Speed reading is a key time-management skill that boosts your productivity. When you read faster with a high level of comprehension, you have more time for making money in your business or profession, or for doing anything else you want to do.
If you are like most people, you read 250-300 words a minute. By learning and practicing the proper speed-reading techniques, you can easily double your reading rate, possibly triple it, and perhaps read far faster.
It’s really not difficult. I initially put in about 10 hours with the 2 books below. I went from 300 to 500 words per minute fairly easily, and over time I’ve risen to the 600-1200 word-per-minute level, depending on what I’m reading, how alert I am, and certain other factors like font type, font size, and line length.
Two Recommended Speed Reading Books
Five Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed
1. Make Fewer Eye Stops
Minimize the number of stops your eyes make as you read a line of print, and the amount of time you spend during each stop. A stop takes a fraction of a second, but when you stop several times per line, the lost time becomes quite significant in slowing your reading speed.
2. Minimize Back-Skipping
Back-skipping (regression is the fancy word) occurs when you look back at something you just read, either consciously or unconsciously, perhaps because you didn’t understand it or perhaps because you think you may have misread it. Back-skipping keeps you from reading quickly and can actually reduce your comprehension. Of course, sometimes you need to go back and re-read something, but do it consciously and for good reason. The more you apply speed-reading techniques, the less you’ll be tempted to back-skip.
3. End Subvocalization
Subvocalization occurs when you read one word at a time and mentally say the word in your head, perhaps also moving your lips. This is, of course, the slowest way to read, and it’s how most of us were taught when we were little ones in school. You must break this habit and start reading multiple chunks of words at once without sounding them out in your mind.
4. See Multiple Words
Train your brain to see as many words as possible before you move your eyes to the next unit of type. You also want to start as far as you can into a line while still seeing the first word of the line, and then apply the same technique at the end of the line by stopping as far away from the end of the line as you can.
5. Use Hand Techniques
The easiest technique: Use your forefinger to move just under a line of words as fast as your eyes can follow, and then quickly whip that forefinger down to the next line. You can also use a blank white card and either move down the page just above the line you are reading or just below it.
6 More Speed-Reading Tips
1. Develop the skill of relaxed concentration when you speed read. Keep your main focus on processing the information in the words, not on the actual process of speed-reading. This takes time and practice, but you’ll get it.
2. Comprehension is crucial for most of what you read, so don’t read so fast that you can’t understand and remember the information.
3. Some writing deserves word-by-word detailed attention. Poetry is a prime example.
4. Some subjects may be so fact- and idea-rich that you need to read at a moderate or slow pace so you can truly understand. I studied a lot of physics, chemistry, and biology in college; these disciplines demand slower reading.
5. Memorization and studying require that you read more slowly.
6. Most important: get one of the two books pictured above, or another book or course that suits you, and learn and implement the techniques.
And Two Suggestions
1. Apply the techniques described in this chapter immediately to your reading. You’ll soon see substantial results.
2. Speed-reading is especially useful when you’re doing research. You can quickly skim material to find exactly what you need.
Do you think you can boost your reading speed? How would it specifically help you? Have you previously learned and applied speed-reading techniques? What was the result?