Learn to Speed Read
Reading can be exhausting sometimes. It would, therefore, come in handy if you could get through the sentences much faster and spend less time reading.
Many sites offer training to help you improve your reading speed, such as the Get better grades now website. They even provide other learning materials to boost your overall studying experience. Whether you are reading a newspaper, a textbook, or any column on a website, here are some tips to help you improve your speed.
Ideas to help you learn how to speed read
Don’t talk to yourself
Most people spend time imagining and speaking to themselves as they read. It may help you remember the content, but it slows down your reading speed.
You can combat this habit by chewing gum to keep your jaw muscles occupied. If you mouth words as you read along, try holding a finger against your lips to stop the movement.
Improving your eye movement
You can only read when your eyes are not moving. It is common for eyes to jerk and hop from one sentence to another constantly. However, moving your eyes along each sentence from left to right makes you a very slow reader.
The best way to read a page is to look at it from afar and then read it without moving your eyes as you move from sentence to sentence. The fewer eye movements you make, the faster you will read.
Covering words that you have read
Sometimes our eyes dart back to previous lines to reread a sentence or look for skipped information. If you have a chronic habit of doing this, you can use an index card to cover the words you have already read. This will help you make continuous progress and increase how fast you finish what you are reading.
Training methods that you can use to improve your reading speed
Tracking your reading speed can help you improve it significantly. You should strive to beat your previous speed reading record, which can be a great motivator.
To know your reading speed:
- Count the number of words on a page by multiplying the number of words in a line, with the average number of lines on a page. (You can use a Microsoft Word document, instead, if you don’t want to count the number of words yourself. It will show how many words are in the text on the bar at the bottom.)
- Set a timer, perhaps for five minutes, and then see how many pages you can cover within that period.
- Multiply the number of pages with the words per page.
- Next, divide the number of words with the time you took to read them, and you will have your average reading speed.
Once you know what your reading speed is, you should then set goals on how to improve it. Milestones will motivate you and remind you that you are making progress.
Whatever you do, don’t stop practicing. The more you do it, the faster you will get.
Using RSVP software
If training yourself manually doesn’t work for you, then you can try using a Reading Rapid Serial Visual Presentation software. With this software, you choose the number of words you want to read per minute.
It will then show a single word at a time while moving at the chosen speed. For example, if you select 200wpm (words per minute), it will show one word at a time two hundred times within a minute.
There is RSVP software for both mobile phones and computers.
Skimming and speed reading
One of the main reasons why it’s essential to learn how to read fast is to help you in skimming texts. Skimming gives you a general overview of what the written material is talking about.
There are tactics of speed reading that can help you skim a text faster while still getting the main points from it. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Reading the main headings and subheadings – This works best for newspaper articles or magazines.
- Reading through the beginning and the end of the article - The first and last paragraphs or chapters of a book, column, or any other written work can give you an insight into what it’s all about.
- Reading the first sentence of a paragraph can also set your mind back on track if you are confused about what it entails. The first sentence typically holds the main points of the paragraph.
- Marking important words along the text - as you speed read through an article, you can circle or underline important words or sentences. These can include the main ideas, phrases, quotes, italicized words, new words, etc.
- Alternatively, you can use pictures and diagrams to understand the text they are referring to.
What is the average reading speed?
If you are wondering how fast people read on average, here is a guideline to help you out. Note that these are the expected reading speeds, and they can give you an idea of where you are or if your speeds are competent.
- A 12-year-old child is expected to read 200-250 words per minute.
- An average college student should be able to do 450wpm, while a fast reader in college covers about 700 wpm.
- Competitive readers cover around 1,000wpm and above.
However, it is important to note that the higher the reading speed, the more the number of texts or words skipped. Most fast readers skim or scan over a text to get the main idea of what it’s about or look for a specific word or subject.
If you feel your reading speeds are inadequate, you can get help from online sites, such as the Get better grades now website, to guide you on how to improve.
It is easy to improve your speed reading with the right techniques. The main thing is to reduce your eye movement over a page. Reading a page from further away can help you achieve that. Keep practicing and aim to attain higher speeds every time. Within a few weeks, your reading speed will have doubled or tripled.