Simple Speed Reading Exercise
In order to accelerate your reading speed over a long term you can challenge yourself to read a little faster.
The average reading speed is about 200 words per minute. If you forced someone that is reading 200 words a minute to read at 250 which is 50 words per minute faster, they would probably get about the same amount of comprehension.
Why is that?
The fact of the matter is, when you go a little faster you actually force yourself to focus more.
One concept behind trying to improve your reading speed is forcing yourself to go a little faster than you normally would. This whole idea of pushing yourself to make improvements and going outside of your comfort zone is not that different from other things where you try to make improvements in your life. Let us say you are trying to play a sport or an instrument. If you have a coach, he or she will be pushing you to go a little faster and will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. At the same time, he or she will push you to make improvements.
The way we make improvements in anything is by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. I want you to think about what your reading speed is right now. What if you were just to push yourself just a little faster? How much comprehension could you get? I want you to actually test this out. Do an exercise and practice on your own because the only way that you are going to make improvements is by actually putting in the work and doing the practice. So, I really want you to do this.
I want you to set aside some time. I want you to try and go a little faster than you normally read through the material. Don’t be scared. Think of this as practice so that if you mess up it’s no big deal, it’s just practice. I want you to try and see. Read for about 15 minutes. Take some material that you are currently working on, maybe it’s a novel, a textbook, a work-related material or anything else. I want you to try to read it a little faster than you normally would.
Some of you are going to find that by going a little faster you can actually improve your focus. I want you to think about it like this, when you are going faster you are challenging your mind to keep up. When you challenge your mind to keep up, you’ll naturally focus a little more. If you do this, you will not only have a little more speed but you are also going to have better comprehension.
Think of it just like when you drive. If you are driving 70 miles an hour down the highway, you are more focused right? It is because of the fact that if you make one mistake, your life is on the line. What if at 5 miles an hour? How much do you have to focus if you are only going 5 miles an hour? I think all of us would agree that you do not have to focus as much as if you are going at 70 miles an hour.
Sometimes, that increase of speed is what will help you focus more. This is one simple thing that you can do to teach yourself and to train yourself to read faster. Try going a little faster than you normally would. Push yourself outside of that comfort zone. Take 15 minutes. Try to read in this kind of a manner. Try to go a little faster than you normally would, whatever feels comfortable. Push yourself a little more. See how much comprehension you can get. Think of it completely as an experiment. You might want to try this out for 15 minutes.
Here is what I recommend that you might want to try doing. Maybe you read in 5 minutes increments. Read for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes is over, give yourself an estimate from 0 to 100 percent on what your comprehension was during those 5 minutes. Then, read for another 5 minutes and give yourself an estimate of your comprehension again.
Obviously, if you are estimating your comprehension, it is not a real score for your comprehension but it is actually a self analysis. The whole point of this is to get that self analysis and see how much comprehension you can actually get if you go little faster than you normally would. As you would imagine, the more you practice doing this, the more you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more improvements you are going to make. Try this out. If you have maybe 10-15 minutes, set aside the time and try to go a little faster than you normally would through a material that you have to read.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.