Want to get through this article faster?
While the average adult can get through about 250 words each
minute at a 70 percent comprehension rate, speed readers can get through up to
500 words or more just as quickly while still comprehending the material. That
means they can read twice as fast as typical readers. Imagine what that kind of
speed could do for your productivity
at work, your research and your level of knowledge.
These tips from speed reading pros will improve your speed
without compromising your comprehension levels:
Rely on a Pointer
Even when you are focusing on a particular object, your eyes
still briefly move away from your focus. They do this to gather information,
and you can use this tool to increase your reading speed.
Many people struggle to keep their reading position, and
this is due to the constant movement of the eyes. To prevent this issue and
boost your reading speed, use a pointer. The tip of a finger will do – just
move it along with your gaze as you read a line of text. At first, you may feel
this technique is slowing you down, but you will soon adjust and see your speed
Focus on Control Instead of Speed
Reading quickly is only helpful if you can still comprehend
what you have read. Think about cars – anyone can make them go fast by stepping
on the pedal, but only talented professional drivers can control them at top
speeds. Instead of blazing through texts as fast as you possibly can, aim for a
speed at which you can still understand and remember what you have read.
Beginner readers often say words aloud. This is valuable in
teaching pronunciation, but it decreases your reading speed. Even if you aren’t
actually moving your mouth and making sounds, you can still vocalize words in
your head. This is called subvocalization, and it has the same slowing effect
as reading aloud.
To break a pattern of subvocalizing, try moving your pointer
at a speed greater than you can subvocalize. You may be surprised that you can
still understand what you are reading without saying the words “aloud” in your
Speed reading is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes
time and practice to hone. You’ll see your reading rate improve the more you
To gauge your starting point and your progress, take this
self-test once a week or once a month:
Set a timer for 60 seconds.
Mark your starting point in a reading passage.
Read until the 60 seconds are up.
Make another mark where you finished reading.
Count the lines you finished reading.
Next, look at the second line you read and write
down the number of words in it, including short words.
Finally, multiple the number of words times the
number of lines you read. This is your reading speed in words per minute.
With practice, you should see this number improve over time!