Can Speed Reading Be Learned? (Explained for Beginners) | Iris Reading
Can Speed Reading Be Learned

Can Speed Reading Be Learned? (Explained for Beginners)

Can Speed Reading Be Learned

Anyone can learn speed reading. It’s a powerful tool for expanding your knowledge, improving your school experience, or advancing your career.

Speed reading is an effective way to increase your reading speed. To read faster, a silent reader must learn to eliminate subvocalization (silent speech).

 Individuals can also use their peripheral vision to connect words seamlessly. If you don’t have these skills, they are easy to learn.

Reading is a global activity and one of the most critical abilities for gaining access to information or learning new things. How can we organize this procedure so it is as effective and efficient as possible? 

Speed reading is perfect for readers who have trouble focusing for extended periods. It requires quick eye movements and strengthens cognitive abilities. It is believed to increase one’s intelligence as well.

Speed readers use a cognitive strategy to scan large amounts of information. As a result, they can comprehend and remember what they have read more thoroughly.

Do you want to learn more about speed learning? Continue reading to find out how speed reading can help you. This article also examines the most effective speed reading strategies and how to understand them.

What is speed reading, and why do you need it?

Speed reading is using specialized techniques to read and digest information quickly.  

The processing rates of your eyes and brain impact how fast you can read. When you scan a sentence, your eyes digest information in one tiny chunk, roughly 2 or 3 characters at a time. Fast readers may read six to seven characters in a single concentration.

Slow readers can significantly boost their reading rates by employing speed reading techniques. 

Speed reading is an acquired habit rather than a natural talent or ability. Therefore, mastering high-speed reading takes practice and time.

Speed reading is helpful if you want to comprehend the gist of your reading as quickly as possible.

It is crucial for students with limited study time to read several documents. It helps them understand the essential elements fast.

Speed reading is also helpful for stenographers and court clerks who type quickly and don’t want to spend time revising their work. If you want to work in a fast-paced environment, speed reading is a crucial skill to have.

People who use speed reading claim that it improves their intellect because it requires quick eye movements. Speed readers process information faster as their brains adjust to the rapid information flow. 

The more they practice speed reading, the better their understanding and memory will become. Furthermore, this reading style improves the brain’s problem-solving and self-confidence abilities.

Speed reading is a practice that holds a lot of potential and rewards. But like anything else, it is most beneficial when used correctly.

Is speed reading a skill that can be learned?

In a nutshell, YES. Speed reading, like any other skill, can be learned and perfected if one sets their mind to it. It may take some time, but you can perfect it with enough practice.

 Implementing techniques such as the pointer approach and skimming can help you read faster.

On average, a reader reads 183 words every minute. However, with consistent practice, you may quickly increase your speed to more than 200 words per minute.

Understanding what you are reading and recalling the information is required for good reading. As a result, you must improve your learning capacities.

You should read daily and study in a distraction-free environment to improve your reading and learning abilities. Remember to allow yourself ample time to develop the skill.

Begin with more straightforward text and progress to more complex and technical documents. You will ultimately come upon difficult language, sentence styles, and material.

Along with these general tips, multiple other techniques can make you more efficient in speed reading. 

How long does it take to learn speed reading?

The time taken to learn speed reading is subjective. Depending on how much effort you are willing to dedicate to learning the skill, it can take a couple of weeks. And in some cases, the process can take up to several months. 

How long it takes to increase your reading speed depends on how much work you put in. 

Depending on the individual, different amounts of time may be required to increase your reading speed. A very slow reader must improve their comprehension rate to learn speed reading. 

To become an expert, you must practice your speed reading skills daily. It may take a month to make reading a book daily a habit and increase your reading speed.

A literature review that included 77 trials with 5,965 individuals concluded that oral reading is usually done at 183 words per minute. However, adults reading fiction silently can read between 175 and 300 words per minute.

In other words, what you read and how you read also affect your reading speed. 

How long does it take to master speed reading?

A proficient reader can read more than 400 words per minute (wpm) compared to the average person’s 150–250 wpm. Reaching this level requires dedication and consistent hard work. This can take you hours, days, weeks, or even years. All that matters is the practice.

Several factors influence the amount of time required to improve your reading speed. Among these factors, the type of content you are reading and your ability to observe is the most important.

If the subject you’re reading is very technical, it may take some time to improve your reading speed. This is because you will also be focused on reading comprehension.

The speed with which you can read is affected by your observation abilities. You can speed up your reading if you only want the broad strokes and don’t care about the minute details.

Another important factor influencing your reading speed is your command of the language. If you practice reading in your original language, you will only require a little time to improve your reading speed.

Focus on these, and speed reading will be no problem. 

Most efficient speed reading techniques

Speed readers frequently employ various techniques to increase their reading speed. Some speed reading strategies include utilizing speed reading software and doing speed reading drills.

A timer or your fingers might also be used as a guide. Work on your peripheral vision and eye movement, and you’ll be able to read more efficiently. 

Listed below are some effective techniques for speed reading. 


Skimming involves reading an entire page quickly to get a general overview of the information without paying attention to specifics or complete words. 

Skimmers usually look for repetitions to highlight crucial material. It is an effective strategy for speed reading and better comprehension.

Skimming is a terrific strategy for understanding the critical concepts of written content. You can do it without reading every word on a page. Instead, understanding the main idea and notion will be the primary focus of skimming. 

This technique works well with non-fiction materials. You only focus on what is relevant. You might pause to take in some fascinating details before returning to the text quickly.

Using skimming improves your ability to absorb a text’s core idea quickly. With this strategy, you will learn to scan for numbers, names, and trigger words.

As you practice, you will become more adept at identifying the key sentences in a paragraph. A skilled speed reader may quickly peruse and comprehend an entire page.

When using this technique, keep an eye out for elements such as lists, points, graphs, indexes, and subheadings. Keep these points in mind before we go into specifics.

Skimming is similar to flipping through a new travel book or sliding your finger across a map of a city you want to visit. 

You may notice images and read selected morsels of information. Or you recognize essential places, landmarks, or highlights. Before delving into an area, you want to understand the big picture. 

These exercises will train your brain to learn, comprehend, and remember information much more quickly.

Pointer technique

The Pointer technique requires placing your finger or a pointer under the lines of text as you read.  It forces your eyes to track and digest the words in the focus area. This can be possible regardless of whether you are a quick, slow, or passive reader. 

Evelyn Wood pioneered this technique. It entails pointing your index finger at each word as you read. Thus, it allows you to read faster while keeping your comprehension level consistent. 

Usually, your brain selects where to move your gaze based on how long or familiar the following words are. You can read quicker if you train your eyes to move to specific locations on the page rather than randomly.

Allow your eyes to move naturally to enhance eye coordination and break negative eye movement patterns. This improves your overall focus and speed. Pacing yourself is the most efficient approach to learning to speed read.

It’s a natural activity, and even early humans, our ancestors, needed to recognize the movements of predators to survive. We can harness this innate ability to read more words more efficiently.

The pointing technique is simple to learn. There are, however, advanced levels. It may take some effort and experience to get a complete comprehension of what you read at a faster pace.

Reading in chunks

Reading chunks of text is a speed reading technique in which you divide the material into separate portions and then read it in sections. 

To expedite the process, read every third word. This way, you get the gist of the material without having to read every word.

As the name implies, the technique involves reading chunks of text rather than a particular word. 

When learning how to speed read, one of the essential abilities to develop is the ability to read groups of words. It is also one of the most challenging speed reading strategies to master.

The idea is to limit the number of “stops” your eyes make while reading. Then, when you start taking chunks of words, your comprehension rate and, as a result, your speed reading ability will improve.

You can also take breaks between chunking to improve efficiency and effectiveness further. As a result of this rest, you can relieve the pressure on your brain and give it the time it needs to comprehend what was read.

Looking at the information as a whole allows fast readers to absorb much more information with each page. It makes skimming through the content more accessible. 

Comprehension can be difficult during a speed reading exercise. If you need help, take our memory optimization course. 

This course will teach you some effective techniques for remembering and retaining information. Both students and professionals will find it appropriate for their needs. 

Speed reading software

AccelaReader is a superb speed reading software that reduces the rapid eye movement that occurs while reading. The software flashes words at you using Rapid Serial Visual Presentation.  

You can adjust the speed at which these words appear on the screen and how many words you would like to appear on the screen. 

It is intended to help you absorb more significant amounts of information.

How to learn speed reading? 

You can master speed reading through multiple methods. Some of the best among these methods are mentioned below.

1. Stop Subvocalizing

Subvocalization, also known as inner monologue, is typical for readers. It is the process of reciting the words in your brain while you read, and it is the most significant impediment to increasing your reading speed.

While this may assist the reader in recalling information, it is also a significant speed hurdle. 

Here are a few ideas to help you cut back on this bad habit:

  • While reading, chew gum or hum. This takes up the muscles needed for subvocalization.
  • Hold a finger against your lips if you move them while reading.

Don’t be concerned if you hear voices in your head. When you first learned to read, you were taught to read out every word and sentence. This is how the habit started, and some people have continued to read aloud in this manner. 

It only negatively impacts most people once they want to start speed reading. However, you must learn how to minimize subvocalization if you’re going to improve your reading speed.

2. Word chunking

The concept of word chunking is strongly related to eliminating subvocalization. This is the act of reading numerous words at the same time. 

Speed readers examine words in groups as opposed to individually. Word chunking is vital for speed reading since it allows you to comprehend large chunks of text rather than reading one word at a time.

Looking at the information as a whole allows fast readers to absorb much more information with each page. It makes skimming through the content more accessible. 

You can employ speed reading by connecting words to build phrases, clauses, or even longer sections of text. 

Most of these reading methods are related. But word-chunking is the most active strategy to utilize when working to improve your reading process.

Even if we are conditioned – as indicated by the inner monologue – to read each word and not miss a single article, one way to make this step more manageable is to use your peripheral vision, but we’ll get to that in the next section.

Right now, focus on reading three words in one look. Then, continue down the page, noting how quickly you finish the entire text. You can still analyze and grasp what you read, but it takes less time.

Now, take that idea a step further. Draw two vertical, parallel lines down the page with a pencil to divide the text into three sections. 

Begin at the top left of the page and cover anything below that line with your hand or a piece of paper.

Concentrate on reading the text in each section as a separate entity. As you would a road sign, combine the words and read them. Continue doing this while going down the page. You will see that your speed has increased.

Keep using this strategy until you feel confident enough to push yourself further.

3. Utilize your peripheral vision 

Speed readers who use their peripheral vision can read more words at once. When speed reading, the eyes do not dwell on any one term long enough for it to register in the brain. Readers’ eyes scan the content in a divergent rather than linear method.

Instead of chunking words into smaller groupings, try reading one line at a time. This entails staring at the center of the line and reading the remainder using your peripheral vision. Scanning the page this way will reveal that you understand what you read and did it in record time.

Your eyes move jerkily as you read, halting on some words and skipping others. You can only read with your eyes stopped. You will read much faster if you learn to make fewer movements per line. But be cautious: research shows that there are limits to how much English readers can perceive at once.

4. Time yourself

To read faster:

  1. Keep track of your reading pace.
  2. Put yourself to the test and focus on improving your reading speed each time you read.
  3. Set a one-minute timer and continue reading as the time keeps ticking.

When the timer goes off, keep track of how many pages you’ve read. Continue in this manner, beating your previous count each time.

Establish a daily or weekly goal for yourself and reward yourself when you reach it. Play this small game regularly, and you’ll soon be able to increase your reading speed!

Whenever you’re about to read, perform the below-mentioned steps to analyze your reading speed better. 

  • Count the words on a page or multiply the number of words in a line by the number of lines on the page.
  • Set a ten-minute timer and see how much you can read.
  • Divide the total number of pages read by the number of words on each page. 
  • You can also take a “speed reading test” online, but you’ll probably read faster on a screen than on a printed page.

Time yourself every day or every time you do these workouts to keep track of your improvement. Trying to beat your best time can be motivating.

Set goals for yourself. Your reading speed should increase if you do one or more of these exercises daily. After a few weeks, many people may increase their reading speed. 

5. Improve comprehension

Speed reading is only worthwhile when your comprehension level is high. To grasp what we read, we must first know the meaning of the words. So work on your vocabulary, and everything else will fall into place.

However, many words have meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Therefore, improving your vocabulary requires comprehending various contexts in which those words might be used.

The ability to visualize and memorize is also essential for human cognition. You will be much better able to envision and learn new material if you master strategies such as brain maps or establishing a memory palace

You will increase your comprehension in the process. You will be able to recall facts and understand them better.

6. Speed reading exercise 

Speed reading exercises are an excellent technique to train your brain to read rapidly. 

To read faster, you must understand that not all words are created equal. Some words are more significant than others. Therefore, they should be read with greater emphasis, while filler words can be skipped without losing meaning.

Speed reading involves eliminating filler words and concentrating solely on the relevant terms in a phrase. Consider the following sentence:

“I went to the park and had a great time.”

You’d concentrate on terms like “I,” “went,” “the,” “park,” and “was.” All of these terms provide information on the sentence’s subject. However, you should disregard all filler words such as “to,” “I was,” and “so.”

It is straightforward to practice this talent. Read a phrase and circle all of the filler words. After you’ve finished, try rereading the statement without the filler words.

If you can read it fluently, that’s fantastic!

Continue this exercise until your mind automatically skips all the filler words, and you can maintain the same pace.

Takeaway: Improve your reading speed by mastering essential speed reading techniques

Speed reading helps you read a wide range of information faster than usual. On average, a reader reads 183 words every minute. However, with consistent practice, you may quickly increase your speed to more than 200 words per minute.

Speed reading can help you succeed in a fast-paced environment. It enhances memory and improves focus. 

There are numerous ways you can employ speed reading. Two essential tips are reading the text in chunks and minimizing subvocalization. 

Applying the pointer technique or reading software can also help you master these skills. 

Additionally, guidance from a speed reading course has proven to be fruitful.

Enroll in Iris Speed Reading course now and get started 

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