6 effective speed reading techniques to learn to read fast
Reading is a universal activity but speed reading is a skill and certainly one of the most important ones. But don’t worry, anyone can learn how to speed read. It’s a powerful asset that can boost your career, increase your knowledge and improve your learning experience.
This post will show you how to comprehend more while getting faster. Enhance your skills by merely understanding the powerful yet simple combination of techniques that accelerated reading has to offer.
There are three major approaches:
- Traditional offline methods (local classes, books or self-teaching)
- Desktop software (guided)
- Online Courses (guided)
Try it out: This post will summarize the topic to help you quickly understand the basics. It also includes links that will cover speed reading techniques and programs in more detail.
1. Hand Pacing Technique
By utilizing this simple reading improvement technique, you can read faster while maintaining a steady level of comprehension. Have you ever heard of the pointer method? Well most of us learned it during our school days but for some reason we stopped using this technique as we grew up.
The pointer method was developed by the creator of speed reading, Evelyn Wood. This method involved moving/sliding the index finger or a pointer across the page and below the sentence you are reading. This will increase your overall focus and speed. Pacing yourself is the quickest way to learn how to speed read. You can read more about hand pacing here.
2. Scanning and Previewing Strategies
Scanning and previewing techniques can enhance your skill of capturing the central idea of what you’re reading. This reading technique will teach you to scan for numbers, names and trigger words.
With time and practice you can increase your speed to identify key sentences in a paragraph. Expert speed readers are able to skim and comprehend a whole page within seconds.
When using this technique, make sure to look for items such as lists, points, graphs, indexes and subheadings. Identify these key items before getting into detail. For detailed “how to” information about previewing strategies, click here.
3. Word Group Speed Reading Techniques
The word group reading technique is considered to be the most beneficial when practicing how to speed read. Additionally it is also one of the most difficult techniques to learn. Processing whole word groups involves reading chunks of words instead of reading individual words. The goal is to decrease the number of “stops” your eyes perform as you read. Once you start taking chunks of words, your comprehension skills will naturally increase, therefore your overall reading abilities will improve a great deal.
To get started read this article on reading chunks of words. It provides essential tips and training material. Fastreading.com has another in-depth and well-written article on this fast reading technique.
In the previous paragraphs we covered essential techniques you can try on your own. In the next ones we will discuss some popular software to assist you further.
4. Learning How To Speed Read with Software/Courses
|Iris Reading||Rev It Up Reading||7 Speed Reading||SuperLearner2|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|from $99||from $49||$79.95||$15 Sale|
|Online or Class||5 Hour Course||Online Tutor||Udemy Course|
There are many benefits of using these courses or programs as they will give you reliability and you can easily monitor your performance and progress with them.
The following are three options that have been found by many to be helpful and effective. Please note these are recommendations only. Before choosing one make sure it will cover your needs and goals. You may also review the best programs here.
Iris is one of the most recognized institution to learn faster reading techniques. You can either book a live class in various cities around the world or enroll yourself in one of their online video courses (browse them all here).
7-Speed-Reading (visit website) refers to seven different learning strategies teaching you how to read more efficiently. The strategies are particularly designed to facilitate the natural learning curve of students, adult learners and professionals. Most users therefore review the program as effective, interactive and fun.
One of the greatest benefits of 7SR is the in-depth video training courses featuring six globally recognized speed reading experts. The topics range from memory improvement to handling work load more efficiently to advanced reading improvement techniques. Furthermore, there are 15 activities which will help you remove ineffective reading habits, eliminate regression and sub-vocalization as well as reducing eye-fixation and and expanding eye vision.
It is currently priced at $79.95 and ships with 5 user accounts, unlimited installs, social sharing and group learning facilities. The EX 2016 version is fully cloud based and you can access it from any computer running OS, Windows, Linux or Chrome.
Ace Reader Elite
This is also a great course and has 250 reading comprehension tests. It also includes leveled eye exercises and drills. The settings are adjustable and you can practice either with 625 eBooks or add your own texts as well. AceReader recommends 15-25 minutes of training every day and is currently priced at $69.95. There are unlimited user accounts, which is ideal for schools and universities. Visit website here.
Eye-Hop™ by Alchemy Training Unlimited
This is a (free) word-group-reading course and can be used both online and offline. It is beneficial for those who like to read in a physical format. This tool can help you develop your comprehension and overall focus. The project will train you to read multiple words at once, hence it will assist you in becoming faster and focused.
For material please visit Ron Cole’s website. It offers four PDF files for download. Each PDF includes instructions, found at the end of the file. It allows you to set your own pace before progressing to the next level. The site also includes a link that allows you to “hopify” your own text.
5. Reading Speed Test
There are many online tests to choose from and it is important to select the one which will suit you best. The image on the right links to a free test that will also test comprehension. However, in this paragraph we will discuss and analyze the manual test.
A manual test is very simple; just grab a book and a stop watch. Start reading a paragraph and time yourself. You can follow these steps for a quick and easy result:
- Select a book of your choice.
- Choose a paragraph to read.
- Time yourself. Monitor how long it takes to read a complete paragraph.
- Count the words you have just read.
- Consider the time and words a benchmark for you to improve on.
- Try Increasing the speed gradually and remember to quantify your performance.
Always start at a normal speed as rushing it will decrease accuracy. You may choose paragraphs on different pages to achieve a precise time measure. You can use the results as a measure of performance and can improve your speed while trying different methods.
6. Reverse Bad Reading Habits
To increase the effectiveness of your reading, please be aware that some of your habits may reduce efficiency. Most of us develop bad reading habits when growing up, typically in school. Sub-vocalization (saying the words in your head) and regression (stepping back in text) are just the most common ones.
It is important to work on each focus area to tackle them individually. If bad reading habits have slowed you down then this may also affect your comprehension and text processing ability.
You may also face problems such as reading in an unsuitable environment with poor light and loud sounds or when you’re tired, though you can overcome them easily; you may require a high amount of concentration. All you need to do is practice, as practice will improve your attention and the span of attention.
There is a lot of material that you can read on the subject of overcoming bad habits. For a quick look visit the University of Alabama’s Center for Academic Success which has a simple list of how to correct some of these habits.
Tip: Relax and Train Your Eye Muscles
Speed reading can be compared with physical training in a metaphorical way. Like athletes who develop physical skills to use in their sport, the speed reader needs their eye muscles to be in good condition. Just as with other muscles, the eye muscles also need care and training and this will benefit the reader in many ways.
Eyes can get exhausted very quickly and this makes reading a challenge. A good technique is to give your eyes rest between training or reading sessions. Do not strain the muscles too much because with training, you will be able to develop your muscles eventually.
Last but not least…
This blog post by Tim Ferris packs the whole “reading-improvement” topic into a 10 minute program, which I personally find really insightful. Feel feel to try. This is the link.
Have you got any suggestions? Did you learn how to speed read? I’m looking forward to hearing from you or you may simply post a comment to share further speed reading techniques. Thanks a lot for reading.
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