Two Speed Reading Exercises You Can Practice at Home (Step by Step)
There are simple exercises you could practice at home to improve your reading speed instantly. However, you need to practice for at least five to fifteen minutes daily to increase your words per minute.
Your reading speed eventually will be consistent, above the average 250 words per minute, and perhaps steadily increase to more than 400wpm.
Students find that they have too many textbooks to read. People in business alike need to make informed decisions, which calls for tons of reading. Some professionals like physicians and lawyers must cover loads of text. Similarly, speed reading is a must-acquire skill for an avid reader with a book target.
If you want to increase your reading speed, keep reading. This post will elaborate on two speed reading exercises that work. What’s more, you can practice at home and see your words per minute increase gradually.
Speed reading drill using familiar text
Learning to read faster takes practice, and like many other skills that you practice, there are drills and exercises that can be done to improve your reading skills. One particular exercise that can be useful to practice is the basic “speed drill.”
Speed drills help you improve your reading speed by forcing you to see words at a pace that is faster than your regular reading speed.
Note to the Reader:
Before taking part in the following drill, make sure that you have calculated your current reading speed. See How To Accurately Measure Your Reading Speed if you want more information on how to accurately assess your reading speed.
Here is a very basic example of a speed drill.
Use print or e-material that you usually read. For example, fiction or nonfiction books, newspapers or magazines, blog posts, textbooks, etc.
Read for 10 minutes. Don’t go faster or slower than you normally would. Read for good comprehension.
Take note of where you stopped after reading for 10 minutes.
Go back to the beginning, where you originally started, and try reading the same material again in less time (6 minutes). The goal is to see words at a fast pace. And the easiest way to do that is by going through material you’ve already read.
This is actually your first “speed drill.” You simply want to skim over the same material in 6 minutes. Don’t worry if it feels a little too fast because the main goal is to get used to seeing words at a much faster pace.
Make sure that you’re using your hand, finger, or pen as a guide while doing this exercise.
Go back to the beginning (where you originally started reading for the first 10 minutes). Get through the material now in 5 minutes. Remember that you are purposely trying to go faster than you would normally read, even if that means sacrificing comprehension.
Go back to the beginning. Get through the material now in 4 minutes. This is your last “speed drill.”
You’ve just finished 15 minutes of “speed drills.” Now you’ll want to re-calculate your reading speed. Find some new material to read. You could pick up where you left off at the beginning of the first 10 minutes of reading that you did, or you can choose separate material. Just make sure it is of the same difficulty level.
Read for 1 minute. Make sure that you’re reading normally now, for good comprehension. Once you’re done reading, calculate your reading speed. Most people at this point find themselves making an improvement in reading speed.
If you made an improvement, great! We’ll try to continue building on it. If not, don’t worry. You’ll get better with practice. Ideally, this drill should be practiced for two weeks, 15 minutes daily.
Speed reading drill using the accelaReader app
Similar to the first speed drill, this technique helps you get used to seeing words faster. With the help of an app, you will read to comprehend first at your normal reading speed. Then, you will read the words at twice your normal reading speed using the exact text.
AccelaReader is a speed reading app developed by Iris Reading to help you improve your reading speed. You want to read more and save time, while at the same time retaining what you read.
With this tool, you copy and paste the text you want to read in the app. Your first read is at your normal speed. Set the reading speed at 300, assuming your reading speed is 300wpm. Read to understand the text.
Next, double your reading speed by hitting the ↑ arrow button, which increases the reading speed by 25. Set it at 600. The arrow key is a keyboard shortcut. You could also click on setting and, on the drop-down menu, change the word per minute (wpm) to 600.
Press r to restart. You want to read the same text that you already understand. But the second time, you will be skimming through the text. As the accelaReader flashes the words, you train your brain to see words faster.
Using a different text, follow the same method. Read at your normal speed, but now at a speed of 350 wpm. Once you have understood the text, change the setting to double the reading speed, 700 wpm. Skim through the text at a speed of 700 by pressing r to restart the text. You want to ensure you are reading the exact text.
Five to ten minutes of daily practice with speed reading drills will improve your reading speed as your eyes get used to taking in words faster. Eventually, you’ll find yourself reading more words per minute.
You can use printed text, e-books, or blog posts where you mark the block of text you read in 10 minutes and then repeat the exact text in 6 minutes and, finally, half the time, five minutes.
You can also use the accelaReader, where you copy and paste a text into the app and read at your normal reading speed. For the second read, you set the wpm at twice the normal speed.
If you are an entrepreneur, Iris Reading has a highly rated customized Speed Reading for Business Professionals packed with nuggets from Ivy League lecturers.
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.