalization by not saying every word in your head. If you find this difficult, try listening to instrumental music while practicing your speed reading. The calming music is a welcome distraction and can help retrain your brain to read without the inner monologue.
Read one line at a time
Excellent speed readers are the ones that can read entire lines of text at once and comprehend it too. When you read multiple words at once, also known as word chunking, you will fly through whatever you are reading. To get from reading two words at a time to an entire line at a time, you’ll need to practice using your peripheral vision. Looking at the center of the page, use your peripheral vision to scan the rest of the words. Try it out now reading this article and see for yourself!
Set a goal of how quickly you want to read and test yourself. First, get a baseline for how quickly you can read. In general, the average reading speed is about 200 to 250 words per minute. To get the best idea of where you’re at, find an article online (like this one!) and figure out the word count (this one is 584 words). After you know the number of words, start a timer and get to reading. After a minute is up, see how you did. How many words were you able to read and comprehend? If you are within that average range, you’re off to a good start. Try the exercise again with another article and do your best to beat that time.
When you read more, you learn more! Learning new vocabulary is yet another way to increase your reading speed. When you come across an unfamiliar word, you have to stop, look it up, and then find your place where you left off to continue down the page. When you have an extensive vocabulary, you skip all of those steps that slow you down. Not to mention you’ll sound brilliant the next time you are with classmates or colleagues. Each time you read, practice all of the tips mentioned above to keep improving your reading speed.
Lastly, if you want to increase your reading speed, go all in and take our Speed Reading Foundation and Speed Reading Mastery course. Both will teach you to comprehend text at lightning speed. Click to learn more today!