8 Techniques To Learn How To Speed Read Easily
Everyone can learn how to speed read. Speed reading is a collection of powerful techniques that enables you to read faster, without decreasing comprehension. There are various traditional offline methods you can use to start improving your pace immediately, as well as software and online tools. Are you ready to try it out?
The Hand Pacing Technique
This is one of the simplest speed reading techniques and easy to ingrain. It involves something many of us learned as school children, but mostly discarded as we got older: the pointer technique.
This technique, invented by the pioneer of speed reading, Evelyn Wood, involves sliding the index finger across the page below the sentence you are reading, which can greatly increase your focus and reading pace.
Using your finger as a pointer is one of the fastest ways to learn how to speed read. You can read more about hand pacing here.
Reading Speed Test
To judge which speed reading techniques work best for you, you will first need a basis of comparison. There’s a way to do this yourself, manually. You can also find tests online, however, in this post, we’ll examine the manual test.
To test manually, simply use a stopwatch with a second hand, and time how quickly you read certain material. For example:
- take a book and choose a paragraph
- time yourself to see how long it takes you to completely read it
- count the number of words you have just read
Remember to read at your normal speed to get the most accurate results. Additionally, choosing paragraphs on several different pages of your book will give you a more accurate time gauge. Use these results as your starter time comparison to measure your improvement rate as you try other speed reading techniques.
Scanning and Previewing Strategies
This how to speed read technique enables you to quickly identify the main idea and essential information of what you are reading. You can learn to scan for trigger words, names, or numbers, and also to speedily identify important key sentences.
By scanning such items as titles, subheadings, indexes, and lists, you can quickly garner the gist of a body of work, before you get into the details.
For more in-depth information about previewing strategies, go here.
Word Group Reading Techniques
For many people, this is the most beneficial of all speed reading techniques, but also the hardest one when learning how to speed read.
Word group reading involves skipping single, individual word reading in favor of processing larger groupings of words, and minimizing the number of “stops” your eyes perform as you read.
The faster processing of word chunks will accelerate the comprehension of compound ideas, and thus, to be able to grasp the meaning of what you are reading with greater speed.
Here is an article on reading chunks of words that includes essential tips and training material for those who want to dig deeper.
Fastreading.com has another great in-depth and well-written article on this technique, titled “Speed Reading Techniques: Reading Groups of Words”.
How To Speed Read Using Software
Technology can be used to effectively re-train the brain for speed reading. Guided reading exercises, speed tests, and repetition techniques to eliminate bad habits are some great benefits of practicing with speed reading software.
The following are tools that have been found by many to be helpful and effective.
7 Speed Reading EX
7 is the magic number in 7 Speed Reading (read review), as it refers to the minutes per day it requires to learn, plus the tutor’s seven learning strategies to accommodate people’s natural learning styles.
The cloud-based tutor instructs users on learning practical skills in a fun and interactive manner. Furthermore, it features 15 activities that aim to reverse bad reading habits and video training, advanced progress tracking, and comprehensive step-by-step modules. To run speed reading exercises, you can use material from sites such as Wikipedia, Wiki-Books, or Wiki University or choose from thousands of e-books.
You can setup up to five user accounts and with unlimited system installs on Mac, Windows, Linux, or Chrome. All you need to learn how to speed read with this tool is a laptop, PC, or tablet with access to the internet.
One of the most popular online tools to learn how to speed read is Spreeder which is geared towards boosting your reading pace and retention on digital devices. While you can import and speed read any digital content, you may also practice your skills to process information fast and efficiently. Paste your own text, set your words per minute, and how many words you want to practice and you are ready to start.
Eye-Hop™ by Alchemy Training Unlimited
This tool teaches you to read word groups and is formatted for use both offline and on printouts. This is a useful tool for those who are more comfortable reading in a physical format, as opposed to off of a computer screen.
It offers four PDF files for download, and each PDF comes complete with instructions, found at the end of the file. It allows you to set your own pace before progressing to the next level. The site also includes a link that allows you to ‘hopify’ your own text.
Reverse Bad Reading Habits
This is a very important concept to learn how to speed read. As we develop, many of us can pick up bad reading habits that slow us down when it comes to our speed of reading, processing, and comprehending text.
Some things are easier to overcome, such as skipping back (rereading passages without need), reading in an unsuitable environment (noisy, distracting, poor lighting), or reading while tired.
Other habits, such as loss of attention or subvocalization (pronouncing words orally or mentally) can be overcome, but take time and practice to be effectively handled.
This subject of overcoming bad reading habits is covered more in-depth on our website.
Relax and Train Your Eye Muscles
Just like an athlete needs constant training to develop and define the muscles used in their sport, so too does the speed reader need their eye muscles to be in top form. As with any of the body’s muscles, the eye muscles will benefit from proper care and training.
Your eye muscles can tire quickly, making reading more difficult, so it is important to give the eye plenty of rest in between intensive reading sessions. Through suitable exercises, you can develop these muscles not to tire as rapidly.
Here are some helpful tips and a video to relax and train your eye muscles:
Use Both Sides of the Brain For Speed Reading
By now, it should be clear that speed reading is a skill that can be acquired with a lot of practice. However, it is useless to speed read without having the capability to retain and comprehend the information that you are reading.
This is where the structure of our brains can help us. The human brain has two sides, the left and the right side. Both these sides are responsible for executing numerous functions.
The left side of the brain control numerous things, including scientific ability, number skills, and spoken languages. On the other hand, the right side of the brain controls things like creativity, visualization, memorization, and imagination. A lot of people use the left side of their brain to read. This is a normal function as the left side of the brain controls written and spoken languages.
However, recent studies have revealed that people who use both sides of their brain while reading can develop greater speeds and also retain information more efficiently. Two popular techniques in which you can use both sides are:
Listen to Music – Numerous studies have revealed that people should listen to music while reading. The right side of your brain processes sounds. Hence, by listening to music, the right side of your brain will get activated, and it will be involved in the reading process. This can be very beneficial when you learn how to speed read.
Visualize ideas – The right side of your brain controls visualization and imagination, hence, try to visualize the content of any text that you are reading, e.g., if you are reading a storybook about a concert of a famous music band visualize the whole scene in detail. This will allow you to train both sides of your brain to work together.
In order to maintain a strong focus while reading, you can follow these tips.
Make sure that you read in isolation. Turn off TV, radio and your cell phone. These things not only cause disturbance while you are reading but they also take your focus away from it.
Speed read while sitting in a proper posture. Ensure that you are in a comfortable position while reading. It is advisable to read while sitting on a chair. Your feet should be at a 90-degree angle while touching the ground.
In order to use your brain efficiently, it is very important to take breaks. Ideally, you should read in 50-minute chunks and then take a break to rejuvenate.
How To Speed Read – 8 Speed Reading Techniques – Conclusion
Now that you have learned some traditional speed reading techniques to try on your own, I will summarize the most important concepts to get you started.
The basics – If you want to learn how to speed read then an effective way to do so is by mastering the most common techniques such as previewing, skimming and scanning, hand pacing, and reading chunks of words.
Habits – A big potential to improve your pace is in overcoming some of the bad habits you picked up in school and during general education. Particularly pronouncing words out loud is an activity that will hinder you to speed read your material. The same applies to regression or skipping back in the text.
Brain – A third topic is that speed readers use both sides of their brain. By doing various exercises and following the above-mentioned steps, you can easily teach both sides of your brain to function together. Always remember that the human brain is cable of performing the toughest of tasks. All you need to do is train your brain to handle problems efficiently and rationally.
Hopefully, the tips, techniques, and suggestions contained in this article help show you how to speed read in no time. For more in-depth information, please feel free to browse our website for additional articles and features.
About the author: Eva is an avid reader, and writes on many subjects, including books, cooking, art, and many other subjects
What are the most effective speed reading techniques, in your opinion? Please share your thoughts below or anything else you do to learn how to speed read.