Now that we know that reading is good for you, how can we do it faster and more efficiently?
The brain is just like a muscle, it can be trained, and we can train our brains to do things more efficiently. In fact we constantly do this with many of the things in our life until they just become second nature. Reading is no different.
Imagine being able to read THREE TIMES as fast as you are reading right now. I’m here to show you how to do it! Increasing reading speed is not some unnatainable skill as many people believe. Reading speed to some extent is a result of how much we read. However, more importantly reading speed is a result of how we read and there are ways in which you can change how you read so that your reading speed increases.
3 Easy Ways to Read Faster
1. Quit Reading Out Loud
Most people read 200-300 words per minute, and it’s not a coincidence that 200-300 words per minute is the same rate at which we speak. Your brain being the funny little organ that it is wants to vocalize words, and can only do that so fast if you actually vocalize the words. So to read faster, ignore your brain’s impulse urges to vocalize, and just see the words – don’t speak them (even silently in your head). If you start by not speaking the words, you will start to see that reading faster becomes possible.
2. Don’t Read Things More than Once
Do not allow yourself to become distracted while reading! Reading things more than once happens to us all… I have spent many late nights in college rereading the same line of my textbook over and over again just to realize that my mind has wandered somewhere else. This obviously is not helping my reading speed. If we can limit distractions and stay focused on the task at hand, our reading speed will increase. I promise, this is half the battle.
3. Stop Focusing on Every Single Word
Do not focus on each word as you read! Focus on every other word, or every three words and use your peripheral vision to get the words around it. Your brain will be surprisingly really good at this! Try this:
Don’t focus on the word “don’t”, instead focus on “word”, and you’ll read this really fast.
If that example didn’t work for you, try doing it on other sentences in this article. Skip words and don’t spend too much time focusing on a single word. You will start to read faster. Don’t worry about comprehension as long as you are getting the general gist of what you are reading. Your brain will adjust and learn to do the rest of the work.
Marc Howard, a guest writer from Wake Up World, has put together a system to increase your reading speed in just 15 minutes. Personally, this worked wonders for me. Give it a try!
First, to determine your current wpm baseline you can hop over to ReadingSoft to take a quick free test. Make a note of this wpm number as you’ll then compare it to your new reading speed at the end of this exercise.
So here we go. Grab a pen (to use as a word tracker as we read), a timer, and a book that you can practice with and lets begin. You will be quite amazed at how simple this exercise is and how much faster you will be able to read in just a few minutes – I was absolutely blown away.
Method To Increase Reading Speed
(Set timer for two minutes): Once your timer begins read each line but spend no more than one-second per line. You will use your pen to underline each word (keep the cap on) to give your eye a fixed point to follow along as you read. Do not be concerned about retention or comprehension of the passage at this point. This step is all about speed.
(Set time for three minutes): Same as step one except now use no more than a half-second per line (so you will read two lines in one second).
Expanding Field of Vision
- (Set time for one-minute): Again spend no more than one second per line but this time begin one word in from the first word of each line and end one word in from the last line.
- (Set time for one minute): Same as above except this time start reading at second word in from beginning of the line and complete each line focusing your eyes on the second word end from the end of each line.
- (Set time for three minutes): Finally focus on the third word from the beginning and end of each line and only spend a half-second per line.
This can be pretty tough at first and you more than likely will lose comprehension as your speed increases. Keep with it. Your brain is like a muscle and with practice your speed and comprehension will both increase.
Now go back to the ReadingSoft site and using the skills above to take the test over to get your new wpm.
How much faster could you read? Did it work? Losing comprehension is something that is inevitable as you try and read faster, but again, your brain will naturally get better at comprehension as you work to increase your reading speed. In no time at all you will be amazed at how fast you are reading!
h/t: I Heart Intelligence