With a few improvement in how you read, you can quickly improve your reading speed and save a lot of time. But first, forget everything you know about reading rules you’ve been taught as a child. Reading as an adult comes with a lot of hacks and strategies. Here are seven of the best:
Speed Reading Trick #1: Skim and Scan
Long-form reading is not always important or necessary. You need to be critical in what you choose to read by developing your “skim and scan” habits. Scan the piece of content in front of you for key sections in the main body, and always pay attention to the introduction and conclusion where the main ideas are often recapped. That allows you to skip over anything that isn’t essential to the information you need to get from the text. With 7 Speed Reading™ you’ll learn the techniques that help you quickly locate essential content in all of your documents.
Speed Reading Trick #2: Selective Reading
Any piece of text contains a lot of filler words: words that often facilitate meaning, but aren’t necessarily required to understand the essential details. This means that you don’t truly need to focus on these words to make out the meaning of a sentence. Take the following excerpt from a 7 Speed Reading™article:
“The Winter 2014 semester class going on now focuses on films, poetry, photography, essays and a heavy dose of the mushrooming subgenre of speculative fiction known as climate fiction, or ‘cli-fi’, novels like ‘Odds Against Tomorrow’ by Nathaniel Rich, and ‘Solar,’ by Ian McEwan.”
The highlighted words are the key words that you need to focus on. The rest are descriptive language, conjunctions, and other extra information you don’t really need to read to understand the paragraph’s meaning. There are dozens of professionally-designed exercises in 7 Speed Reading™ that train your eyes to find and focus on the key words in the text.
When you’re reading a longer paragraph, always start by reading the first and last sentence to get the gist of the paragraph. You’d be surprised how much you can learn by reading only these two sentences out of each long paragraph.
Point and Read
If you’re reading on a computer, use your cursor to accelerate the reading pace. If you’re reading a book or journal, try using your index finger to guide your eyes to move faster. This tip helps you to stop yourself from re-reading what you’ve just read, and increases your focus on the text so that you comprehend what you read, even if you’re reading much faster. The accelerated training program in 7 Speed Reading™ uses moving text displays to help you focus on the text in front of you.
Stop the Voices In Your Head
Even if your tongue and mouth don’t move, and even if no noise comes out of your mouth when you’re reading, you might still notice a voice in your head that “reads” what you read. This is called subvocalization and it’s a technique that helps us process what we’re reading when we first learn to read as a child. One way to avoid subvocalization is to read in chunks of words rather than word by word, and 7 Speed Reading™ uses this “chunking” method in many exercises and activities to train your eyes to read word groups. Because your mind cannot process a set of words all at once, you won’t automatically try to sound them out, and that will save you time.
Trust Your Brain
This tip goes along with the “selective reading” hack. Your mind is very good at filling in missing details, and if you’re getting the sense of text from the important words, you don’t have to worry about the rest of the paragraph. In fact, your eyes are actually seeing all of the words, even if you’re only consciously reading a few of them. Trust your eyes and your brain to automatically read and store the rest of the words, and don’t be tempted to re-read text over and over again. The many reading comprehension tests in 7 Speed Reading™ help you develop the confidence you need to be a top speed reader.
Cover the Page
If you can’t get out of the habit of re-reading text, make it impossible to do so. When you’re reading printed material, use a blank piece of paper to cover the text from top to bottom as your read down the page. If you’re reading on line, adjust the display so that the line of text you’re reading is at the absolute top, and then use the cursor key to scroll down line by line as you read. When you practice with 7 Speed Reading™ you’ll see this technique in action during the “Text Highlighter” exercises.
Learn More Words
One big thing that slows down a lot of people is having to stop and look up words, or figure out what a word means. If you have a bigger vocabulary, you’ll be able to read without stopping. To save time, keep a notebook (or on-screen notepad) handy and jot down unfamiliar words as you read, and then make a note of their definitions. Use these notes for vocabulary practice later so you’ll never have to look them up again. And the more you read, the more words you’ll learn, so read as many different types of text as you can. With 7 Speed Reading™ you can easily access and import text documents from almost any source, so you’ll never run out of things to read, and words to learn!