We’ve all been there – hunched over a stack of books or papers trying to meet a deadline for work or school. The first couple of hours went alright, but once the clock struck 1 a.m. . . . your eyes started to cross and things just got ugly. Reading regularly is one of the ways you can train your brain. But how can you read with lightning speed? Here are five tips to get you speed reading in no time.
How to Speed Read
Know What You Want
The first question to ask yourself when speed-reading is “What do I want to know?” Having a firm grip on what you need to take away can save you a lot of time. If you already know what you’re looking for, you can easily “cut out” filler words and get right to the root of the keywords you’re searching for.
Increase Word Block Reading
As children, we are taught to read either word-by-word or letter by letter. So, we often read much slower out of formed habit rather than the speed we are actually capable of. With a little practice, you can increase the number of words you read in a block. Start by reading 3-4 words at a time and then increase to 5-6. A good tip for getting more words in at a time is to hold the text farther away from your eyes.
Many of us have a natural habit of “re-reading”. If you were already aware of this, you probably noticed your eyes veering back to the left of your screen even after reading the selected words. A good way to break this habit is to use an index card to cover each word as you read it.
Don’t Read Aloud
Reading aloud is a habit that will slow you down. Also, if you’re mouthing the words without saying them aloud – you’re still slowing your reading speed drastically. Avoiding this time waster cuts out the middle man. Your brain is a complex wonder. It can think, read and process much faster than your mouth can.
If you don’t already know what you want to take away from a chapter, do a quick “pre-read” of it. You’ll quickly notice repeated words. These are keywords and should have great importance. Also, look out for bold print. When you take the time to do this, it will be much easier to effectively speed read. You’re brain will automatically slow down when you reach the keywords and repeated phrases that you skimmed earlier.
Try using these tips today and notice how much more you retain from what you read. You’ll become faster and more efficient in separating the good stuff from all the fluff, and soon you’ll be speed reading like an old pro.