A Guide To Fast Reading Techniques

guide to fast reading techniques

Last week, I composed a hand-out about fast reading techniques for a friend who wanted to increase his reading speed and skills. I included a few tips and tricks, but when handing it over, I thought it would be good to have something similar on our blog as well. My goal was to compile a list consisting of short intros and links to interesting tutorials on our site. A great starting point to learn how to speed read.

1. Overcoming bad reading habits

In school we all learned reading, but it’s likely we picked up some bad reading habits as well. I did at least. Bad reading habits refer to less efficient reading techniques. Some will be easy to change; some require more training and time. Learn how to overcome them for non-fiction reading.

2. Hand pacing techniques

I started using quick reading techniques by applying the pointer method, hence, using my index finger to move along the lines to control both focus and pace. The hand pacing technique is easy to learn and shows effects straight away.

3. Previewing techniques

To preview material means picking the main idea and important information before digging into details. Previewing techniques are suitable for almost any type of content. This post introduces major strategies to scan written material before reading.

4. Word group reading techniques

Probably one of the fast reading techniques I like most as reading word groups offers the most benefits for readers. The method skips single-word reading in favor of processing bigger chunks of words. Instead of having six or seven eye stops per line, you will achieve 3 or fewer with this technique. Strongly recommended!

5. Increasing comprehension

Speed is crucial, but comprehension is king. I can fly over any content like a rocket, but without understanding subtle details I could miss important information. This article looks at five important steps to increase reading speed and comprehension.

6. Useful software tools for exercises

Once you know the rules it’s time to exercise. This post provides tools to practice speed reading methods daily. Learn how to process four or five words at once using either a video application called Spreeder (view website) or printed PDF booklets. Essential!

7. Software to learn fast reading techniques

There’s very good premium software such as Spreeder (visit website) on the market, but also heaps of free software apps and tools available to practice techniques. While paid software programs may be more comprehensive and designed like a course, free applications are nice tools to get started too. This post is a comprehensive review on the best speed reading software.

8. Speed reading benefits

You actually can skip this point as I assume you’re very keen to learn how to read faster and know what it’s good for. However, this list of benefits may help convince friends and family to give existing reading habits a different approach.

9. 19 instant tips to improve fast reading techniques

Do you also want a compact list of tips to print and carry around? Here’s one with 19 speed reading tips ready to apply in daily life. Use them as a quick reminder during the day or as a bookmark for books and magazines.

10. Memory techniques

This video (left) contains various tips on how to improve memory skills. The suggested article also features an intro to the Speed Reading Journal with daily updates on techniques, software, videos and courses.

11. How to relax eyes muscles

Eye muscles can get tired quickly. Taking regular breaks between intensive reading sessions allow them to recover fast as well. Here are a few tips and a video to relax, train and warm up your eye muscles.

12. Learning with videos

What does speed reading look like in action? Are there any videos explaining the basic concept? Explore all articles with videos covering fast reading techniques.

13. 21 Days Speed Reading Challenge

All articles introduced in this post will give you the tools and knowledge to read faster. To master your new skill, I also suggest starting a course. There are various options available: You may check out the free 21 Days speed reading challenge on this site. You can browse our online shop for books and software. The advantage of taking part in a course is to follow a training plan and to have techniques organized regarding their difficulty levels.

14. Articles from other websites

It’s recommended to research the internet for efficient techniques and courses before starting out. You can either start using “fast reading techniques” as a search term at Google, Yahoo or Bing. Otherwise, these two links may be helpful: Introduction to reading strategies [PDF] | Scientific Speed Reading [Article]


Enjoy learning! Do you know any methods or modifications? Please use the comment box or email contact form.

Photo Credit: FlickR Creative Common 3.0 / Hashmil: Title: Books to be returned


  1. When I was a student I was electrified by the concept of speed reading. However, I had also been thinking that it could be simply a myth.At some stage I stopped practicing, but the topic has come back to my mind again when looking up reading improvement tips and landing on your site. Great tips and resources; guess Im back on track again to give it another try.

  2. I used to be even worse. I’d find myself whispering words as I read. That’s when I decided to learn new techniques which eventually led to speed reading.

  3. Kim Rawks says:

    @Bad reading habit: Moving my lips when reading as if I’m speaking out loud. I’m sure it wastes lots of time.

    1. mark ways says:

      Indeed, if we pronounce the words in our head we slow down significantly. We can’t read faster than the speed we talk with, so best thing is to eliminate subvocalization. A good technique is to learn to read chunks of words or do some daily drilling without focusing too much on comprehension.

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