How Can I Learn To Read Faster?
To increase speed while reading, scan through the text before reading. You also need to avoid habits like subvocalization, re-reading sentences, and reading all the words that slow down your reading. Additionally, set goals, practice daily and improve vocabulary to master speed reading.
Skimming a blog post, browsing through books, or going through paperwork is exhausting and time-consuming. Reading is a part of daily life, even if time is limited. As such, you need to learn how to read faster while maintaining comprehension.
This article will discuss how you can increase your reading speed.
Let’s dive in!
What is the secret to speed reading?
The secret to speed reading is working on your reading skills every day for some time. Practice will help you master your speed reading game. Your learning rate will determine how long you will take to master your speed-reading game.
Speed reading intends not to increase words per minute but to increase your confidence and comprehension. You can read anything quickly if you have the intention and focus. Multiple speed reading strategies will change your perspective on reading.
If you want to read faster, you need to eliminate your bad habits and use techniques to increase your reading efficiency and information retention.
1. Stop subvocalization
Subvocalization is an inner monologue common among slow readers. Inner monologue is where you speak the words in your head as you read, which hinders speed reading.
Subvocalization is how you learned to read when you were young. Teachers told you to read aloud when you started learning. After you achieved fluency, the teacher advised you to say the words in your head. You begin subvocalizing your words as a child and continue for the rest of your life. However, you can minimize subvocalization to achieve speed reading.
The average reading speed for adults is 200 to 250 words per minute. The average reading speed is the same as the talking speed. Most people who subvocalize use their average talking speed to read. As a result, you have a slow reading pace.
How to eliminate subvocalization
Here are some strategies you can use to eliminate your inner monologue:
Realize that the inner monologue is unnecessary
You don’t need to say every word in your brain to understand what you’re reading. Subvocalization was important when you were younger, but not anymore. Your brain will still process the information even without the inner voice in your head.
Looking at the words and processing the information will help you read faster.
Read with headphones (instrumental music)
Play instrumental music on your headphones if you find it challenging to read without the inner voice. It will distract your brain from your inner voice and focus on processing the words.
Use your fingers to guide your eyes while reading
Using your hands improves reading techniques by reducing subvocalization. The hand will guide your eyes and help you capture many words, avoiding fixation on specific terms.
2. Scan the text first
Scanning the text first before reading seems like double work. However, scanning through the text helps you pick up the most critical parts. When you start reading, you will be ready for what’s to come.
Scanning familiarizes you with the main points of the text. You won’t slow down your reading due to any surprises while reading.
Scanning a text is best for non-fiction books. Still, you can use this technique in fiction books.
You can skim a chapter for dialogues, character development, and other plots. Once you start reading, your pace will be faster and better.
How to practice scanning for efficient reading
You will need aids besides technical practice to master scanning. About 65% of people are visual readers; hence, you will need to incorporate some visuals in your text to learn to scan.
Here’s how you can practice your scanning technique for faster reading:
Use markers to highlight points
Take your favorite marker and highlight texts as you skim through the paragraph.
For instance, you can highlight sentences that have the topic or keywords. Or, you can mark conjunctions that link phrases or sentences. You can also mark words that show the paragraph’s tone.
Use fingers to guide your eyes
Your fingers ensure that your eyes are focused on one point at a time. Without fingers, your eyes can go wild and focus on what is above and below if you’re not a great reader.
Read the titles
Scan through your material by reading the titles and subtitles. It will let your brain know what to expect. You will find trigger words and sentences with helpful information. When you start reading, you will remember some of the topics, which will increase your reading pace and efficiency.
3. Don’t re-read
Constantly re-reading a paragraph or sentence wastes your time. Poor readers think that re-reading sentences or paragraphs will make them understand better. They believe they will not make sense of the whole book without re-reading.
You re-read your sentences or paragraphs because of the following reasons:
- Lack of focus
- Poorly written sentences
- Sentences make sense after you finish the paragraph
When you re-read, you don’t gain comprehension. The confusing parts will make sense later and aren’t the main parts that let you enjoy your book.
Tim Ferris wrote on the Huffpost that untrained individuals consciously re-read and subconsciously back-skip for 30 percent of their reading time. You should not waste time trying to understand every word.
Backtracking over words you read decreases your reading speed. You need to read with a continuous flow to increase your reading pace. Backtracking is hard to break because many people do it subconsciously.
Here are ways you can overcome re-reading:
- Modify your focus and interest level. Start by reading what comes naturally to you. You can later revisit what was challenging.
- Study. You will need to study some topics before reading a particular book. It will help you understand easily without re-reading.
- Re-read the book. Instead of re-reading sentences and paragraphs, re-read the book. If you think you missed important details, go over the book once again. Reading the first time will give you a general idea of the book, and the second time will hammer in the content.
- Use your finger to guide your eyes. Run down the page without going back or stopping. After finishing, internalize what you have read, and you will notice that you recall some things.
4. Set measurable goals within a reading plan
Speed reading comes with practice. You need a reading plan to master your vocabulary, terminologies, history, and different perspectives on a specific subject. You also need to use techniques that lead you to your goals.
Setting goals help you in the following ways:
- Go through fundamentals and acquire knowledge of the field.
- Identify patterns that help you improve your reading pace
- Helps your brain recognize the most crucial ideas first
- Makes your brain link concepts instantly hence increasing memory
Here’s how you can create your reading plan if you want to read faster:
- Look for a definitive book on the topic you want to master. Books, articles, videos, and podcasts about the subject (2-3 of each) will broaden a topic’s fundamental knowledge in your mind. You will have the ability to grasp concepts on that particular topic easier and faster.
- Take a maximizing memory course. At Iris reading, we offer a maximizing memory course that has techniques to retain and remember information easily. The course is 90 minutes long, has lifetime access, and you can open it on any device. After you complete, you will receive a certificate of completion.
5. Practice reading
Practicing how to read will gradually increase your reading speed. The more you read, the more you become efficient and fast at it. Read papers, books, journals, articles, and anything you can get your hands on daily. Your reading will become sharp, and you will understand the concepts easily.
Speed reading is a skill that can take months or years to develop. You don’t have to make reading a race. Ensure that you read every day and finish several books in a year. When you have goals, you will make time for reading, and the more information you read, the faster you become.
Still, reading at your own pace is crucial. You can start with lighter material that builds your interest and read complex topics later. Enjoy reading the books you like and take time to savor literature but avoid fixating or re-reading.
While practicing, you can take courses that will boost your speed by far. Iris reading offers a speed reading mastery course that gives you techniques to increase your reading speed. You will learn to understand concepts while reading at high speed. It is the perfect course for people who want to improve their reading speed to an advanced level.
6. Avoid reading all the words and sections
Paying attention to your eyes will increase your reading speed. Depending on the font size and type, you can scan three to five words at once. You don’t have to read individual words at a time.
Ensure you move your eyes similar to scanning. Read from three to five words and go to the following three to five words. You have peripheral vision, which you can take advantage of while reading.
Focus on blocks on words instead of one word at a time. Use a pen or finger to consume chunks of words at a time as you move down the text. You will avoid subvocalization- the enemy of reading chunks of words simultaneously.
Additionally, you don’t have to read all sections of a book or article unless necessary. Skip the words that are irrelevant to your goals. You need to be selective when reading to speed up your reading points.
Selective reading will also help you understand the central perspective of the text and increase productivity.
7. Focus on your reading
Untrained minds wander off and think about other things while reading. Lack of focus will lead you to repeat sentences multiple times and slow down your reading pace. Speed reading is impossible with an unfocused mind since you can’t read and think about something else all at once.
Here are two ways you can increase focus while reading:
You need to cut out distractions and pay attention to your reading material.
Avoid watching TV, mental interferences, and listening to the radio while reading. You can’t multitask and still grab a concept in a book.
You need a quiet location, a comfortable chair, and your phone should have its notification sound off.
Take a break
Your mind finds it hard to concentrate after taking long hours to read. Take a 10-minute break between your reading session if you’re tired.
Breaks help you avoid repeating sentences to understand your material and increase your speed at reading.
8. Increase your vocabulary
Vocabulary development is fundamental for speed reading. Learning about suffixes and prefixes reduces the time you take to look up words you don’t understand. Developing vocabulary helps you see materials as clean and easy to read, increasing your reading speed.
Working on your vocabulary helps you know more words. The more language you know, the faster you read, increasing the content you can read.
Think about it: While reading, you encounter jargon you don’t understand, making you stop to research the word. You will waste time thinking about the word, which reduces your reading speed.
Here are a few ways you can increase your vocabulary:
- Use thesaurus and dictionary – look up a word and see its meaning, synonyms, and antonyms.
- Play word games – scrabble, crossword puzzles, and boggle are fun ways of improving your vocabulary. Take small notes while playing and go through them after finishing the games.
- Use flashcards- you can build your vocabulary by learning one word a day (or more) using flashcards. You can use apps that make convenient and organized flashcards.
9. Time your reading
You can test your reading speed by setting a one-minute timer and seeing how many words you can read. Timers can make your reading exciting and create a zeal to be better. After a few days, note your reading speed to see if you are improving.
Your goal should be to beat the previous reading rate every time. If you continue with this game, your reading speed will increase in no time. Additionally, you can set a speed reading goal. Speed reading comes in handy, especially for work requiring speed and comprehension.
You can track your speed by reading complex material. Don’t be discouraged if your reading speed decreases because complex text takes time to process.
Your progress will not be smooth because of factors like:
- Difficult texts
- Lack of focus
Learn to read faster with Iris Reading
Reading is a skill that requires mastering. Once you master reading skills, you can read faster and retain more information.
Untrained minds subvocalize and re-read sentences while reading. You can avoid subvocalization by using your hand and listening to instrumental music while reading. You also need to set goals and practice often to increase your reading speed. Practice makes perfect hence the more you read, the more you learn to read faster.
Are you ready to master the art of speed reading?
At Iris Reading, we offer different courses on speed reading and memory. Thousands of students and professionals benefit from our classes because we teach them to:
- Read fast
- Retain information quickly
- Boost productivity