Lately the idea of “Speed Reading” has become mainstream, with conflicting opinions coming from a number of more or less reliable sources. Some say it’s a myth, arguing that by increasing the reading speed you inevitably give up on the prospect of comprehending the text in detail.
At the same time, speed reading apps and technologies are very popular, suggesting that people are intrigued by this notion. The average adult reads between 200 and 400 words per minute, while speed-readers can read up to a thousand, mostly thanks to their ability to use their peripheral vision. Such numbers are reached only through extensive exercise. In other words, the more you read the better you get at it.
There are, however, some tricks that you can start adopting right away to increase your reading speed without sacrificing the amount you learn.
1. Determine your goal
It is inevitable: the faster you read, the more information will get lost on the way. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t need to read the same way for every reading goal: if you’re reading a textbook, you’ll need more time to go through the paragraphs in order to memorize the concepts. On the other hand, if you’re reading for pleasure, you get to decide whether you want to slow down to enjoy the nuances of the writing or to speed up only to get the main points of it. It’s up to you.
2. Be flexible with your reading speed
When you’ve decided on the rate of your reading, your approach to the text should remain dynamic. You’ll find that new words and concepts will slow you down, so be smart about it: focus on the first and last sentences of the paragraphs, which is where the most important information is usually located. Concurrently, you can skim through the parts with the facts you already know.
3. Use a pacer
Some think that the key to speed reading is to eliminate your subvocalization, which is the process of reading with the voice in your head. Truth is, subvocalization helps with storing information and concepts in your brain. An actual trick you can adopt right away is to start using a pacer to maintain a regular rhythm and minimize the comprehension loss.
4. Set the right tone
Most people find it hard to read effectively in places with a high number of distractions, such as public transport or on holiday. A solution to this problem would be to put in your ears the right soundtrack to prevent your mind from drifting away and keep the focus on the text. Try listening to this video of music to study to next time you need to concentrate on a long read!
What do you think about speed reading? Will you follow any of these tricks? Let us know in the comments!