How to Speed Read and Remember Everything | Iris Reading
How to Speed Read and Remember Everything

How to Speed Read and Remember Everything

How to Speed Read and Remember Everything

You need to create goals, exercise mindfulness, lessen subvocalization, scan the text for keywords, connect new knowledge to what you already know, train your brain with impressions, associations, and repetition, take notes, and write summaries to speed read and retain everything.

Everybody enjoys a good book. And when we’re done, we can still recall the main ideas, major players, and many minor details. 

Why is that so? 

Because we are completely engrossed and devoted to the reading experience, compare that to a textbook composed of boring non-fiction material that we intentionally try to read and retain while not showing much enthusiasm.

Without effective methods for reading more quickly and remembering more, you are spending a lot of time on a laborious process and frequently taking extensive notes while you read in order to review it later and recall.

There are techniques for this issue, but they differ from those we learned in primary school. The methods we were taught in school may even be counterproductive. 

This post will discuss how you can speed read and remember everything. 

How fast means speed reading? 

According to numerous sources, the typical adult reading speed is between 200 and 250 words per minute or two minutes per page. However, several apps and tools for fast reading to enable reading rates above 700 or even above 1,000 wpm.

A kindergarten graduate should be able to read about 10 words per minute on average. The terms should obviously be part of the child’s spoken language as well as perhaps being “sight words” in their vocabulary.

The speaking vocabulary of students from homes where books are read aloud to them is probably greater. Additionally, they are typically eager to learn to read the words themselves because they know that books include interesting information and stories.

Students who are attuned to the subtleties of letter sounds and who can clap for each sound in a three-letter word like “bag” are likely to learn to read more easily than those who find it difficult to distinguish the sounds that go with each letter.

A first-grader should read about 23 words per minute by the middle of the year. By the second grade, this should have reached 72 wpm, then 92 wpm by the third grade, 112 wpm by the fourth grade, and 140 wpm by the fifth.

Through middle school, reading speed progressively rises; by grade 8, students should be reading at a rate of about 151 words per minute. 

The majority of students will have slower speed improvements through high school as they explore other hobbies, but they should still make steady progress toward the typical adult reading rate of 200–250 or better.

Readers must overcome subvocalization, which reduces reading pace to 400 words per minute (wpm), in order to make quick advances in reading speed:

  • Motor readers often read at a speed of 250 words per minute. Each time they read a word, they use their lips or tongue, which slows down the reading rate.
  • A reader enters the auditory reading zone if they are able to restrain themself from using his tongue or lips. Auditory readers may read at a rate of 400–450 words per minute.
  • Visual readers can overcome subvocalization completely. They are capable of reading at speeds of more than 500 or perhaps 1,000 words per minute. Thus, this is speed reading territory.

Speed reading records

The majority of people continue to read at a usual pace (200-350 wpm). However, some persons reportedly have reading abilities that are far beyond those of the ordinary person:

  • Six times world speed reading champion Annie Jones can read at 4,700 words per minute with 67% comprehension.
  • Howard Berg purportedly established the Guinness World Record in 1990, reading 25,000 words per minute (or 80 pages per minute) with 100% comprehension. Guinness no longer accepts any speed reading records, though.
  • Maria Teresa Calderon claims to be able to read at a speed of 80,000 words per minute with complete comprehension. This assertion has never received official confirmation.
  • With 90% understanding, Bill Gates is said to read 150 pages every hour, or 625 words per minute.
  • According to reports, John F. Kennedy could read at a speed of 1,500 wpm.
  • Jimmy Carter, a former US president, reportedly had a reading speed of 2,000 words per minute with a 95% comprehension rate.
  • The American teacher and speed reader Evelyn Wood claimed to be able to read 2,700 words per minute.

Does speed reading affect how much you remember of the material read?

There is some evidence that speed reading can have a negative effect on comprehension and retention of the material that is being read. When people read faster, they may sacrifice some understanding of the text to maintain speed. 

This can lead to a reduced ability to remember and recall the information that has been read. 

However, some people may be able to speed read effectively and maintain good comprehension and retention, while others may not. 

For people who must read a lot of text while studying, speed reading can be helpful even though it may be difficult for those with poor reading abilities and a limited vocabulary.

Reading several words at once as opposed to one word at a time helps with comprehension. You can better grasp the text you are reading if you read words in their proper context. This aids in your ability to understand the material and link concepts together.

However, while reading quickly saves time compared to reading slowly, comprehension may decrease if the material is exceedingly dense or complex. Speed reading could make it difficult for you to understand and retain the knowledge of the finer points of the text. 

Speed reading is not the best strategy in some cases, such as with academic or technical texts. These texts frequently call for a more thorough reading to fully comprehend and retain the information.

Speed reading will only benefit you if you are familiar with the terminology.

You will take longer to read texts with a lot of jargon because it will take time and effort to understand each word.

No matter how quickly you read, you will waste your time if you can’t recall what you read.

Tips to speed read and remember everything

Here are some speed reading tips to help you read and remember everything.

Make a reading plan and set goals

Reading more frequently will help you become a faster reader.

And the greatest strategy entails making a reading schedule for yourself. Using a combination of vocabulary, specialized terminology, history, and the viewpoints of the key actors in the subject, you can then establish topic knowledge.

Making your own reading schedule takes some practice, but here are some recommendations. These factors are crucial since familiarity with the subject is necessary if you wish to read more quickly.

  • Find the best book or the most authoritative source on the subject.
  • Read a couple of articles you might find about the book. Don’t stop at the Wikipedia article.
  • Find two or three videos.
  • Find two or three podcasts.

How would adding extra content to your main book make it easier for you to read quickly?

Another name for this is “brute force learning.” The reason why it helps is straightforward:

Starting with the basics and learning about the subject will equip you with the most crucial reading ability there is: pattern detection.

By setting appropriate reading goals, you are learning what it means to be knowledgeable in your field. Knowing more opens up additional knowledge possibilities, which will automatically benefit your brain:

  • Identify huge, significant concepts more quickly.
  • Connect them to fundamental ideas in ways that are immediately memorable.
  • Utilizing multiple media, such as audio and video, allows you to access more mental models and incorporates more readers’ opinions.

Expect more work to be “front-loaded” at commencement. You shouldn’t expect to read and comprehend more quickly until some sort of “pattern recognition” has been established. 

However, you should only concentrate on a couple of additional sites since you want to avoid falling into the collector’s fallacy.

Let’s look at the next effective tactic to achieve this degree of recognition as soon as possible.

Utilize the U.S.S.R. method

A U.S.S.R. is an acronym for Uninterrupted, Sustained, Silent Reading.

One of the most crucial approaches for reading more quickly is setting the time and location for reading. This is made possible by the strength of rhythm and flow.

To improve your peripheral vision, shield your environment from visual disturbances rather than engage in eye-training exercises.

Read in an area with little to no foot traffic and peace. Set boundaries for your time.

Additionally, take on responsibility and let your roommates and family members know about your needs if their schedules conflict with yours.

Although it would be wonderful if others would keep in mind and respect your timetable and objectives, expecting them to do so is impractical. Be assertive and defend your time and personal space.

Practice mindfulness and reduce subvocalization

Subvocalization, commonly referred to as one’s inner monologue is a very prevalent characteristic among some readers. The main thing that prevents you from being able to read more quickly is the habit of pronouncing the words aloud to yourself as you read.

Don’t worry if you get voices in your brain while reading. You’re alright as long as you’re reading along with your own voice. In fact, professors instruct students to silently pronounce the words in their heads as they read.

Do you remember how often the teacher would tell you to “Read in your head, as I read the chapter aloud”? That is one of the ways that you developed the habit of having an inner monologue as a young reader.

When you first learned to read, you were instructed to read aloud and sound out each word. Your tutor instructed you to start uttering the words in your head after you had mastered that skill. 

This is how most people still read today and how the habit started. They are unaffected by it until they start wishing they could read more quickly.

This is the first obstacle you must overcome if you want to speed up your reading.

Why does this make you read slower? The average speaking and reading speed is about the same. The typical adult reading speed, according to Forbes, is 300 words per minute.

The standard speaking speed is the same.

The majority of people read at about the same speed as they speak because they are accustomed to speaking the words aloud in their heads while they read. 

This indicates that if you keep up that internal dialogue, your reading speed will only rise to a certain point. You must eliminate it if you want to keep speeding up your reading.

You must realize one thing before you can do this: It is not essential. To comprehend what you are reading, you do not have to repeat every thought aloud. 

It was important when you were younger, but now you can infer the meaning just by looking at the words. Your brain will still process the information.

Learn to relax

Many people stiffen their muscles because they are so anxious about not reading quickly enough. They have poor posture, difficulty breathing, and general discomfort resulting from this physical discomfort. 

To read a book quickly, you must be in the best possible physical position.

I advise you to experiment rather than offering a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solution (which doesn’t exist). Depending on the subject, you might need to sit in a variety of postures, so try out as many as you can.

Scan the text for important words

Another technique that deviates from what we were taught in elementary school is to read each word in a sentence or paragraph. Obtaining all the information is entirely unnecessary. 

Many adjectives, articles, and verbs just add fluff to a sentence. You just need to read around 50% of a sentence—the nouns and some of the adjectives are enough. You can mentally fill in the blanks left by the less significant terms.

Once you master it, you will read everything this way, even though it takes some practice (except for that novel where you want to savor every word). 

You can always read a paragraph again if you don’t understand it the first time around. But if you understand it, you move swiftly to the next paragraph.

Relate new information to what you already know

Our brains genuinely store everything we read and learn, most of which is stored in our subconscious. We are unaware that it exists. As a result, it could be challenging for us to remember what we have read. 

However, it is there; all it requires is a context to trigger the retrieval. You can encourage that retrieval by connecting anything new to something you already know, particularly an experience from your own life.

If, while reading a book on psychology, the word “cognitive behavioral therapy” is mentioned and subsequently defined, read the whole definition. Since this is new information, connect it to a personal experience.

According to the theory, all of our behaviors are influenced by how we view ourselves, so in order to change our behaviors, we must first alter our thinking. 

Remember a time when you were hesitant to try something new for fear of failing? That is an example of cognitive behavior. Now you’ll always recall it.

Train your brain with impressions, association, and repetition

Understanding some of the primary ways our brain stores information is a wonderful place to start when trying to improve retention. Here are three particular factors to think about:

  • Impression
  • Association
  • Impression

Let’s imagine you like a particular book and would like to retain as much information as possible. You can achieve this by:

Let the text make an impression on you. Stop and visualize a scene in your mind. Enhancing it with shock or a cameo will heighten the impact.

Identify a connection between the text and something you already know. This strategy is quite effective in memorizing and creating memory palaces. 

If there is a specific idea in the book that you want to keep in mind, consider a time when you participated in a concrete illustration of the principle. Building associations is an excellent approach to using prior knowledge.

Repeating something helps you remember them better. This can be done by literally reading a piece again, underlining it, or writing it down, then going back to it later.

You can improve your memory by repeatedly using these three components. You’ll remember more as you put more effort into it.

Think about interleaving

Choosing a primary, authoritative textbook on a subject and reading a few more articles as previously indicated. By switching between multiple voices, you’re essentially giving your brain a rest and promoting “diffuse thinking.”

It also enables you to take breaks from reading a thick book by switching to simpler versions of the same material. But you can also gain from diffuse thinking by reading a few different things concurrently.

For instance, when you visit the library, you can “distract” yourself on purpose by taking a few books from various themes that catch your interest. You can choose a book from each category and get a novel and a few other books.

For example, let’s say you grab one book you need to read and three unrelated books. You can then create a little if-this-then-that reading circuit: 

  • Finish one chapter, then…
  • Peruse an interesting book, then…
  • Finish another chapter, then…
  • Pick up the next book… etc. 

Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself a shorter reading goal and allowing your mind to wander. It’s well-documented that it helps us understand and remember more.

Don’t Force “Understanding”

Force is not a strategy that can be used to improve reading comprehension.

Understanding will always be lacking in certain aspects. Actually, incompleteness is portrayed in Gödel, Escher, Bach as a natural and healthy aspect of the human mind, which is one of the book’s main ideas.

Note everything you don’t understand and move on. You can also employ a modified version of the Feynman strategy to encourage yourself. The Feynman method typically entails outlining a subject as though you were instructing a young person.

Then, you read the core textbook again or choose additional reading to fill up any knowledge gaps you encounter. It is powerful and yet another reason why subvocalization is probably not a great strategy.

 You want to make the most of your ability to educate yourself while you read by using such questions.

Be humble enough to acknowledge that your fullest possible understanding is yet to come. When you stop to think about it, the fact that this process is constantly in beta is actually very exciting.

Priming and picture walking

Priming is the best advancement in the field of fast reading. There are various approaches, and the general format you can employ is as follows:

Before anything else, read the front and back covers, verbs included.

  • Examine the bibliography and index.
  • Check out the ending
  • Check out the colophon page.
  • View the contents page.
  • Look for images, charts, and tables by skimming the book.
  • Check out the introduction.
  • Read the chapters that interest you most.
  • Read the whole book (where relevant)

Reading the covers and all the “paratexts” is an excellent way to “plant seeds in the field” of your memory, including the colophon page, index, and bibliography.

 It’s similar to looking at a map and placing tiny identification flags on it. Literally, you are teaching your brain that this is already familiar ground.

This tactic does not inevitably result in a particular outcome. Simply put, it establishes the context and reawakens some of your existing memories and technical expertise.

It makes you curious as well. This part of priming is just like viewing a movie teaser to whet your appetite since while you’re curious, you definitely enjoy watching the movie.

When reading the book out of order, you can start with the ending to determine whether the author genuinely came to a conclusion that is worth pursuing. 

When combined with the introduction, these two sections of the book typically indicate which chapters provide evidence in favor of particular points, which aids in determining where your attention should be directed.

Finally, you can jump in and employ the next tactic if it is obvious that the book is worth reading.

Prioritize the facts you wish to remember, then go back and employ the Memory Palace technique

Making associations as you read is a topic that is covered in many speed reading programs.

You ought to occasionally do this. However, avoid doing it if you want to quickly comprehend and recall a significant portion of the book.

This is due to the fact that you’ll discover it’s preferable to read strategically and minimize distractions. Interruptions to take notes are not bad. 

However, if you have too many, you run the risk of falling victim to the collector’s fallacy, so keep your points for each chapter to a maximum of 3–10.

The truth is that if you can memorize the fundamental concepts, many of the specifics will just fall into place. This is so because context always rules where content reigns supreme. Usually, the details fall into place.

When employing the Memory Palace approach strategically, you can always add additional information later, but if you don’t start immediately, you won’t have anything to add those details to.

Take notes and write summaries

Only a very small fraction of people perfectly recall everything they read, see, or hear. Their “condition” is called hyperthymestic syndrome. The rest of us don’t have a good memory. Sometimes writing things down helps us remember them.

After finishing a book, go back and write some notes, perhaps from passages you underlined while reading. Then, write a 150-word summary of the article that includes the key idea you took away. Publish it to a database. Only information that is truly vital to you should be treated in this manner.

When you need to check something up in a database ten years from now, when your memory of that book is a little hazy, the rest will be retrieved for you.

Discuss with anyone or anything.

It’s crucial to express what you’re learning in words. If you are unable to participate in an online group for live-stream discussions, you can do the following:

  • Schedule a family reading discussion
  • Self-talk when exercising or walking
  • As a last resort, talk to pets

Although talking with others is usually preferable, if that’s not possible, at least talk to yourself. This exercise is comparable to the Feynman Technique but without the writing aspect.

A conversation with the author or perhaps authors of other books is another possibility. Using imaginary interviews to get information is an excellent technique to improve your learning curve

Make an effort to expand your vocabulary

Consider this: As you continue reading, a term that you don’t recognize appears. Do you ignore it? Do you attempt to determine it from context? Do you pause to do some research about it?

Whichever course of action you choose, going to search up the word will considerably slow down your time, if not completely stop it.

Improving your vocabulary can help you read more words and Increase your reading Speed. Your reading speed increases as your vocabulary improve. Even though it seems obvious, it’s nonetheless significant.

Utilize the 80/20 Rule to determine your needs and wants

The hero’s journey is probably something you’ve heard of. Almost all fairy tales and popular books, movies, and television stories have this structure.

Every story involves a hero who is driven by a desire that clashes with a need on the inside.

This also applies to reading experiences. You know you “want it all,” but in truth, you just need a certain amount.

As the protagonist of your own reading experience, you must therefore acknowledge that nobody has ever memorized a book cover to cover and had that knowledge be of any use. 

Simply put, it goes against the very nature of knowledge and books.

Instead, intelligent people learn to focus on the most important ideas and recognize the minute details that convincingly bolster those ideas.

There is no better approach to start building this “radar” than to start gathering information using the above method.

Understand the various writing conventions and styles

Laborious conventions support some genres, and authors have their own peculiarities. But there’s a reason they developed, and frequently the quickest way to grasp a text is just to be patient.

Once more, comprehension is a process rather than an end result. Therefore, if you increase the amount of reading you do, you’ll pick up on genre-specific customs much more quickly and be able to skim with greater intelligence without picking up the details.

When it comes to legal documents and scientific papers, this type of reading is very important. 

Many of their conventions were created so that readers could rapidly understand the “gist” of their claims and determine whether they were relevant to the research question nearly immediately. 

However, if you don’t take the time to master these norms, you’ll never be able to use them.

The same principles also apply to novels.

Create memory systems and mnemonic techniques

A 00-99 PAO is one of the most awesome tools you can learn to utilize. Although you should keep information collection and memorization distinct, employing a number system as a sort of “Magnetic Bookmark” is a lot of fun when you’re reading casually and only want to remember a few topics from a book.

Takeaway: The key to reading quickly while maintaining comprehension is to practice 

Reading more quickly and remembering more is not a mystical or enigmatic process. It involves abandoning the methods we learned in elementary school and implementing the new ones through practice.

Start reading while using the strategies we just went over. Better information retention will result in quicker reading progress.

Remember to be patient with yourself as well. You can’t learn to read quickly in a single day.

 It took Howard Stephen Berg more than a single day to begin and complete his reading goals. He worked hard, followed instructions, and absorbed advice to become the fastest reader.

By combining all of these techniques, you may start right now and get stronger at developing strong speed reading skills. Your confidence and attentiveness will both increase as you become more adept at comprehension and speed reading.

You may read more quickly and comprehend more by taking our Iris Speed Reading Foundation Course. As you grow in your academic or professional career, it will also be helpful for reading and research.

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  • Michelle D

    Great information, thank you