So you want to read faster? The first thing that comes to mind when someone says “reading” is grasping and understanding written information. It also serves as one of the most important skills we can have. Without it, we would be lost in a sea of words with almost no way to navigate. So given this importance, why do so few people seem to read at a decent pace?
Some blame it on poor eyesight or other issues regarding physical development, while others point towards disinterest in reading; however, I believe there are several ways you can build up your speed without much effort involved:
How to Increase Reading Speed
There are several ways that you can increase your reading speed. Read on to learn some tips for how to read and understand faster.
Use Signpost Words
In some ways, signpost words serve as an indicator for the word you’re supposed to read. They can be seen as the equivalent of “the,” “an,” and other articles. In addition, signpost words indicate a change in ideas which further acts as a road marker for your eyes.
Use Transition Words
Words like, however, therefore, play an important role in connections between sentences and paragraphs. Moreover, these transition words make it easier for our brains to quickly adjust while processing information, given that they are easily noticeable (they stand out) and have almost become second nature after reading them so many times before.
Read Out Loud to Yourself
This will help you overcome most spelling, punctuation, or grammar issues since you’ll hear how the words sound while you’re reading or speaking them. This will also give your brain a better understanding of what the author is trying to say, allowing you to read faster as well.
Slow Down Your Initial Speed
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it works! Try this: First, read at a regular pace for maybe three minutes or so, then stop and re-read that section again, but much slower (and don’t cheat). You should understand everything without any problems, and if anything still seems unclear, make sure you take more time than usual to figure out the intended meaning by giving every word its due attention.
Once you feel confident enough that everything makes sense proceed to read at your regular pace once again. If you do this every day for around 10 minutes or so, you will start to see an improvement in how fast you can comprehend and understand what’s being said.
Read Aloud to Someone Else
While some might not feel comfortable reading things out loud to others, I found that it worked quite well. People like hearing their own name every now and then. It also helps them maintain interest if they know someone is taking the time to speak about the subject with them (especially if they share similar interests). When you read aloud to someone else, your brain has to switch back and forth between speaking and listening modes which makes it easier for your eyes and mind to follow along since both are receiving input at the same time.
Make It a Hobby
It doesn’t matter if you like reading or not, make it a hobby! Think about it: When we have a hobby, we spend hours upon hours doing something that not everyone else does or understands without any complaints. We dedicate our precious free time to work on this “hobby” because regardless of how stupid or pointless others may think we look while doing it, we’ll do it anyway. That’s how much passion and dedication one needs to succeed in anything they wish to be good at.
If you don’t believe me, just think of knitting or building plastic models for a bit…
That’s right. Reading should be enjoyable, not something you feel forced into doing because someone told you to! Reading is like any other activity: if you want to build muscle tone, you must work out regularly (not sporadically), if you want a well-kept garden, then once every two weeks won’t cut it, and reading is no different. Unless, of course, your goal was to start slow so as not to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information you need to read, in which case I would recommend reading small paragraphs or even sentences at first to get used to the idea.
Get Rid of Distractions When You Read
It’s no use trying to memorize something that your mind won’t allow yourself completely immerse into finding out how to read and understand faster due to distractions such as a computer monitor, TV set, or anything that requires your attention. Once you start feeling stressed out by having multiple things on your mind, stop and go back later after taking a short break to concentrate better. We’re here for one thing: learning!
Adjust to the Material You’re Reading
If something is too boring or hard, then don’t feel bad for skipping it entirely. Chances are, if you don’t understand it at this moment, you won’t be able to comprehend it later on either. On the other hand, if something is too easy, then read through it once more, not only to make sure you’re reading everything correctly but also because if something seems too simple, chances are there’s a secret behind what might seem like harmless words or phrases.
How to Use Your Eyes When Reading
Instead of your eyes haphazardly jumping around the page when discovering how to read and understand faster, try focusing them on just 1-3 words at a time. This will slow down your initial speed and allow your brain to process what the author conveys before moving on. However, don’t feel limited by this suggestion. Each person has their own unique way of reading, and what works for them might not work for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you figure out precisely how YOU like to do it.
This is especially for those studying and taking notes: make sure you commit everything to memory when learning how to increase reading speed! It’s no use just reading something once, then stopping dead in your tracks because all you can think about is what you’re going to eat after class or how much longer it’s going to be until the end. If this happens, try re-reading that same paragraph/sentence again and again till it sticks. Then, once you have it memorized, recite it aloud with a friend or in front of a mirror.
Create a Study Routine and Stick to It
The way I suggest learning how to increase reading speed, which seems to work quite well, is to decide on what particular time of day or night you are going to study. For example: “Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6 PM till 10 PM, I will spend studying biology/history/linguistics and so on”. Then try your best to stick with this schedule because having a routine is crucial for creating better habits in the long run.
Read for 15 Minutes at a Time
If your goal is to learn how to read faster, then I would recommend doing only a few pages at once and then taking a short break (like 5 minutes max) before resuming where you left off. This will help prevent burnout and keep your mind fresh so that you won’t feel burned out by the time you’re done with whatever chapter or section it is that you’re currently reading through (usually recommended if this takes more than one sitting).
There are many advantages to learning how to read faster. Reading for longer periods will give you more chances to practice and remember the material. However, it’s all up to you whether or not you should do this. If you feel that a quick read-through is better suited for your goal, then there’s no need to force yourself to read slower if it doesn’t fit your style.