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 proper 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 them daily until it becomes your habit.
Using pacer as a Techniques of speed reading
Our eyes are naturally attracted to the motion, and 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 most straightforward technique but effective, here use your finger or pen as a pacer to read the material.
First, make your eyes comfortable following the pacer, start slow, and gradually increase the speed.
Here your goal should be following the pacer till 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 to.
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 focus on the sentence you are currently reading without getting distracted byby 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 every single sentence, where you can use chunking to read even faster.
Speed Drills as a techniques of speed reading
In simple words, speed drill is reading the material as fast as possible without focusing 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.
Speed drills aim 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 could not turn off comprehending each world, which happens with everyone. so this exercise is for training your eyes to recognize words faster; just remember that.
If during speed drills your comprehension drops to 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, choose 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 getting to speed drills.
Once you are comfortable with speed drills, now put a timer and set 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 a noticeable change in your current reading speed.
Reading in Chunks/Clump as a techniques of speed reading
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 as a techniques of speed reading , you try to read two words at a time, and after that incGroup the group of words you can read comfortably.
The point is your comfort level, and you have to eGroup the group of words based 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, and sometimes the sentences are so long that it has only a full stop.
However, if you use method number one and can 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 into 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 threefold 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 could read two-three words at a time.
I practice this techniques of speed reading in newspapers and magazines. They already print their material in this fashion.
Increasing your peripheral Vision as a techniques of speed reading
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 peripheral vision, you can see the object you are focusing on and the things which your eyes still can see but not acknowledge 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 explicitly stated we are not focusing on it. The key here is not to 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 techniques of speed reading 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 things without moving your head.
Strategic skimming as a techniques of speed reading
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 understand the structure of the book, the author’s writing style, 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 techniques of speed reading, as part of How to speed reading? Blog.
Which techniques are mentioned in how to speed reading? Blog are you going to try? please share your experience in the comments section below.
Refer to this book for more Techniques of speed reading