Many a times in school, we shared books with our friends and we have realized that one of us finished reading the same text faster than the other. Why does it happen? We were of the same age, studying in same school, reading the same text but one could read faster than the other. It happens because the speed of reading a text varies from person to person. Reading speed is the rate at which an individual is able to read the written documents at certain period of time. According to Bryan Green, executive at eyeQ, an average person reads only around 200 words per minute. (Green, 2014) This indicates that a 1000 word article will take us 5 minutes to read.5 minutes sounds a lot when we have to go through a lot of material in a short period of time. If we could double our reading speed, we could read it in 2 and half minutes. This is possible through speed reading. It is a technique that is used to enhance an individual’s ability to read quickly. It is skills that can be learnt. The ability to read quickly does not solely depend on how fast we read the text; the ability to comprehend the meaning also matters. By enabling to read quickly, it helps to handle our time and workload efficiently. (Clive, December2005) Let’s take a moment and think about the amount of reading we have to do every day. The day starts with newspaper, the emails, reports, proposal, letter make up our average day. Reading is the work-related skill that we most-often use but are taken for granted because we think that we are good readers as long as we can read and comprehend. (Cook, Eyre, Manktelow, & et.al, 2017). Reading consumes a lot of time in our daily life so it is a skill that we must try to improve. Over the years, the volume of study material has increased tremendously, but have we increased the speed of reading? Let us discuss some of the techniques that will help us to read quickly.
- Be Mindful.
When we are reading quickly with good comprehension, we must have our 100% focus and concentration. We should be able to reduce external noise, distractions and be mindful when our thoughts starts to wander as you read. If we notice that we are wandering in our own thoughts then we should be able to direct our mind back to the reading. Most of the readers have to read the same line more than twice to make sure that they understand what the text is trying to convey. According to Tim Ferriss, this behavior is called regression, which will eventually make the reader slow down and they will have difficulty understanding the bigger picture of the text. (Raga, 2017)
- Use a Pointer
Our eyes don’t stay fixed in one spot when we are reading. They are frequently moving ahead from your center of focus to gather more information. These movements are called saccades and these tool help readers to read quickly (Young, 2007). When this happens, we must relocate our eye to the previous reading location. Saccades cause the reader to slow down when we search for our reading position. The best way to overcome this is to use a pointer. Usually for this we can use our index finger and place it below the text and move it along with our eyes. Using a pointer will make our reading slower than normal but once we are used to it, we can read more effectively.
- Only Read the First and Last Sentence of Each Paragraph
According to Abby Marks Beale, America’s no 1 Speed Reading Expert, people want to convey information follows a certain technique. (Paul, 2017) The common technique is to start each paragraph with a topic sentence which introduces the paragraph and provides an idea of where that paragraph is headed. When we are familiar with a certain topic then we are wasting the time reading the full content. We can try reading the first and last sentence of the paragraph to grasp the general information about the topic.
- Turn off the voice in your head
From our childhood, we are used to reading aloud, because that’s what was taught from our younger days. Even as adults, most of us have the same habit so over the years we have become used to hearing the words. The problem with this habit is that it takes a lot of our time as we can understand the word quickly than we say it aloud. So, simply removing this voice can increase our ability to read faster.
- Don’t multitask while reading
All of us like multitasking as it saves our time or we like the combination of both the works. For example: I love listening to soft music when I am reading a book. According to Linda Paul, such practice should be avoided while reading if we want to increase our speed of reading. Any mental interferences or distraction should be avoided and we should fully focus on reading activity.
. Reading skill has become a crucial requirement in our daily life, most importantly work life, as we have read and understand the documents. Speed reading is a technique which enables a person to increase the reading speed. We all want to learn this technique especially when we have the task of going through huge amount of information. On average, people can read around 200 words per minute. With the technique of speed reading we can double our speed which would mean we can read up to 400 words per minute. For this we have to be mindful when our thoughts start to wander as we read. The use of pointer can help us when we tend to move ahead from our center of focus. As the informative writer follows a common technique in writing, we can read only the first and last sentence of the paragraph. Apart from this we should be able to turn off the voice in our head and avoid multitasking while reading to enhance our reading speed.
Clive, l. (December2005). Speed Strategies. Business and Economics Management , 1-17.
Cook, L., Eyre, E., Manktelow, J., & et.al. (2017). Speed Reading: Learning to read more efficiently. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from Mind tools: essential skills for excellent career: https://www.mindtools.com/speedrd.html
Green, B. (2014, October 23). The importance of speed reading at work and school. Infinite Mind .
Paul, L. (2017, July 31). 8 Tricks To Help You Read Faster. Life Hack .
Raga, S. (2017, July 5). 7 Tips for How to Read Faster (and Still Understand What You Read). Mental Floss .
Young, S. (2007). 7 Keys to Reading Faster. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from Productivity: http://thinksimplenow.com/productivity/7-keys-to-reading-faster/comment-page-2/