If you currently identify at all as being an average speed reader, using the 3 techniques in this article, you will be able to at least triple your reading speed in just a few minutes of practice. A lot of modern books or self-help books or business books literally have more chapters than legitimate points to make.
Table of Contents
It becomes almost a fight to be able to save time and not waste it on reading a lot of fluff and useless things. Now, before we take it further, we want to say this is not a technique that is recommended or used for things like Shakespeare or philosophy or works of literature or anything nice like that. This is for the sort of authors that have one good idea and instead of tweeting it, write a whole book on it. And it’s therefore very frustrating to go through all of these things Super, super slowly.
And also, use this in exam papers or other places where speed reading tends to be a huge benefit. So, just developed this really fast reading skill, and broken it down into three steps for how to learn to read. The second is to train your brain, and the third is to train your attention. Now let’s jump straight into it with the first part, which is
1. Training Your Eyes:
To do this, use a physical book potentially that doesn’t have a lot of images or weird text or things in them but has normal text, which is preferably uninterrupted with pictures inside. The reason for this is because it’s a lot easier to train depending on how fast you want to learn or depending on how good you are at the moment.
You ideally want to pick a text which is slightly larger because the smaller the text, the harder this is going to be. So hard mode, small text, easy mode, bigger text. To start with, the first thing you want to do is to pick a book that you haven’t read. Please don’t pick a book that you’ve been reading again and again, because if you have, remember what you’re reading, it’s not going to be fair.
You’re not actually going to be kind of stretching your skills a lot. And you might be cheating unintentionally by just knowing what comes up next. So pick a book which you’ve wanted to read for a long time but you’ve never read before.
There are between 250 to 500 words on a single page of a book, depending on how big the spacing is. So just have an estimation of how many words are on a page, and then try to see how long it takes you to be two or three pages and divide that by the number of words. So you have your baseline starting rate of reading. This is absolutely not necessary.
But if you want to see that you have kind of a huge change or to see where you can get to it might be fun to quantify this if you’re into that. So this is where we’re going to start training our eyes to read faster. What we’re going to be doing here is something that you can learn in literally 30 seconds. That is to just use your peripheral vision. What that is is basically if you’ve ever had an exam or in medical school, this is what we learned to do to patients is you will ask a patient to look at you straight in the eye.
So how this helps with speed reading is that what we usually do when we read is we put that center of our focus. We have the central vision, and then we have our peripheral vision at the side. What we usually do is we use our central vision, this straight direction of our eyes on the very first word. And then we take it all the way across to the last word.
And then we go again and again and again. So the core laser of our focus goes all the way from left to right, from left to right, from left to right. And we’re not taking advantage of this peripheral vision on the side. We can imagine that we have this huge wasted space here when our center of the focus is over here and you can see how that would take so much longer to go through the whole text.
So what we want to do is instead of skipping our eyes from the start of the sentence and the line to the end, we just want to skip it throughout the middle. What we’re doing is flicking through the center of the text and using our peripheral vision to read the size. So this is something that you can legitimately do right now. So if you just pick up a book from anywhere or even as you’re reading this article, if you can just pay a bit more attention off that side focus.
You can start to kind of realize just how much more you’re looking at than you are normally paying attention to and that’s what you’ll be doing with the text. So just draw two lines down the center of the page. You can try and just do it naturally with your eyes, but just try to flick between the middle of the page as much as possible and just really flick only in the middle and be able to read everything from the sides.
So this is how you can physically do the speed reading part. But of course, we have to also account for comprehension because you can see how potentially this is just scanning the text and not actually understanding everything.
2. Train Your Brain:
To be able to be a fast reader is the biggest issue that we run into when trying to teach people in person how to speed read. You just have to do that a lot longer and then you get over it. So basically when we’re reading very slowly, it’s obviously a lot easier to comprehend everything that we are reading. But when we are speed reading, there will be a huge amount of comprehension loss, which is basically reading things but not actually absorbing what we are kind of seeing.
So this is what we need to start getting used to and what we need to start challenging. If we’re always reading at our 100% comprehension, we won’t be able to read faster and faster because the moment that we start to not understand things, we’re just going to stop and go back to our original speed. So we need to use the text that we are not studying or that’s just a practice paper or a practice book and we just need to practice reading at 70 or 80% comprehension. So you want to read something while you’re only able to understand 70% of it. When you’re at that stage, then you can start challenging yourself.
how can I make myself understand this better? this is where we going to get to the top tip, which is visualization. This is so important. So no matter what the speed that you’re reading at, sometimes even when reading very slowly and just lying in bed, we’ve all had this feeling where we just read a paragraph, it might happen very slowly and at the end of it someone asks us what we read and we’re just like, I have no clue. We just looked at the text, and we technically read it, but we don’t understand everything.
This happens at every single speed. It’s just so much easier to do at a faster speed. So the key around this is to visualize what you are reading so you’re not looking at the text, you’re not scanning the text. You’re properly interpreting this as a mental image in your mind and you’re constantly building this image as you are reading. Visualization for reading is absolutely so important.
It helps so much with my comprehension at any speed and it helps so much with learning. Every time that we read something, we draw a mental image. Of course, if we do this in science, it will mean that we have to read very, very slowly to kind of picture the molecules or what we imagine the molecules to be. But if we are reading a literary book or if reading a business book, it’s so much easier to visualize these things, which allows going to very fast speeds. So challenge yourself to learn to visualize what you are reading about.
Anything can be visualized. Like molecules, atoms can be visualized. Literally, anything that we are reading is very easy to draw a mental picture of. But even better, if you visualize, then you’ll be able to comprehend so much more. You want to use a book that you haven’t read because you should not be cheating at this stage.
But you want to try to build a picture of whatever is written in the text and then try to do this as fast as possible as you are reading. You will realize that eventually, even though you are maintaining this really fast speed with peripheral vision, you are able to build this picture in your head and you might get up to 90 or more percent comprehension of what you are actually reading. In this training, your brain part involves firstly, visualizing everything that you are reading.
Secondly, being comfortable with comprehension loss. But challenging this very harshly at every single stage and always trying to train yourself to read at a level where you are at 70 or 80% comprehension because that is how you can get faster and faster at what you are doing.
Lastly, Speed Reader it’s such good training for your focus because when you’re doing this, you want to be in a very comfortable position. You want to be in a space that is potentially quite quiet so you can focus 100% on what you are doing. We found speed reading to be such a good way to train focus, which is usually quite scattered.
But through training self to speed read, getting very good at being able to laser focus on something when need to. You do need this laser focus because otherwise you’re just playing around with your eyes rather than actually involving your brain and comprehending what the hell is happening on paper.
3. Training Our Focus:
It is genuinely the most tiring thing in the world. If you are speed reading really, fast for kind of like an hour or a prolonged period of time, it genuinely feels like someone just took out your brain and beat it with a baseball bat because it is so tiring. It takes so much energy and so much focus, and it leaves you so drained in the end that sometimes. It’s kind of not worth it almost. It would be worth it to read a book slower.
But for example, if you are in an exam, think it’s much more worth it for you to speed read through the exam paper because you know it’s only going to be two or 3 hours, and then after that, you can be as hard as you want. But you have been able to do this a lot more efficiently or sometimes for a book, do you want to waste 5 hours on a horrible book, or do you want to speed read it in an hour and then kind of take the 4 hours to do something fun? But you have the same amount of information.
4. Training Your Focus:
Maintaining this exercise without exhaustion. It is genuinely the most tiring thing in the world. If you are speed reading really, fast for kind of like an hour or a prolonged period of time, it genuinely feels like someone just took out your brain drain and beat it with a baseball bat because it is so, tiring. It takes so much energy and so much focus, and it leaves you so drained in the end that sometimes it’s kind of like not worth it almost. And it would be worth it to read a book slower.
But for example, if you are in an exam, it’s much more worth it for me to speed read through the exam paper because you know it’s only going to be two or 3 hours and then after that, you can be as hard as you want. But you be able to do this a lot more efficiently or sometimes for a book. So these are the kinds of calculations that making when speed reading. It is extremely tiring, which means that the more that we can adjust our environment to make this more comfortable for us.
Speed Reader Quick Tips:
The first thing is don’t try to do this with books that have really small writing. If they’re physical books with really small text, that will be so much more exhausting. It is recommended actually to use a Kindle or an iPad to read or a computer to read this as much as possible because, on all these devices, you can very easily adjust the brightness and also adjust the size of the text.
So the bigger the text, the easier it is to speed read and use our peripheral vision. Ideally, if you want to speed read a book and you know in advance that this is going to be a bit of a crappy book that you want to be through, then prefer to buy that on a Kindle rather than buy the physical book version, because then you can speed read it a lot faster.
Adjusting the screen brightness either when it’s very dark to have it to a dark screen so it doesn’t tear out eyes, or when it’s daylight to have it to quite a bright screen. You can actually see what you reading is really helpful. Lastly, this is a bit of a cheating thing, but it really helps with speed reading, and that is to spread the attention across many of my senses. So what this means is that sometimes if I want to speed read the book, I will also buy the audible version of the book, Or I will buy the audiobook too.
The physical book is in front of you and you listening to the audiobook because what that means is it really helps maintain focus. Because, for example, if you speed reading and you just get tired, It’s very easy for you to just do this and leave. But if you have an audiobook, It’s so much fast to kind of pause the audiobook at the right spot and then take a tiny break and then start again.
Speed Reader Conclusion:
So it kind of forces us not to stop. Just play the audiobook while reading and that will help the speed and breathe through the book as fast as possible. Also, things like using your finger to trace what you are reading Might really help, but the main thing here is using a large size text and that genuinely makes the biggest difference.
Also using an audiobook at the same time also really helps kind of maintain that focus for prolonged periods of time. It’s genuinely almost like a physical sport and competitive activity. So it’s not just an easy, casual thing that you’re doing at the side. It’s actually quite hard to do.
So breaks are really important. Don’t speed read books back to back because you will literally fry out your brain but do it at small periods at a time. Recommend just trying this exercise for 15 minutes once or twice will genuinely really increase your reading speed. So in that case, if you’re actually into this for a competitive reason, then potentially measuring your speed right now and what it could become in the future will really help see that you’ve made a difference.