Are there ways to legitimately increase your reading speeds? I believe that there are and, in this article, I’m going to cover 5 ways to actually read faster
This is actually somewhat ironic but the best way to get better at something is to actually practice it. In this case read.
What you want to actually do is:
- Read often
- Read Widely
- Read Challenging material
Skilled Readers that are reading between 200 – 400 words per minute have a lot of experience reading, have a large vocabulary and may have a lot of prior background knowledge in that subject.
Knowing this now this confirms that reading is a skill and takes time to get good at to be able to master it.
Staying interested in what you are reading
You might notice that sometimes when you are reading non-fiction that you will start to read some lines of the text but then your mind will trail off and will start day dreaming.
I have two different tips to counter this problem
Staying interested in what you are reading is key, you want to create a link with what you are reading with something that you already have a lot of interest in.
You will want to experiment with your reading spots. You might have a spot in your apartment or house on the chair that you usually read or study but then would easily get distracted by other things like the TV or housemates.
Finding a spot outside might be a better solution. Find a good environment and change it if necessary
This is mainly for text book reading or reading for a specific type of information.
With this method you will want to go through the following:
- Chapter Headings
- Table of Contents
- Bold / Formatted text throughout that chapter
- Reading the summary of the chapter reviewing vocabulary terms
- Review Questions
Doing these prior to reading that particular chapter or text you are essential priming the brain to pick up the most important information while you are reading and that assist you in the next method
This may seem counterintuitive as generally skimming is a form of reading where your comprehension is lower but it is still a very essential skill that you need to learn.
This will help you get yourself through the enormous amount of reading that you need to comprehend just to get the gist / overall idea of what you are reading especially when the smaller details are that important.
One of the best methods for skimming is one that Cal Newport created called “Pseudo Skimming”
Basically, what you will do is go through your text book reading and you skim through the paragraphs looking for the specific paragraphs that are more important than the other ones.
These are ones that hold the main ideas, concepts and the things you need to remember
Once you have identified one of these paragraphs you can slow down and read in a more comprehensive state so that you can remember what you need.
The rest of that information will suffice to be skimmed through.
While “Pseudo Skimming” a good thing to do is to pay attention to the first and last sentences of each paragraph, these will give you an idea of what the paragraph contains.
If you are studying, you’ll agree that being able to absorb and retain what you had read is a more important skill that reading speed and bragging about the fact that you read 3 books last week.
Goodreads.com is not an achievement list and having a bookshelf full of books shouldn’t be seen as a trophy case.
When you read you should take time to do something with what you have just learned:
- Take notes
- Write a summary
- Compare notes with friends
- Compare what you learned with your current view of the world
Most importantly use that information to do different things and make better decisions.
All of this is going to make it better to absorb that information and have to reread less and improve your overall learning speed, which should be the end goal.
Hopefully some of these methods will help you read faster. If you want to read more get off the internet / computer / mobile phone and pick up a text book or novel and start reading and make a habit out of it
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