6 Steps to Read Difficult Texts Faster | Iris Reading
6 Steps to Read Difficult Texts Faster

6 Steps to Read Difficult Texts Faster

6 Steps to Read Difficult Texts Faster

Whether you are reading some papers for your assignment or going through files for work, you will likely come across some type of text almost every day. 

Reading is surely an integral part of our lives. However, where reading is essential, it can also be very mentally exhausting for most people. Especially if the text is difficult, it can be hard to read it efficiently and quickly. 

To read difficult texts faster, preview what you are reading and try understanding the bigger picture portrayed in the text instead of understanding every word. Make sure you understand why you are even reading the text in the first picture, so you can look for the right information when going through the text. And you can also try different reading techniques to improve your pace and write a summary to make sure you remember the information. 

In this post, we will discuss some steps that can help you read difficult texts faster and efficiently. So stick with us and read on.

1. Preview what you are reading

Before you even start reading, look over the text and preview it. The benefit of previewing the text is seeing how the text is organized and viewing the content that you might be learning. 

In other words, if you have an academic paper to study, for example, don’t jump directly into reading it. Instead, take a couple of seconds to quickly skim through the pages to see the headings and how the text is organized. 

You may learn what the text talks about after viewing the headings. This can help build anticipation and allow you to stay engaged and motivated as you dive into reading. 

Reading the abstract of the paper can also help to get the gist of the reading before starting it. 

2. Understand why you are reading the text

Ask yourself why you are reading the text before you start doing so. You might be looking for specific information or trying to understand a concept or a hypothesis. This helps set a goal that you wish to achieve once you have completed the reading. 

For instance, if you are going through some important document at work, you should know what sort of information you are looking for. This will allow you to look for that information in the right direction and, perhaps, skip the information that is not needed. 

Similarly, as a student, you don’t need to study 12 pages of text, trying to grasp everything out of it. Instead, determining what you should be learning from the text, for instance, an important concept or the author’s hypothesis, will help you remember and make note of only the important information. 

Once you know what you are looking for in the text, it will also allow you to keep following up with your goal. If you realize that you have read, perhaps, everything but didn’t understand what you were trying to, it will be an excellent reminder to reread the text. You can then go through the text again and try making up for whatever information you missed the first time.

3. Be mindful and cut down distractions

You do need to put in some effort when reading a difficult text. It is not something that you can read when sitting in a busy cafe with your friends or while listening to songs in the background. Difficult texts call for extra attention.

Since you need to carefully understand the text and piece everything together, it is important to cut down distractions around you. It can be extremely difficult to complete even one page of reading if you are constantly distracted because of other factors.

Therefore, when you sit down to study, make sure that you pay complete attention to the text. If you find yourself distracting, then try resolving the matter.

For instance, if there is too much noise around you, try shifting to a room where you can read peacefully. Or if there is something pestering you mentally, such as a task you need to complete, then find ways to resolve your discontent. 

Minimizing external noise and interruptions can help you dive into the reading and think actively about it. If you still find yourself thinking about other issues, try consciously bringing your attention back to the text. If the reading is too long, it is always a good habit to take a break and resume later. 

4. Don’t try to understand every single word

Many people try to understand every single thing written in a text. However, it’s not always possible to make sense of everything written in a text but still get the gist of the entire reading. Therefore, if you don’t understand something despite trying a couple of times, move on to the next paragraph or text. 

It can be tempting to read everything written in a text because our mind continuously tells us that we are missing out on something or not doing a good job if we don’t understand everything. However, this is not true.

It’s possible that you don’t understand everything either because of your academic level, language barriers, or just because the author wrote a very confusing statement. You should focus on understanding the bigger picture in the text instead of nitpicking every sentence and paragraph. 

5. Try speed reading techniques

Various techniques can help you boost your reading speed and understand difficult texts. These include the pointer method and the tracker and pacer method.

The pointer method involves placing a card under every line you are reading and then bringing it downwards as you advance through the page. The card supports meta guiding or hand-pacing throughout the page. 

There is another technique, called the tracker and pacer method, which involves underlining every line with a pen as you read through it while keeping your eye on the pen’s tip. This can help to increase your pacing while enhancing your focus. 

6. Summarize what you have read

Just reading the text should not be your goal. It is also important to memorize what you have read so you can refer back to it. You can accomplish this by making a summary.

Write a few sentences of the text that you have read once you have finished it. Identify if you have any questions that you would like to explore. Just by thinking about what you have read, you can remember the information and identify if you have missed out on something. 

There are also other ways to retain the information you have learned. For instance, there are various online courses that can help you improve your memory skills. Iris Reading offers an online memory-improving course that covers practical techniques to help the participants improve the way they learn things. 

The course includes 90 minutes of content that is available to you for life once you get access to the course. You can also get a certificate of completion once you have gone through the course.

Iris Reading also offers a productivity course with 33 instructional videos that will teach you how to make the most of your time, beat procrastination, and improve your focus. You will also learn how to be more efficient with your tasks, such as reading. 


Reading is essential in our daily lives. However, when the text is extra difficult, it can be a little hard to read it quickly and efficiently. Luckily, there are various ways to go through complex texts in a short time. 

A good practice to understand difficult texts quickly is to first skim through them and get a gist of what might be discussed. Going through the headings and discovering how the text is organized can be helpful before diving in.

Then, understanding why you are reading the text is essential. Thus you’ll know what exactly you are looking for in the text. 

Also, make sure that you are reading in a distraction-free environment so you can completely focus on the reading. 

There are also various techniques that you can try for speed reading, like the pointer technique and the tracker and pacer method that we detailed above.

Lastly, it is important to ensure that you retain what you have read. In this regard, you can always make a summary in the end with the key points that you have grasped from the reading and whatever remaining questions you have that you want to explore further. 

And if you feel you’ll benefit more from professional help, you can sign up for an online reading course that can help you improve the way you read. Sign up for the memory-boosting course at Iris Reading today.

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  • Magdalena Rojas

    The article was very easy to follow, the language used to explain the subject was simple, clear and straight forward. Very well structured. I really enjoyed it. Thank you!