Several years ago I was challenged to become a prolific reader by my leadership coach. For me, that meant I wanted to read at least 2 books a month – and not just thin ones. That was on top of other reading that I’d be doing. In order to do that, he also challenged me to learn to speed read. Yes, speed reading is a real thing, so I set out to learn to speed read. Over time I have taught others to do it as well. Recently I was asked to teach others once again to do the same. So, I thought I’d write a few tutorials that have worked for me.
2 points you need to be aware of:
- Speed reading may not be for you. There are times when I read at a regular pace. Most times I don’t.
- Some reading material lends itself to speed reading better than others.
Tips to get you started:
- Start practicing by reading silently without saying the words in your head. For now read at your regular speed. Did you know that you even did that? Most people read by saying the words in their heads when they read silently. Your brain does not need this to process the material. Saying words in your head can slow you down when you really start to increase your speed. As you practice this you’ll get better at it. It will be a hard discipline to learn because you’ve been doing it all your life. Some people are able to master this but still prefer to say the words in their heads. But, in my opinion it will eventually be faster if you can learn to do this.
- As you start practicing number 1, start using a pointer. There are a lot of options for this technique. This is not rocket science but will increase your speed over time. Start by just using your index finger as you read by placing it below each word you are reading. As with all pointers you should use a smooth sweeping motion. In other words, no hopping or stopping on words, just a calculated sweeping motion under each sentence. Your eyes will slowly learn to focus on the pointer. Another choice of many is to simply use a writing pen or pencil. But here is the wildcard that some people love – a 3×5 note card. This technique requires you to just see one line at a time as you slowly slide the card down the page from top to bottom. Some believe this allows more focus and can increase speed.
Give these a try and I’ll give you even more tips in future tutorials.