Once you master reading, there’s only one thing left to do: learn to read faster. One way to do this is to read more, and just improve naturally (and slowly) over time. But if you want to read faster faster, then you’ll want to explore the world of speed reading apps, books, and software. These products are popular because they help you increase your reading speed, which lets you gain an advantage by being able to consume and acquire knowledge faster than everyone else.
Let go of (almost) everything you knew about reading (as taught in school)
Sounding out the words you read in your mind and mouth slows your reading pace significantly. By eliminating the act of subvocalization in easy to medium level texts you pick up the pace of reading without sacrificing comprehension. You see, your mind can read faster than your mouth can sound out the words. By eliminating subvocalization you essentially unleash your reading speed potential.
The same goes for reading out loud. This can be a reading strategy that facilitates comprehension – especially when you first learn to read. But if you alread know how to read, it no longer serves you.
Sharpened eye movement
With eye movement being a fundamental aspect of speed reading, it only makes sense to try to improve eye movement and strength. You can achieve this through eye fixation exercises where you train your eye to read more chunks of words at a time, rather than one word after the other.
This “one word at a time” approach is a habit adopted in your primary school years and when you were first introduced to reading. You probably remember being called upon to read word by word, often out loud. But by the time you finished the sentence you had to reread the whole thing to remember what was at the beginning!
Many people have an off-center or anomalous reading rhythm too. Speed reading exercises help you achieve a smoother, more balanced eye movement as you read, making the process faster.
Don’t read it again. Ever.
Eliminate regression with increased focus. When we read we often get distracted so we actually read the words without extracting any meaning from them. This forces us to reread so we can understand what we read (again).
This speed-reading-sabotaging habit is called regression. It’s the result of losing your place on the screen or paper, or of not being mindful of the reading process, or of distracting yourself with other tasks or thoughts and having to go over your text all over again.
Learning to speed read by eliminating one bad habit at a time
Don’t read when you’re tired or distracted. If need be take a five-minute break to unwind and focus.
Reading when you’re tired is counterproductive, especially if it’s for research or studying. You will often have slow recognition and response to what you’re reading, find it hard to understand what’s being said and as a result, have to re-read the whole thing.
Many people are slowed down by anxiety that they won’t be able to comprehend a difficult text. You’ll be surprised how much your attitude toward a text can affect your comprehension of it. Be more confident and relaxed when it’s time to read. Have instrumental music playing in the background or take a brisk walk to clear your head beforehand.
Now, over to you for the comments. What reading habit slows your reading down? How have you tried getting rid of this habit?