Simple Speed Reading Tip: Use Your Hand
The simplest way to speed up your reading is to use your hand (or a pen).
Using your hand to guide your eyes can help you make an immediate boost in your reading speed.
This is because your eyes are naturally attracted to motion, using your hand as a pacer can help to improve your speed by guiding your eyes along the line.
You simply move you hand from left to right, line by line. Simple isn’t it?
Reading with your hand improves your focus
It’s becoming harder and harder to focus while reading. Our lives are filled from distractions that easily keep us from focused reading. Imagine reading 100 years ago. You wouldn’t be distracted by a phone call or a text message. You wouldn’t have the urge to check your email or facebook. But now, it’s very easy to get distracted.
How can we easily overcome these distractions? First, by eliminating those distractions (turning off the phone and/or computer). Second, you can use your hand to guide your eyes while reading. Better focus will not only improve your speed, but also your comprehension. This simple speed reading technique is a foundational concept in all speed reading courses.
What if I’m reading on the computer screen?
If you read a lot on the computer screen, chances are that you’d rather not put your hand on the screen to guide your eyes. Here are some work arounds for this kind of scenario. If you have an external mouse for your desktop computer, you can easily move the mouse pointer from the left to right as you are reading. This will still help you guide your eyes along the line. But if you’re using a laptop this strategy probably isn’t so useful since the mousepad will make it harder to move your pointer from left to right.
If you are reading on the computer screen, I highly recommend you use a free speed reading software program called AccelaReader. It’s very simple to use and allows you to read much faster on the screen. The underlying technology behind it is called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP Reading), and RSVP Readers like AccelaReader are ideal if you do a lot of reading on the screen.
Here’s how the AccelaReader app works. First, you copy and paste any text you want to read into the textbox of the application. Then you set the speed at which you would like to read the text. Finally, you click the read button and the AccelaReader will flash the words on the screen at the speed that you set.
There are some other adjustments you can make. For example, you can set how many words you would like flashed at a time. I recommend flashing at least two words at a time. You can add more as you get used to using the application. You can also adjust the font to a size and color that’s best for you.
How do I read faster on the iPad?
Using your hand to guide your eyes while reading on the iPad can lead to issues because of the touch screen. One of the ways you can read faster on the iPad is by setting up a few points of fixation on a line. Try making two fixations per line with your eyes. For example, imagine the line is cut in half and you will fixate on each half as you read. When your eyes fixate on the first half of the line, try to read the words in groups as you see them.
If the lines are very long (more than 12 words per line), you may want to make three fixations per line. One at the beginning, one in the middle and one near the end. With practice, you’ll notice it gets easier and easier to read groups of words at a glance. Most people read words through a series of fixations, on each and every single word. Fixating on every word makes reading very tedious and leads to slow reading.
Going forward, try using your hand as a pacer when you read. You want to take advantage of the fact that your eyes are attracted to motion and this is an easy way to do it. You’ll find yourself reading faster with better focus and comprehension as you start reading with your hand.
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.