25 Powerful Speed Reading Tips

25 Powerful Speed Reading Tips

  1. Remember why you are reading: When reading, remember why it is important for you to read what you’re reading right now. It helps to focus your thoughts and energy on the key facts within the text.
  2. Pick an ideal time to read: Understand yourself and find out which part of the day do you possess the highest level of energy. Many students are able to improve their reading speed and concentration by reading important material during those parts of the day. It could be early on in the day or early evening. Test to find out what works best for you.
  3. Read with a pointer: Use a pointer to get your eyes to follow along quickly. The best pointer is your index finger!
  4. Use your hand and finger to get your reading pace: With your right hand, or your left hand if this is your master-hand, and then use your finger as your pointer to train your eyes to read the letters and words faster.
  5. Practice regulating your reading speed: Learn how to speed up or slow down your reading speed depending on your needs and the context you are in (quiet versus noisy environment).
  6. Adjust your reading speed: Adjust your reading speed based on the difficulty and importance of what you are reading as well as the context and situation you are in. Be realistic – you cannot read at top speed all the time.
  7. Select and choose what you read: If you think you are reading something that is not really important, quickly move on to something that is more essential. This can save you up to 50% of your study time.
  8. Review before you start to read: Warm up before you start to read by looking at headings, subheadings, the introduction, and conclusion. Then you know what to read, often skipping over pages and chapters that are not relevant and saving you valuable time.
  9. Skim your material before you start to read: Pick out the most important information before you actually read the text. This helps your brain to get ready to accept the information and can increase your reading speed by as much as 50%.
  10. Do not Re-read: Do not go back to reread as you will interrupt the flow of reading. Try to slow down a little and pick up the pace when you are in the zone. You may come across some of the words that are inconsequential initially. Believe that you can piece it together subsequently.
  11. Read like it matters: Pay attention and reading in an active manner. It is better to be focused for 10 to 20 minutes than to waste an entire hour going through the motions.
  12. Read in smaller chunks: You do not have to commit hours at a time to reading. When you fit it into your day in small chunks, you will get a lot more done – the trick is to remember to carry your book(s) with you all the time!
  13. Read in phrases but do not skim: Do your reading in chunks of words rather than individual ones, but avoid skimming and skipping words as this will just confuse you.
  14. Remove distractions: Reduce or totally remove distractions in your environment when you are reading to improve your reading speed. Sometimes having your iPod on with instrumental music helps block out ambient noise and other distractions.
  15. Avoid fidgeting when you read: If you are susceptible to nervous habits while you are reading, you can quickly break your concentration. Speed reading requires more focus and attention than standard reading. It will take time getting rid of your idiosyncrasies, but it will pay off in the long-term.
  16. Work on expanding your vocabulary: Build up your vocabulary by reading more advanced texts and documents so that you will not have to pause to check out the meaning of unfamiliar words. Of course, this is a double-edged sword. Trust that with exposure to reading more advanced texts, you will soon figure out the meaning as you read, often without reaching for the dictionary.
  17. Seek answers to questions as you read: Make your reading more active and allow better retention of information by questioning yourself as you are going through the text. At first it will be hard to think and read at the same time, but you will quickly get the hang of it with a little practice and patience.
  18. Read alone: Let others know that you are trying to read and that you do not want to be disturbed.
  19. Read right through punctuation: Do not pause for periods, commas and other punctuations. You will notice that this alone will speed up your reading quite a fair bit.
  20. Highlight and underline only important words: Stay focused on only the most important details by highlighting and underlining only the most important words. Research has shown that bored students use highlighting tends to be a procrastination tool. Do not do it.
  21. Write down your thoughts as you are reading: Using a notepad to write down thoughts or questions that you can address later allows you to focus on reading. Else, you are trying to think and read at the same time and that’s not going to work when you get to the next topic.
  22. Limit your reading time: By giving yourself less time to read, you will train yourself to read faster with a target to achieve. Be realistic and pick a time period that you know you can get it done without distractions and stress, but just enough pressure to push yourself.
  23. Take breaks when necessary: Take breaks from reading if you find your focus slipping. Often, that just means looking up, getting comfortable on your chair and stretching. Do not let breaks interrupt your flow and momentum, otherwise you will start from scratch to get into the flow of reading all over again.
  24. Avoid vocalization: Try not to read the material aloud, as this will slow you down. The less you speak the words, the faster you will read. However, if you are an auditory learner, then only read aloud the key words.
  25. Do not speak the words in your mind: Just like reading aloud, speaking the words in your mind takes extra time and effort. This prevents you from reading faster. When you stop saying the words in your mind, you get way beyond 500 words per minute, if you cannot break this habit, you will never be able to surpass that level.
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