Here’s a test for you. Are you reading this introduction after you’ve read the main sub-headings of the article? Congratulations. You’ve learned an excellent natural technique for reading at speed.
If you have lofty ambitions this year, most of those goals will probably involve some learning and a lot of reading. But our days are busy and demanding, so do we have the time we need to absorb all this information?
The answer is yes. Learning to improve your reading speed is an intelligent way to gather new knowledge when you don’t have hours to spare daily. Here are some of the most effective speed reading techniques to try.
Use Your Hands
This technique (sometimes called the “pointing” method) involves using a finger to follow the words as you read. Holding a card under the words also works well.
Your brain will naturally follow the movement of your hands and speed up the pace of your reading. This technique works best when reading from physical books rather than online (such as when reading on a tiny phone screen).
One of the reasons we read slowly is because we surround ourselves with distractions. So if you need to absorb something, switch off all other technology (TV, social media), pick a quiet room, and turn your phone to silent.
The exception here is music. Relaxing music or white noise can boost your concentration.
Are you tackling a heavy school curriculum reading list? You can train your brain to scan texts, pull out the most important words, and grasp the main points of the sentences in front of you.
That is known as scanning. It’s a highly effective technique and will positively impact the value you get from each book you buy. It works particularly well when reading articles on the internet.
Many are deliberately designed for scanning, as they use headings, subheadings, and bullet points, plus summaries, to help you quickly grab the essential facts of the article.
Test Your Speed
Start with a benchmark to become a smart student and improve your reading speed.
Choose a standard text length (a 1000 words is good) and time yourself reading it. Practice reading similar text lengths multiple times and retest your speed.
If you repeat this regularly, you should start to see those timings reduce. The more you read at speed, the better your speed-reading skills will become.
Avoid Mouthing the Words
We first learn to read out loud as children during reading comprehension lessons.
Adults occasionally mouth words when a text is challenging to read. But this technique is slow, and you want to try and avoid it when speed reading.
Be mindful of your physical actions when reading and take stock occasionally. If you catch yourself doing this, pause your reading and put your book down. Close your eyes and relax. Now return to the text and try again.
Improve Your Reading Speed Today
If you’ve got to the end of this article quickly, you’ve got what it takes to speed read. Use these tips to improve your reading speed and become as well-read and knowledgeable as your ambitions demand.
Reading is not the only way to get ahead, of course. Why not check out of success section for more top tips?