How to speed reading?Or How to do speed reading? Or how to increase reading speed? Are some of the questions I usually get from my friends and clients.
I have tried many online courses claiming to increase the reading speed unrealistically? Like read 300 plus book in a year, complete a book in an hour, etc.
How to speed reading?
With this guide and regular practice, you can increase your reading speed remarkably. I am not going to make any false promises of increasing reading speed by 300% or finish a book in one hour.
Here you will learn how to speed reading? And also not compromising comprehension. What is the point of reading if you do not understand anything?
In this guide, You will know how to speed reading? Or how to do speed reading? Learn speed reading online free here, just bookmark this page for future reference.
Do you feel that If you can increase your reading speed, you could finally complete your reading list? Do you feel stressed by the amount of reading you have to do? This how to speed reading?- guide is your one-stop solution for your all speed reading learning,
How to speed reading?
- Know your current reading speed. Take a speed reading test.
- Understand the bad reading habits of yours and how to overcome them?
- Learn and practice techniques of speed reading,
- Practice speed reading strategies,
- Do the speed reading eye exercises
- Debunk speed reading myths
In this guide of how to speed reading? You will find the details required for how to learn speed reading?
This post is HUGE and includes the techniques of speed reading and speed reading strategies that have worked for me. I will keep updating this page for new techniques.
This guide includes some affiliate links, if you buy something from these links I may get a small commission. You will not have to pay anything extra for that.
How to calculate reading speed test
In this article, I will share how to calculate the reading speed test? This test and formula will give you an exact way to calculate your reading speed.
The reading speed is measured in words per minute( WPM) just like your typing speed, which means the number of words you are able to read per minute will determine your reading speed.
There are many online free websites there to calculate reading speed as a test. This website will give you the test to read online to test your reading speed.
However, If you are looking for manual techniques to calculate reading speed. You can read further.
Reading speed calculation formula 1
The number of words read/time spent reading that in minutes= Reading speed.
This is the simplest way to calculate your reading speed.
- Set up a time for one minute.
- Read any text till the timer goes off
- Calculate the number of words you read
- That is your reading speed.
However, I find this method a little unjust and may not be applicable in a regular environment.
I mean you read for more than one minute, isn’t it? For a starter, this method can be good but it may not give you the actual picture.
You can count manually all words on the page and divide that by the number of minutes you took to read that. Or else try formula number 2.
Reading speed calculation formula 2
Number of words on page/seconds taken to read that * 60 = Reading speed
In this method, you convert the time taken by you to read in seconds and multiply it to 60 which at the end gives us words per minute.
I find this method more accurate than others. Here is a simple process.
- Calculate the number of words in two lines and divide them by two. I.e if it is 42 then the word per line will be 21.
- Count the lines on the page and then multiply that number with word per lint. For example if the page has 40 lines than 40*21 = 840 words on the page.
- Set up a stopwatch to measure how much time you take to read that page. Measure in seconds or convert it in seconds not minutes.
- Now use the formula as mentioned above words on page/seconds taken to read * 60. For example you have taken 5.20 minutes the second will be 320. Now put it into formula 840/320*60= 157.5 will be your reading speed.
Some of my friends argue that it takes an average number of words per pages not the accurate number of words.It may be true in some cases.
If you count manually also all words on the page it will be near to somewhere mentioned in step number 2.
However, if you have time you are free to count each number of words on the page to be accurate.
Reading is a skill, like any other skill it can be upgraded and improved upon. You just need the tools, techniques, and strategies to improve upon.
Everyone will be at a different level while it comes to reading speed.
What is a good reading speed?
The average reading speed is 150 to 250 words per minute across the globe.
There is nothing like good reading speed. It will be different for different people.
For me I used to read at 180 words per minute, now I read at 400 words per minute without losing comprehension, so that reading speed is good for me.
The point is the reading at which you are fast as well as not losing comprehension is a good speed for you.
Speed reading scale
- If the reading speed is less than 100 – Poor
- Reading speed is 100 to 150 – Weak and needs improvement
- Reading speed is 150 to 250 – Moderate reading speed.
- Reading speed is 250 to 350 – Better than average population
- Reading speed is 350 to 550 – You are already a speed reader.
- Reading speed is more than 600 – It can be achieved with deliberate practices and patience.
This speed reading scale is for reference point only, the reading speed also changes based on the reading material we are reading.
If you are reading technical material it will require you to read slowly, the reading speed will be very low.
If you are reading a novel or light reading material your reading speed will be comparatively high.
I have finished reading all harry potter books in 32 days while reading for 1 to 2 hours daily.
At the same time, there are books which took me 15 days for one single book to finish.
The point I am trying to make is that if you are getting a low score in reading speed, do not be demotivated.
I have mentioned all the techniques you can use to increase your reading speed and bad reading habits which slows you down.
Six Bad reading habits and how to overcome them?
I was observing my bad reading habits and thought to summarise the observations.
These are bad reading habits I have observed in me and my near friends. They may be applicable to you as well.
I have researched and tested the solutions to these bad reading habits here, continue to read on.
Not setting clear intent or goal while reading.
Yes, I have observed many people just pick up the book, article or content & start reading it.
It is like driving without any place to go, you keep on reading/driving on and on.
I tried to keep the end in mind first before reading the material.
For Example – I was reading the article by HBR on psychological safety – I decided, I want to know “what it is ”? This gave me the goal to read the article to the end.
One Quick question – Do you read the material start to end? Or struggle to keep up the pace?
So, If you are not clear what you want from the material you are reading, you may not read the material properly.
I have observed myself getting lost in some reading and my mind starts wandering here and there.
The solution to this Bad reading habits
Always ask yourself what you want from this material?
I ask myself What, Why, How in that order while reading any material and it helps me to finish the material.
Poor posture while reading
A very good friend complains whenever she tries to read she gets sleepy. She could read 1 or 2 pages at the max and soon start to feel sleepy.
I asked her where she sat to read? She was reading while lying down on the bed or sofa.
Our posture has a great impact on our cognitive ability like your favorite place to relax.
Remember Sheldon from the Big Bang theory? He is so careful about selecting his place to sit. Well, I am not suggesting it be like the Sheldon, period.
The best posture for reading is with your back straight and you must be at an alert relaxed state.
The Solution for Bad reading habits.
I suggest you fix a place where you can sit comfortably and not disturbed for a good amount of time.
Make sure the place you select for reading has sufficient lights.
You can fix the time for reading, this will help you to build a good reading habit.
Fixation i.e reading one word at a time.
We are taught to read word to word from the beginning so this bad reading habit is old and rusty.
We read one word at a time which is called fixation. In other words, we fix our eyes at one word at a time.
This impacts your reading speed, you stay at a slow reading speed and for many people like me, it makes reading a boring experience.
The brain likes speed, don’t believe me? Don’t you enjoy binge-watching your favorite show? Our brain always wants to know more and quickly if it does not get that it starts to focus on other things.
This makes reading an unpleasant experience for the eyes also, it keeps on jumping from one word to another and gets tired eventually.
The solution to bad reading habits
Well, a simple solution is to start reading the sentence in a group of words.
Instead of reading like
I want to increase my reading speed.
Read like this
I want to| increase my| reading speed.|
This will be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning but can be learned through practice.
The other solution is to read in peripheral vision.
We read in tunnel vision type. That means we read like a tunnel-like focus.
Instead, we can use peripheral vision that could help read sentences in groups of words.
Vocalization and subvocalization
This the most disruptive bad reading habit we have been taught for ages.
Remember, when we first learn to read, we are asked to read out loud, which is called vocalization or lip reading.
And when we grew up we were asked to read in mind, so we read out in the brain or mind, which is called subvocalization.
How vocalization and subvocalization is the problem?
When we read out loud we are doing two things, one is obviously trying to read and another is trying to pronounce every word. We do not need to pronounce any word for reading.
Reading is mostly a visual process, you see the signboard without reading and you understand the message. Or do you shout STOP in your head?
Still not convinced, Try this read out loud at 250 words or so. After reading see how much you have understood? The chances are very little.
While doing vocalization and subvocalization we are so busy in pronouncing the words our comprehension gets affected badly.
Lastly- Vocalization and subvocalization impact our reading speed. The average reading speed is 150 WPM (words per minute) to 250 WPM.
We speak 150 WPM to 250 WPM usually, that means we are not reading, we are speaking the material.
Our goal should be to reduce the number of words to read out and read at the thinking speed.
The solution to bad reading habits.
This habit is pretty difficult to get rid of, I have tried several ways but have not got any success so far.
I tried to read while keeping my tongue stuck to the upper side of the mouth, it somewhat helped in reducing lip reading.
I also tried chewing gums while reading, well it served as more distraction to the reading than reducing the problem.
I am currently working on a few more techniques and I shall keep you posted on successful techniques
Regression or re-reading.
Regression or re-reading is another difficult bad reading habit to get rid of.
Regression is reading the words or sentences again.
The researchers state that the average person spends one-third of their reading time in re-reading or regression. So if you are reading for one hour you may have wasted 20 minutes re-reading.
I observe that I re-read because that’s how I have been taught to read. If I don’t understand the phrase or word I tend to re-read that portion.
We need to learn that If you have not understood the first time, re-reading will not be of any use. You can get more clarity later. It happens many times that we understand the part in later reading.
For example, you came across a difficult word in the sentence, you may not know the word but can always know what it is trying to say from sentences.
The solution to this bad reading habits
You need to work more on your vocabulary. If you come across a difficult word in a sentence just put a tick mark there and find meaning later on.
Do some concentration exercises, read bad habit number 6, and work on the environment where you are reading.
You can use pacer – your finger or pen to guide you through the reading material. This will help you enhance your concentration.
Poor reading environment
Selecting an ideal reading environment is crucial for good reading.
Do you usually get distracted while reading, or not able to focus on reading material?
I used to keep on changing places while reading, from a chair to floor to stairs to the sofa to bed. This not only hampered my reading speed but also my comprehension.
I have dedicated one place and time to read at my home. This has helped me to develop a reading habit and it has trained my family members. I can not be disturbed at that place and at that time unless emergency of course.
Make sure the environment where you are reading has enough lighting and comfort. Poor lighting while reading can give fatigue to eyes and can make reading a boring experience.
Other bad reading habits
- Getting overwhelmed with the information
You will be able to finish the book in one go someday with all speed reading techniques. If you practice them regularly and reduce the above mentioned bad reading habits.
I have now developed the habit of keeping the outcome in mind while reading the material. So before starting to read any book ask yourself “Why are you reading this?” “What will you achieve after reading this book/article?”
This will help you feel less overwhelmed.
- Not doing proper research before buying a book
Let me ask you a question.
Do you finish reading all the books you purchase?
Let me be honest, I was one of the people who bought the book just by seeing its cover, few reviews and not knowing other details. And when I finally read the book, I did not find it appealing to me anymore.
Whenever you want to buy a book, always have clarity about why you need that book. You can also read a few pages to understand writing style, fonts, and other details. See if you are comfortable with the book.
- Not planning properly
We read the book to learn new, you can not just pick up the book and try to finish it.
I always plan my reading, I do not just pick up books randomly.
In order to make maximum out of the book, I have clear intent about what I want to achieve out of this book. This gives me an idea to focus on important chapters and to read for the ideas.
To plan properly, you can also read book summaries beforehand or reviews on Amazon.
- Reading with “All or nothing attitude’.
I used to do this a lot, I will pick up a book and want to finish it as early as possible.
That reading was without any focus, so I could hardly finish half of the book and add it to my other unfinished project.
If you learn speed reading you can read a book in one sitting also, but having that forceful mindset affects adversely.
You can have small targets first then gradually move towards higher targets.
I always recommend reading book summaries before making any investments in books.
What are your bad reading habits? Comment below and share if I have missed and bad reading habits.
Techniques of Speed reading
What are the techniques of speed reading I use? I usually get this question very often.
There are plenty of techniques already available on the internet. I am here listing the techniques of speed reading which works for me.
Remember reading is a skill, like any other skill we can improve our reading skills with the right techniques and regular practice.
These techniques you can try right away and increase your speed, but for a drastic change in speed, you need to practice it daily until it becomes your habit.
Our eyes are naturally attracted to the motion, You can observe this while watching any sport. For example tennis, we can follow the ball from here to there.
Using a pen or finger as a pacer
This is the easiest technique but effective, here use your finger or pen as a pacer to read the material.
First, make your eyes comfortable with following the pacer, start slow, and gradually increase the speed.
Here your goal should be following the pacer til the time it helps you to increase the speed.
I recommend using a pen as a pacer. I have found fingers are more of a distraction than a helping tool.
The pen has a sharp point and it is easy to follow the words it is pointing.
Now, Try reading 100 words with the help of a pacer and measure your reading speed. Record any changes you observe.
Using paper as a pacer
You can fold the paper in half and put it under the sentence you are reading in the book.
This will help you to focus on the sentence you are currently reading, without getting distracted with other texts mentioned in the book.
This method can be more effective with speed reading technique number 4 – Reading in groups or chunks.
While you put the paper under the pages you can focus on that every single sentence, where you can use chunking to read even faster.
In simple words, speed drill is reading the material as fast as you can without focussing on comprehension at first and reading for the second time at regular speed to understand the document.
I had pretty much difficulties while practicing speed drills. I initially even felt uncomfortable doing that, but it helped me increase my reading speed almost immediately.
The aim of speed drills is to make eyes accustomed to the speed they are capable of. The basic logic is if you want to read faster first you need to train your eyes to see faster.
When I did this exercise for the first time, I was not able to turn off comprehending each world, which happens with everyone. This exercise is for training your eyes to recognize words faster just remember that.
If during speed drills your comprehension drops to the 0 to 20% it is completely fine, just focus on how fast you can read in speed drills.
If you use pacer as mentioned in speed reading technique number 1 you will be able to read even faster without getting distracted with other words.
Now, let’s do this, select the reading material which is new to you. The reading material should be relatively less challenging. Ideally, select a short story book or a novel.
Now, do the speed drill for one chapter, observe how long you can do it? Remember don’t speed drill if your eyes are not comfortable, this is the reason i recommend doing exercise number one properly first and then get to speed drills.
Once you are comfortable with speed drills, now put a timer and put a challenging target to do speed drills.
After completing the timed challenges now read the same chapters at your normal reading speed, you will see the noticeable change in your current reading speed.
Reading in Chunks/Clump
We are taught to read one word at a time which is called eye fixation, which slows down our reading speed.
If you read groups of words together that will be helpful to increase the reading speed drastically.
Now, You can do this by applying any of the following methods
Reading Group of words altogether.
This method is simple, you try to read two words at a time and after that increase the group of words you can read comfortably.
The point is your comfort level, you have to expand the group of words base on that.
I read certain words in groups like “in order to” “because of” likewise if you observe here these phrases usually come together.
Reading the words to the punctuation mark,
I personally find it very difficult to read the words to the punctuation mark, sometimes the sentences are so long that it has only a full stop.
However, if you use method number one and are able to read three or more words, you can have this method also.
I create virtual punctuation marks in the sentence and it has helped me a lot with those bulky novels.
Create threefolds in the paper
You can fold the paper in three equal vertical columns. Once you have made the columns read the words in the first column in one go.
This will look like this when you three fold the page.
This way you will have a ready-made chunk or clump for you to read. Just focus on one fold at a time.
I have struggled a lot with this method until I was able to read two-three words at a time.
I practice this method in newspapers and magazines. They already print their material in this fashion.
Increasing your peripheral Vision
When we are looking at or focusing on one object we are using macular vision, meaning we can see only that object, nothing beyond or above it.
In the peripheral vision, you can see not only the object you are focusing on but also the things which your eyes still can see but not acknowledging it.
Try this – While you’re reading this article can you see farthest left or right to you without moving your head? Yes, you can, but unless stated specifically we are not focusing on it. The key here is to not move your head.
I will post an article on eye exercises for speed reading that will surely help to increase peripheral vision. This will also help in reducing reading fatigue.
You can use this technique to read more chunks as mentioned in the speed reading technique number 3.
The question is how can you increase your peripheral vision or vision span?
The researches have shown that with regular eye exercises we can increase our attention span.
Now in this information era, where we are consuming our information mostly through smartphones, our vision span has deteriorated drastically.
You may have observed the information is getting shorter and shorter, if you have read through this far, you can definitely increase your peripheral vision.
Try this, Wide open your arms and thumbs up, now without moving your head try to look farthest left. Come back to the center slowly and now try to look farthest right.
Now try this looking up and down, across the room.
You can also try this exercise, sit in one place, and try to see the things without moving your head.
In order to read faster, you must know the reading material beforehand. You should know what you are dealing with.
Imagine, You are visiting a new country, where you are not much familiar with the language, you do not have any maps and you do not have any plan for visiting places. Will it spoil your vacation? Yes.
Reading a book is not different, First, you should gather all the information about the book.
Read the back cover of the book carefully, or find book summaries.
If you already have the book, just skim through all pages, spend only 2-5 seconds on each page. Remember here your target is to get to know the book closely not to read the book.
This will help you to understand the structure of the book, the writing style of the author, and even which chapters you can simply skip reading.
In the skimming stage, your target should be to get familiarized with the book, later on, you can use any of the techniques mentioned above to do speed reading.
I usually skim the book for ten to fifteen minutes, check for the tables, graphs, names, and bullet points. Later I do the speed drill which helps me to identify which portion of the book has the main idea. This saves a lot of time and is always better than dragging yourself to the end of the book.
I will write a post on speed reading strategies, you can use by combining the above mentioned speed reading techniques, as part of How to speed reading? blog.
Which techniques mentioned in how to speed reading? blog are you going to try? please share your experience in the comments section below.
Speed reading strategies
These speed reading strategies can help you to increase your reading speed remarkably. I have used these reading strategies over a period of time and just sharing which have worked for me.
You will find many articles, videos, and courses online which will promise to increase your reading speed by 300% or 1000 WPM. Most of them are false claims and too good to be true.
You can use these strategies and increase your reading speed by 20 to 30% immediately.
Outcome oriented reading.
We read to learn something, either we want to learn something new or just trying to understand new things.
I have discussed this in bad reading habits as well, having no clear outcome or the goal in the mind, we are not even able to finish the book.
Step 1 Keep your goal clear.
I keep my goal clear while reading the books, I ask myself a question about what I want out of this reading material.
Like I read the book “Getting things done”, My focus was on the process of getting things done.
Step 2 Skim through the pages to look for the specific keywords for your reading goal.
Once the goal is identified, I scan through all pages and tick mark the page where I find the content useful to my goal.
For Example, I put a tick mark on the column of pages in the book “getting things done”. It reduces pages required to read drastically.
“Read for Ideas” is the key point to how to speed reading? blog.
Step 3 Read that section only.
After completing steps 1 and 2, I finally read the pages where I believe, the content is useful as per my reading goal.
For example, I read the book “Checklist manifesto”, I got the whole idea of the book from 3 chapters only.
This strategy is more useful for the content you are familiar with, I use this strategy for pre-reading the books and most nonfiction books.
Time-bound reading challenge.
This one is simple, you challenge yourself to read a certain number of pages or chapters in a fixed amount of time.
The key point here is you have to keep challenging deadlines, otherwise, there is no point.
Step 1 – Get into the alpha state.
The alpha state is the state where the brain is relaxed and at the same time in the alert mode.
The alpha state is known best for learning new things.
Take a few deep breaths and count 10 to 1, by the time you reach at 1 you can reach in alpha state.
Step 2 – Set up a timer and target the chapters you want to cover.
In this step, set up a challenging deadline for yourself to read chapters in a certain amount of time.
The deadline should be not so high that you can not achieve or not so low that you can achieve easily.
Initially, when I used this strategy, I set up a time of 5 minutes for 20 pages.
Step 3 – Read
Well in this, you just read and try to achieve your target in stipulated time.
In step number 3, You can use any of the speed reading techniques, I have shared in earlier posts.
I read using chunking mostly in this step, this allows me to read all the words at the same time and increases my speed remarkably.
Skim, Speed drills, and chunking.
I have used this strategy to complete a book in a day. It has worked fairly well for me.
Please read my post on speed reading techniques where I have mentioned in detail about skimming, speed drills and chunking.
Step 1 -Skimming through the whole book.
In this step, I prefer to know about the book more clearly, like the author’s writing style, key points, graphs, and other images.
This process creates a map for me and gives me an idea where in the book I should put more focus.
I make sure while skimming through the book I spend only 5 seconds per page. Remember we are here to get just key ideas.
Step 2 – Speed drills.
In speed drills, you read as fast as possible for you without focusing on comprehension.
If I have done step number 1 properly, I will have a clear idea of where to focus the remaining content I can just go through as fast as possible.
Remember, Speed drill can be an exhausting exercise itself, never try to read the whole book doing speed drilling.
I do speed drilling in sections, like for important pages my speed drilling speed will be relatively slower, and for other content relatively faster. Read in sections take 5 minutes break and repeat again.
Speed drill can increase your reading speed drastically, but may not help with comprehension.
Step 3 – Chunking or reading in clumps
In this strategy above two steps were more focused on getting the idea of the book as fast as possible.
In this step, we will do the actual reading, but we will try to read two or more words at the same time.
Yes, in chunking we read two or more words at the same time, this helps in removing the bad habit of reading in fixation.
The benefit of doing this step last is, you have already gained the idea of the book, writing style, and important pages to read. This makes chunking even smooth.
The other benefit of doing this exercise after speed drills is your eyes are already practiced to read as fast as they can so you will be able to chunking even faster.
I will not put any false claim here that I was able to read one book in less than an hour.
But this strategy helped me to finish the books which usually need 5 to 6 hours of reading in 2 to 3 hours.
The key point is you should understand what you have read, it is not how many books you read, it is how much you could understand.
These are the speed reading strategies that I use generally. I am also working on some more strategies, I shall keep you posted on the successful strategies here in How to speed reading? blog.
Which strategy mentioned in how to speed reading? the blog you will try, share your experience in the comment section below.
Speed reading exercises
Speed reading exercises are your daily weapon to practice and enhance your ability to read faster.
I have come across so many speed reading exercises that are mostly focused on eyes exercises for speed reading, however I will cover eye exercises as well as some other exercises you can do to increase your reading speed.
Speed reading eyes exercises.
If you can train your eyes to read more words and be able to increase its vision span.
I have face eye fatigue most of the time while I tried to do speed drills and reading in triple chunks.
The fatigue to the eyes makes the reader tired or unfocused in reading.
The good news is you can improve the performance of your eyes by doing some simple exercises mentioned here. Like any other organ, eyes are also controlled by muscle. So like any other muscle, you can exercise the eyes also.
Squeezing the eyes with deep breathing
This is a short three minute or so exercise, which can increase blood flow in your eyes and face.
This can also help in increasing the flexibility of the eyes. I practice this exercise to real my eyes before starting any reading or the end of the day.
- Inhale slowly and as deep as you can, open your mouth and eyes as wide as you can. Try to stretch every muscle of your face.
- Exhale slowly and shut your eyes and squeeze them with also squeezing every muscle of your face.
- Hold your breath and continue squeezing for some time.
I prefer to do this exercise in five sets, after each set I take a small break of say 1 minute.
Writing name with eyes.
This exercise is as simple as its name suggests, in this, you have to write your name any name with your eyes.
This exercise allows the eyes to quote irregularly. We are habituated to see in vertical or horizontal ways. Here is the process.
- Sit comfortably and look at the farthest wall. While doing this keep calm and relax.
- Now, write your name on the wall with your eyes, practically move your eyes in the motion.
Imagine you have a pen that moves as your eyes move.
This is a simple exercise, but initially, I have struggled to write my name. Our eyes are damaged way more than we think by these digital screens.
This exercise I have mentioned earlier in the speed reading techniques.
I use this exercise for increasing my peripheral vision. Nowadays we read mostly on our mobile screen and affect our vision span or peripheral vision adversely.
- Stand straight and wide open your arms and put the thumbs up
- Now without moving your head, try to see the left thumb and come back to the centre after that try to see the right thumb.
I do another variation to the exercise.
I spread my arms wide upside down, and try to see at the top without moving my head and after that at down without moving my head.
If you can increase the vision span or peripheral vision, this can help you to many speed reading techniques easily. Specially chunking and reading in clumps become relatively less stressful.
The Hooded eyes
This exercise can be used to give a quick break or relaxation to the eyes throughout the day.
You can do this exercise twice or thrice in a day or even more.
- Close your eyes half and focus on your eyelids, preventing it from trembling.
This will relax your eyelids and eyes significantly.
- To stop your eyes from trembling, with the half-closed eyes try to see the farthest object.
This is a small exercise and can relax your eyes quickly. This will help you with the speed reading technique of pacer.
Well, this is a well-known exercise for relaxing your eyes.
Whenever you want to take a break from reading do this.
- Sit in a relaxed state.
- Breath naturally
- Blink your eyes as fast as you can.
- Do it for 30 seconds and stop.
This exercise has multiple benefits. It is easy to do, it relaxes your eyes almost immediately and You can read even faster.
Other speed reading exercises
Apart from eye exercises for speed reading mentioned in how to speed reading? blog, I have found some other exercises that can also help you to read faster.
Exercise number 1 – Reading in alpha state.
There are several types of brain states out which the alpha state is relaxed at the same time alert state. You can read more about different types of brain states from google.
I do this exercise whenever I am starting to read.
- First, sit in a quiet place and relax your body.
- Now close your eyes and take deep slow breaths
- With each breath count 10 to 1.
- By the time your reach at 1 you are at relaxed, alert alpha state.
When you are in this alpha state you will be able to concentrate more and your focus will increase drastically.
You can also find many videos on youtube for getting into the alpha state, you can start from these music videos and then gradually can move to only breathing exercise.
The disadvantage of videos at youtube, you can get easily distracted by suggested videos, ads or even selecting the best one to listen to.
I recommend doing this exercise every time you are supposed to read something.
Playing games to increase the focus.
I know many of you might tell me, playing video games can not help you read faster.
I find that playing video games on Television actually helps you to increase your vision span or peripheral vision.
There number games online specifically for speed reading, like spotting the difference, reading and remember the numbers etc.,
A word of caution, you can not keep on playing video games, you have to read also.
So which exercise you found most useful in how to speed reading? blog, share your views in the comment section.
References – Speed reading for dummies
Speed reading myths
We tend to forget that reading is a skill which we have learned, like sports, and like any other skill, it requires improvement.
Sadly most of us are reading the same as we are being taught to and whenever we are asked to change those habits, we face speed reading myths.
I am here sharing my personal experience and what I have observed in other people while discussing speed reading.
I have come across many speed reading myths whenever I share my speed reading skill with my friends. Here I am listing the Six speed reading myths that are most common as apart of how to speed reading? blog.
If I read fast my comprehension will be reduced, to understand the things I need to read slow.
First of all, slow reading is a sign of poor concentration and slower processing.
If you are reading slowly it simply means you need too much time to process whatever you have read or you are not able to concentrate well enough.
If your concentration is low you will struggle to understand the things which you have read.
The brain likes speed, and it has the capability to read faster and keep comprehension intact.
I have found out that at the optimal speed my comprehension is also good and can remember what I have read. The Key is your optimal speed.
The more you work on your concentration which can come with speed, the more is the comprehension.
P.S this does not mean you start reading at full speed right away. Speed reading is a skill that requires training and practice.
You should understand everything when you read it for the first time.
You can never achieve this because we learn in layers.
Remember when preparing for an exam, you are re-reading or revising the syllabus, at that time it gives you even deeper insight for material.
I have known some students who revise entire material 5 to 10 times and everytime they have different insight. It may take even more revision or re-reading to understand the material 100%.
The more they revise the more their understanding of the subject increases.
You can have a reading strategy in which you should have sufficient time to revise or revisit the material.
Every word is important to understand the material we are reading.
I have found many people who prefer reading word by word for better understanding but never achieve that level in first reading. As i mentioned in point number 2 learning comes in layers.
Whenever we try to understand every single word in the material we are reading we are looking for meanings of the words rather than the idea of the text.
Imagine, if you could understand the text without even needing to know all the words. This will save your time significantly and can help you read even faster.
If you develop the intuitive skill while reading you will spend less time to understand each and every word mentioned in the page.
Remember your goal should be to understand whatever you are reading, not building vocabulary at this moment.
Your reading speed is the same for all types of reading materials.
Try this and observe your reading speed while you are reading textbook, technical manual, newspaper and novels. Check whether you find any change in your reading speed.
I have done this exercise when I first came across this concept, I have observed myself reading at faster speed when reading light materials like newspaper and novels. I read slower when reading maths, or technical books.
This is common, your reading speed will always vary based on the reading material.
If you apply speed reading to technical documents you may miss an important part. It is not advisable, with practice you may read technical documents at a faster rate.
The reading experts do the same, they are fast reading fiction material and relatively slower with technical documents.
You can not increase your reading speed
I have learned that there are people who can read at 1000 wpm (words per minute) and they have acquired it with practise.
Like any other skill you can also learn and practice reading skill, You can definitely learn speed reading and read at 1000 wpm with practise and patience.
Reading at that fast speed obviously going to affect your comprehension. This takes time and with practise you can achieve both speed and comprehension.
I suggest taking speed reading training or follow this how to speed reading? blog for more tool, techniques and strategies to increase your reading speed.
If I speed read the material I will not be able to remember it.
There is a difference between comprehension and ability to remember what you have just read.
Comprehension is something you have just read and it is more of a present moment thing.
Remembering and ability to recall is altogether a different skill to learn.
However, there are many reading strategies which can increase your reading speed and there many memory techniques you can apply to remember the things which you have just read.
I have found out that multiple visits to the reading material makes it familiar to our brain. We are able to recall it easily.
The methods which have worked for me is, I read the material multiple times and create a summary for the first 2 times, then I revisit summaries mostly. If i can’t recall anything from the summary I go back to the material for yet another revision.
I have also observed that whatever I talk about to others I remember it easily, so I discuss what I have read with my friends and family to make it permanent in my brain.
I will be providing book summaries in this blog for free, this way I will remember what I have read by sharing it with you.
Bonus speed reading myth – I can not read fast.
I have mentioned this in earlier speed reading myths as well. Reading is a skill which can be improved like any other skill.
I have created this how to speed reading? blog to provide you with all the resources which you can use to increase your reading speed.
Remember if you create this belief that you can not learn it, you may never learn it.
But if you apply the exercises, tools and strategies mentioned in this how to speed reading? guide with practice you can definitely increase your reading speed