Speed reading is all the rage these days. We have little time and so much to read through that being able to read more without sacrificing comprehension is an essential skill more and more students and professionals want to master.
You can improve your reading speed and get up to 3 times faster, simply by letting go of reading habits you learned in primary school and by adopting skills that are more … 21st century compatible, shall we say. Let’s dig in!
Read chunks of words, not word after word
At school you learned to read in a linear manner. Spell out every sound, syllable, and word before moving on to the next. It’s a great practice for children who are just starting to learn to read, but it’s not helpful when you want to read at 500 or 600 words per minute.
When we read we fixate our eyes on a particular area in front of us. To read faster you need to have the fewest number of fixation points per line as possible in order to read faster through each line. This is reading in saccades, jumping from one fixation point to the next in little bursts.
Each fixation act lasts as little as 0.25 of a second, so imagine how much improvement you will achieve by having only one or two fixation points per line! This will greatly improve your words-per-minute rate.
To achieve this you have to learn to use your peripheral vision when reading. Instead of fixating on a single word, focus your eyes in the blank space between two words so that you must read both the word on the left side of the space and on the right side at the same time.
After some time you’ll be able to read more than two words at once using your peripheral vision and by expanding your fixation area.
The only way is forward
Fixation is not the only problem when it comes to speed reading mastery. You also need to eliminate regression.
This is another leftover habit from when you were young and just starting out to read. You would spell out a word, and then instantly read the whole thing to get what you’re reading.
This habit as an adult, however, will completely ruin your speed reading potential. If you constantly back-skip to reread words and whole sentences because you weren’t paying attention, you’re spending too much time. It is estimated that about one third of your reading time is spent rereading stuff you just read either because you consciously didn’t get it the first time, or because it is something your brain is still trying to process in the old letter-by-letter method.
Either way, you need to reduce regression to a minimum in order to read more in less time. What you can do:
– Prevent yourself from re-reading a phrase of word – unless of course you absolutely have to!
– Use a pointer to keep your reading speed at a high level. Using your index finger, your cursor, or a pen will force your eyes to read faster. Of course, to achieve this you first need to increase your focus and alertness so that every phrase you read is understood and you can move on to the next without backtracking.
By eliminating these two bad habits of regression and vocalization you will be able to read at as much as three times your current reading rate. Remember, speed reading takes practice and the more you practice the faster you will read!
7 Speed Reading is designed to be the world’s most powerful speed reading training program. If you want to learn speed reading, 7 Speed Reading is the best option.