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Tips for how to read faster

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Learning on June 27, 2022
Have you ever wondered just how speed readers are able to achieve quick reading speeds? Here are some techniques to help anyone improve their speed of reading, and reading comprehension so that you are able to maintain retention of the content that is read.

    Tips for how to read faster

    Many people would love to read more, but find themselves struggling because they read too slowly, or not as fast as they would like to. Have you ever wondered just how speed readers are able to achieve quick reading speeds

    Here are some techniques to help anyone improve their speed of reading, and reading comprehension so that you are able to maintain retention of the content that is read. 

    Here are some hacks to help you start reading faster.

    Overview of reading speeds

    It’s true that people read at different speeds. This has been confirmed by various studies which looked at reading times. These studies have shown us that most people read at the same speed in which they talk. 

    The average reading time of an average person can vary between 150 and 250 words per minute, or WPM for short. 

    According to a study by Rosaline Streichler, Ph.D. Center for Teaching Development, University of California, San Diego, the average reading speed of the average student is 250 words per minute. 

    Marc Brysbaert at Ghent University did a study “How many words do we read a minute? A review of meta- analysis of reading rate”  based on the analysis of 190 studies (17,887 participants) showed that the average silent reading rate for adults in English is 238 words per minute for non-fiction, and 260 wpm for fiction. 

    It’s important to note that your reading pace can vary according to the type of reading material. Non-fction has a slower reading pace than fiction.

    Speed readers however, have an average reading speed that can be above 1000 words per minute.  One of the reading skills they focus on is reducing subvocalization. This is when you hear a voice inside your head reading. Learning to reduce this greatly improves reading speeds We will look at some of the best techniques used by speed readers and go over some new skills to help you improve.

    Speed reading techniques

    There are many different ways to increase your reading speed, the first is to change some of your reading habits. 

    Tim Ferriss, a well known speed reader, teaches a scientific way to learn speed reading without using technology. Some of the techniques he suggests for speed reading are to first eliminate what is known as regression. This is when we re-read a line or paragraph fro comprehension. Regression slows down readins speeds. Some tips he recommends are to increase peripheral vision to help train your mind to only read keywords instead of every word on the page. 

    Improving your speed reading is as easy as using a few techniques which we will go over. 

    Technique 1- stop your inner voice

    As you read, you may have noticed that you hear a voice in your head. This is what’s known as your inner monologue or in technical terms, what is known as subvocalization. 

    We do this because of how we were taught to read at an early age. When students are first taught to read, teachers encourage them to read words out loud. This is because reading out loud increases comprehension, which is important when you are learning the new vocabulary needed for reading. As students became more fluent, their teachers told them to stop reading out loud and to read silently to themselves. This is how the inner voice was developed. 

    In order to increase your reading speed, you have to minimize your inner voice. While it’s not possible to stop subvocalization completely there are some strategies to minimize it so you can start to read faster. 

    For example, a great way to stop your inner voice is to listen to music while you read. Make sure the music that you choose doesn’t have lyrics or a very uptempo beat as these would distract you. Classical music is a great option to help focus and stop subvocalization. 

    Another thing many people started doing when they learned to read is moving their lips when they read. This is known as vocalization, and this bad habit is another obstacle to overcome in your goal of speed reading. 

    Technique 2- word chunking

    When we read, we usually look at each word as we read a line of text. Focusing on individual words will actually slow you down. It’s better to look at groups of words and to quickly find main points of the text using key words. We don’t actually need to read each word to comprehend. For instance, the 6 word sentence “The cow jumped over the moon”  can be shortened to groups of words that have the main key words in them, like “cow jumped over moon”. Using groups of words like this, your brain will still be able to comprehend the main ideas of the sentence using a smaller number of words and only focusing on key words.

    Training yourself to practice this technique can greatly improve your reading time. 

    Technique 3- peripheral vision

    The third technique that can transform you from a slow reader into a speed reader is by using your peripheral vision. 

    This involves using very different eye movements than are normally used for reading. 

    For example, the typical eye movements used for reading are a left-to-right pattern across a line of text. This is the way that we were taught to read. But a technique that speed readers use is to focus on a single word in the center of the line. Then, use your peripheral vision to read the rest of it. 

    This technique will take some practice getting used to, but when combined with learning to read chunks of words, can be a very powerful technique to increase your reading speed. 

    Technologies that can help you read faster

    Along with these techniques, there are also great technologies to help you practice speed reading. Some great apps available on Android are Speed Reading and Spreeder which is also available on ios. 

    Focus-Speed Reading and OutRead App are both available on ios.

    Speed reading is a great skill that will take some time to master. However if your goal is to simply ingest content more quickly, then text to speech technology is a better choice. It’s more effective in improving your reading comprehension as well. 

    Text to speech software also gives you much more control over the reading process. With text to speech technology you are able to read by paragraph, sentence, or word, and you are able to adjust the speed that the text is read to you. You can either read along as the text is read, or just listen. 

    Speechify is a great text to speech app that can help you consume reading content more quickly and speed up the time that you would normally take to read a text. 

    One of the biggest benefits of using text to speech technology such as Speechify versus reading quickly is improved comprehension, and retention. Also, its much easier because you don’t have to invest the time required to learn the speed reading techniques. 

    Using Speechify to read text is easy and versatile You can import any book from Audible and have it read to you using the Speechify app. Speechify is available for ios, and Android and there is even a browser plug in for Google Chrome

    If you don’t have an Audible account, you can still use Speechify to read any other text you have, such as ebooks, blog posts and articles.

    Speechify even works with hard copies of books. Just scan the page of any book with the Speechify app, this will instantly convert it to a digital document that can be read aloud. 

    With Speechify, everything is an audiobook.


    Can you read 400 pages in a day?

    The average reader can read 400 pages in about 11 hours. If you need to read 400 pages in a day, you can utilize text to speech apps such as speechify that allow you to adjust the reading speed for more efficiency.

    How can I read faster without losing comprehension?

    Chunking words together in a sentence and focusing on the key words can allow you to comprehend the material without having to read every single word.

    Recent Blogs

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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