Speed Reading 


Did you know that your reading comprehension can be improved with speed reading? I know, I couldn’t believe it either. In other words, the faster you read, the more you understand.

Almost anyone can double their reading speed and at least maintain or even increase comprehension. The average reading speed is between 250 and 350 words per minute.

If you’re really good it can be around 500 to 700 words per minute. Can you believe that some people can read up to a thousand words per minute?

Imagine the amount of time you could save if you could learn how to speed read? Think of all the reading you have to do in a year and imagine being able to double your reading speed.

The good news is that it’s not that difficult to learn speed reading

Just like any of the other college study skills, your reading can be significantly improved if you have the desire to improve, are motivated, and know the correct technique and are willing to practice it.

Speed reading and comprehension.

There is a close relationship between reading speed and understanding, ie if you increase the reading speed, you increase the comprehension. Hard to believe isn’t it? In fact, it’s also been shown that a decrease in reading speed causes a decrease in comprehension!

What causes a reduction in reading speed?

If you are aware of the factors which cause you to read slowly, you may be able to avoid them and increase your reading speed and hence your comprehension. Some of these factors are:

  • vocalising what you’re reading
  • reading one word at a time
  • lack of concentration
  • losing your place
  • lack of reading practice
  • fear of not being able to understand what you’re reading
  • a habit of reading slowly
  • trying to remember everything

Eliminating these factors should therefore increase reading speed and consequently comprehension. Just reading faster without addressing these problems won’t improve your reading skills and understanding.

Fortunately there are speed reading programs available.

How do you increase your reading speed?

There are a number of basic conditions you need to address first before you can improve your reading speed and comprehension. They are:

  • Make sure your vision is normal. Uncorrected defects can sometimes be the cause of reading difficulties.
  • Don’t vocalise words as you read. This can sometimes be a habit and limits your reading speed to the speed you can read aloud. You should be able to read at least two to three times faster than this.
  • Avoid the habit of re-reading words and phrases. This can really slow you down and it’s really unecessary. Slower readers tend to do this the most.
  • Practice reading groups of words rather than one word at a time. Groups of words are more meaningful and improve comprehension.

Do you always read at the same speed?

Obviously there will be some material which you will read which is easy, familiar and interesting, and other material which is unfamiliar, technical, or which requires more effort to understand.

You will have to adjust your reading speed accordingly if you want to maintain your comprehension. You can be flexible with this since some parts of what you’re reading may be less difficult and more familiar than other parts of the same subject material.

You’ll know if your reading rate is not appropriate if you don’t understand what you’re reading, and you’ll soon learn what is the most suitable reading speed for different situations.

How do you speed read?

Use your hands…

You can actually start to learn speed reading skills in just a few minutes. One of the first things you need to know is that you use both hands for speed reading. This accomplishes several things:

  • It allows you to guide and pace your eye movements through the text
  • It forces your eyes to scan through new information.
  • It prevents your eyes from repeatedly reading the same words.

If you’re right handed, your left hand is used to do the above three things, and your right hand is used to turn the pages.

So, to begin speed reading, place your left hand at the start of a line and move it towards the right hand margin, making sure you focus on the text that your hand is pointing to.

When you reach the end of that line, move your hand to the start of the next line. Just keep repeating this until you reach the end of the page. Your right hand should always be positioned at the top right hand corner of the page so that you can turn the pages quickly.

Practice this technique for now so that you become proficient with both hand movements. I’ve practiced this for awhile now and it’s amazing how much quicker your reading becomes.

Get an overall view…

To instantly increase your comprehension of any book or topic, be aware of the following:

  • The first and last chapters of a book introduce and summarise the contents.
  • The first and last paragraphs in a chapter introduce and summarise the contents of that chapter.
  • Some books have sentences within their structure that introduce and summarise the contents.
  • The verbs and nouns in a sentence provide the most information.

When you realise the incredible increase in productivity you will achieve by speed reading, don’t you think it would be a good idea to learn how to do it properly by doing a course?

Here are some of the advantages :

  • You will increase your comprehension (still hard to believe!).
  • You can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent studying (more time to have a life!).
  • You can read even more books to increase your knowledge which may lead to increased opportunities in your future career.
  • You will see an improvement in your reading speed if you know the whole method.