HOW TO READ FASTER
According to Forbes magazine, an average adult reads 300 wpm. The average comprehension is around 60%. Compare that to speed readers, who can read up to 1000 wpm – with 85% comprehension.
Do you wish you could read faster? Regardless of your current reading speed, you can learn to read even faster. It’s a skill anyone can learn. Here are 3 effective methods to help you read faster and at the same time comprehend and remember the information you read.
1. SHIFT YOUR READING TECHNIQUE
A. Hold your book about 20” away from you.
B. Traditionally most of us were taught to read word for word, from left to right. But speed-readers focus on the words on the center of the page and use peripheral vision to pick up the surrounding words. Here’s how:
Imagine 2 vertical lines on the page, about 1-2 centimeters in from the side edges of the paragraph. When you read, keep your eyes within these imaginary lines and read the words inside this boundary. For the words outside the boundary, use your peripheral vision to catch those. Keep reading like this until you get comfortable. When you’ve mastered this, then move your imaginary lines inward by another 1 cm on each side. As you get more comfortable reading like this, continue to gradually move the lines inward. Eventually this will double your reading speed.
C. If you are reading on a computer or tablet, you can enlarge the text on the screen to allow you to look at the center of the screen and words along the edges. This will significantly speed up your reading.
2. EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY
Our reading speed and comprehension is impacted not just by our reading technique and how we focus on the text, but also how well we know and understand the words.
Did you know that currently there are more than 1 million words in the English language? An average American adult knows about 20,000 – 30,000 words. Typically when we see an unfamiliar word, we either slow down reading as our brain tries to understand the word by context – or we just skip the word, which affects our comprehension and memory. Therefore, if you want to learn to read faster, you need to broaden your vocabulary. An easy way to do this is to use the dictionary. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary contains more than 170,000 words. If you learn 10 new words each day, you can significantly improve your reading, even in 1 year alone.
3. STOP SUBVOCALIZING
Most people read by internally vocalizing or saying the words inside their heads. It’s a process called subvocalization, and it the most common factor in slowing down reading speed. But actually our eyes and brain can process much more. If we can learn to stop ‘voicing’ each word inside our head, we can increase our reading speed. The easiest way to stop subvocalizing is by using your finger to follow what you read, listening to music, or chewing gum.
What’s your reading speed? Please comment below.
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