Reading faster could be one of the most useful skills one can gain. Being able to finish 70 books a year and even more could be a goal for many book lovers. Many people would ask, is that even possible? And the answer is yes! There has been many studies about this, and many people achieved magnificent results.
In this article, I will share with you some of the best techniques that can increase your reading speed and makes you a smarter reader. In addition to some tips recommended by readers who were able to double their reading speed.
Eliminating Sub-vocalization (auditory reassurance). Sub-vocalization is the habit of saying words in your head while reading them. This is considered one of the most common habits among readers, and one of the main reasons of slow reading speed.
Sub-vocalization is not always a bad thing. For example, when it comes to reading something that you have to memorize by heart, or reading something with significant importance like a legal paper, Sub-vocalization could come of use. When you say the words while reading them, it will be easier for you to remember and understand them in better depth.
There are many ways that could help overcome this habit such as:
- Listening to instrumental music while reading.
- Forcing yourself to read faster than how you usually read.
- Using your hand as a director.
- Chewing a gum!
Using a pointer. It is hard for the human eye to focus on one thing for a long time. It automatically does a quick scan of the surrounding area to gather information. This is called saccades, and even though it is very short, it slows the reading speed significantly. Because by the time the eye tries to go back to the previous reading position, that position will be changed.
The solution for this is easy. Use a pointer! You can use many things as a pointer. However, the most common ones are the tip of your finger, the tip of a pencil, or anything else that you find comfortable. In the beginning this might slow you down, but once you get used to it, it will make your reading speed much faster.
- Cover up what you have already read. Another habit that most readers have is rereading previous lines, fearing that they missed something. These short distractions usually do not help you, and cause distractions.
The best way to overcome this problem is by using some sort of a paper to cover the lines you have already read. However, if you find yourself distracted frequently, it probably means that you need to slow down and focus more.
- Eye movement. When it comes to fast reading and eye movement, less is more! We can only read when our eyes are not moving. However, we can read more than one word at the time. This means that positioning our vision at the right place will allow us to read more words with less eye movement (less eye movement per line is a key to fast reading).
Our brains usually control our eyes movement according to how familiar we are with the next words look. However, the depth of understand a paragraph depends on the number of words read in a single eye movement. Studies showed that if you read three words per eye movement, you will have a good understand of the paragraph, and up to seven words per eye movement is considered skimming.
- Practice, practice, practice. Fast reading is not a magic trick, but it is a gained experience. The only way you can master this skill is by practicing in a good way. A proper practice technique should include two major points. The first one is the environment you practice in (A quitter environment will end in better results). Try finding a quiet place, or use earphones if necessary. The second important thing is to benchmark your reading speed, and keep comparing your current speed with that. This will give you motivation, and will help you improve faster.