Why do I read so slowly?

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    Why do I read so slowly? Discover the potential causes of and solutions for slow reading.

    Why do I read so slowly?

    Slow reading can affect us in many ways. We may struggle to enjoy books, have trouble studying, or question our competence. If you’re a slow reader, you’ll be happy to know that this can be changed.

    Here, we’ll discuss what causes slow reading speed and what you can do to become a faster reader.

    What is considered a slow reading speed?

    Before discussing slow reading speed, we first must define the average reading speed.

    The average reading speed typically ranges between 250 and 300 words per minute (WPM). Many experts agree that those who read fewer than 200 words per minute are considered slow readers.

    The leading causes of slow reading

    Let’s look at the leading causes of slow reading:

    Poor concentration

    Many people are slow readers because they can’t seem to focus on what they’re reading. This often happens if you’re exposed to noise or other external factors while trying to read.

    Poor concentration is also related to daydreaming or worrying about problems. The lack of concentration can also be connected to the lack of interest in the text you’re reading.

    Underdeveloped vocabulary

    Another common cause of slow reading is an underdeveloped vocabulary. College students or professionals new to a certain field often experience reading issues due to this cause.

    If you haven’t been exposed to specific terminology before, chances are you’ll have trouble understanding the text you’re reading. Due to this, you’ll read more slowly to try to pick up new words and their meaning.

    Poor reading techniques

    Slow reading isn’t something one is born with. As you grow and expand your vocabulary, you can learn to read faster. One obstacle that can stand in your way is poor reading habits.

    Long fixation on particular words and phrases is one example of poor reading habits that can affect your concentration and slow down your reading.

    Moreover, regression or backtracking is a common issue that leads to slow reading. It involves frequent and often unnecessary re-reading of a text.

    Finally, subvocalization, or the internal speech while reading, can also affect your focus and prevent you from processing the text faster.

    How to read faster

    If you use the right techniques, you can become a faster reader. Here’s how to read faster:

    Removing distractions

    The first thing you should do if you want to read faster is to remove distractions from your environment. This means eliminating all trinkets, pictures, and objects from the area you’re reading in and ensuring nothing can interrupt you.

    Skimming the text first

    Before reading a text in detail, it’s always a good idea to skim it first and get a grasp on its structure and content. Start with reading the table of content, then move to headings and subheadings. You can also read the first paragraph of each heading to get an idea of the main topics.

    Avoiding re-reading

    When reading, we often go back to re-read certain words and phrases. However, this can disrupt our flow and prevent us from increasing our reading speed.

    Since we usually re-read words without realizing it, this can be a tough habit to break. One of the best ways to avoid re-reading is to use your finger, pen, ruler, or bookmark and guide yourself through the text.

    Improving your vocabulary

    Coming across an unfamiliar word can disrupt our reading, especially if we can’t figure out its meaning based on the surrounding words. When this happens, we think about what our next step is. Do we pause and look up the word’s meaning or move on?

    To avoid such scenarios from happening too often, it’s vital to expand our vocabulary. To do this, you can read more good books, listen to audiobooks, write down new words you learn on social media, watch movies and TV shows, etc.

    As you improve your vocabulary, you’ll notice you’re becoming a better reader. Moreover, a rich vocabulary enhances reading comprehension and writing and speaking skills.

    Using technology to assist you

    Text to speech (TTS) technology can help you improve your vocabulary and enhance your reading ability. You can convert a text to spoken language and read it while listening to its audio version.

    This can help you avoid re-reading and subvocalization and enhance retention and comprehension.

    One of the best TTS platforms on the market is Speechify.

    Read faster with Speechify

    Speechify allows you to convert any text into natural-sounding language in a few seconds. Having a text in written and audio versions allows you to practice reading, comprehension, and retention, extend your reading sessions, and become a speed reader.

    As a high-quality text to speech platform, Speechify is particularly useful for students with ADHD and learning disabilities like dyslexia. These individuals often find reading books challenging but enjoy listening to audio files.

    The platform is great for anyone who wants to improve their first language skills but also for those who want to learn another language. Speechify lets users choose the desired language, voice, and accent and customize the playback speed to ensure the best results. In fact, you can listen to any physical or digital text up to 4.5x the speed (or 900 WPM) and boost your productivity 405%. Listening at a faster rate on a regular basis can help you understand content at a quicker rate and also help you go from being a slow or average reader to a speed reader in no time at all.

    Try Speechify for free today.

    FAQ

    Is slow reading a form of dyslexia?

    Slow reading can but doesn’t have to be a sign of dyslexia.

    How do I improve my reading speed?

    You can improve your reading skills and speed by avoiding distractions, setting a goal, using peripheral vision, or chunking. Additionally, you can find a wide range of techniques and tips on the internet.

    Is it OK to be a slow reader?

    Yes, it’s okay to be a slow reader. In fact, numerous smart people don’t read fast, and they have no problems with it. Many even agree that slow reading (up to a certain point) improves comprehension and retention. But, if you’re an extremely slow reader and can’t remember any information you read, it may be wise to consult a doctor.

    How do I know if I have dyslexia?

    You may have dyslexia if you often confuse visually similar words, make spelling errors, read slowly, or find it hard to listen or concentrate. If you have such issues, it’s vital to consult a doctor.

    What are the benefits of being a fast reader?

    Reading at a faster pace boosts your confidence, improves memory and creativity, and reduces stress levels. It also enhances your employment opportunities, saves time, and improves focus.

    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.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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