Speed reading has numerous benefits for our comprehension skills, focus, memory, and self-esteem. Read on to learn how to read faster.
How to speed read and read faster
There are numerous benefits to reading at a greater speed. Some of them are better discipline, improved focus and memory, and less eye strain. What’s more, reading faster can help you save time and enhance your productivity.
If you want to know how to read faster, you’ll be happy to learn you can take advantage of several methods. In this article, we’ll discuss the best ones.
What is speed reading, and is it worth it?
Before defining speed reading, let’s first discuss the stages of the reading process.
The first stage is when our eyes look at a word, which lasts around 0.25 seconds. Then, our eyes move to the following word, and this stage, called “saccade,” lasts around 0.10 seconds.
Typically, our brain memorizes 4-5 words or one sentence. Then it goes over the entire thing once more to decipher the meaning, which lasts approximately 0.50 seconds. The average reading speed is usually between 200 and 300 words per minute (wpm).
Speed reading is the process of increasing this number by at least five times. This means you can read entire books five times faster, thus saving a lot of time. How is that possible? The answer is by focusing on shorter fixations.
According to scientists, people who want to read faster should skip the subvocalization stage—i.e., they shouldn’t pronounce the word in their minds. Simply put, speed reading represents seeing words instead of speaking them silently.
Although speed reading takes time and practice, it’s worth it because it has numerous benefits. Those who improve their reading pace enhance their brain performance, process information faster, reduce distractions, and develop logical thinking.
Since speed reading takes your reading skills to a new level, it can lead to improved self-esteem and lower stress levels.
General tips for reading faster
If you want to read faster, these tips can help you:
Eliminate subvocalization (inner monologue)
Use your peripheral vision to chunk the words together instead of focusing on single words
Avoid rereading words (regression)
Use a timer to measure your reading time
Set reading goals
Summarize what you read (use mind mapping or take notes)
Focus on interesting reading materials in the beginning
Skim the key points first
Preview chapter headings and table of contents
Practice eye movement
Use the tried speed reading methods
Here are a few speed reading methods that can help you read faster:
The pointer method
Evelyn Nielsen Wood, a school teacher from Utah, claimed she could read around a whopping 2,700 wpm if she used her finger to follow the text as she read. This became known as the Pointer method and is also called “meta guiding” or “hand pacing.”
If you aren’t comfortable with using your finger, you can hold a card under the line you’re reading and move it down as you advance through the text.
The tracker-and-pacer method
This method is similar to the pointer method, with a few differences. First, you use a pen instead of your finger. Second, you can underline the words as you read to improve your focus and increase your reading speed.
If you’re a beginner, you may notice you don’t retain much information. Your reading comprehension skills will improve as you become comfortable with this speed reading technique.
The scanning method
The scanning or previewing method involves quickly moving your eyes down the page and identifying words and phrases in the process. These can be key sentences (often the first sentence of a paragraph), numbers, names, or other trigger words.
This may sound challenging at first, but there are a few tricks that can ease the process. For example, you can train your peripheral vision to absorb more information from the page. Or, you can use a mind map to organize the acquired information.
As you may have noticed, all three speed reading methods we’ve discussed focus more on skimming lines or groups of words instead of on individual words.
If you want to read faster, you need to kill “bad habits” like subvocalization and regression. Unfortunately, these tactics are often taught in school, and many aspiring speed readers have trouble eliminating them.
You can improve your reading habits, but you need to be patient. Speed reading takes time, patience, and effort.
Retain more with Speechify
Speed reading is the answer to how to read a book faster without losing focus. This process that can change your life usually involves concentrating on the main points and chunks of words.
One of the ways to practice speed reading is to listen while reading. Since listening to a text can help the reader go through it more effectively, it can improve information retention and focus. Readers who want to try this method should look into Speechify.
Speechify is a text to speech platform that turns any digital text into speech. It uses cutting-edge technology to transform a text into natural-sounding language. The platform lets users choose between 20 languages and 30 voices. What’s more, users can adjust the reading speed and even select the preferred accent.
Speechify supports numerous file formats, including PDF, EPUB, DOC, HTML, and many others. Plus, it lets users scan hard copies of books and convert them into speech. Thanks to this feature, users can enjoy audio content of all sorts of written works, including non-fiction text, web pages, documents, emails, and more.
Since Speechify is available on computers and mobile devices, users can enjoy its benefits anywhere they go.
Try Speechify today and discover its incredible features.
Why do I read so slowly?
Many people read slowly when they’re not interested in the content or can’t focus. Moreover, many slow readers struggle with frequent regressions or deficits in key cognitive processing areas.
How long does it take to read 100 pages?
The answer to this question depends on numerous factors like the font, complexity of the text, your focus, etc. On average, it takes between two and three hours to read 100 pages.
What is a good reading speed?
The average reading speed is between 200 and 300 words per minute. Speed readers can read more than 1,000 words per minute.
How is reading faster beneficial?
Reading faster can help you build discipline, improve focus and comprehension, save time, and enhance productivity.