Suggestions For Reading Faster

To read faster, you must improve your capacity to process information rapidly. Reading faster is often a combination of pushing yourself to higher reading speeds on different types of materials and learning and applying several new techniques. However, DO NOT TRY TO SPEED READ YOUR TEXTBOOKS. They deserve more careful attention than that!

  1. Survey — Size up your reading assignments before you get started. Look at the pictures and notice the italicized words and boldface print. Make predictions about what you think the chapter will cover.

  2. Concentrate — Fast readers concentrate on what they are doing. Slow readers tend to become bored because ideas are coming too slowly to keep their minds alert.

  3. Stop regressing — Regressing (rereading) is caused by not paying attention the first time. Be demanding of yourself and expect 100 percent attention to the task. Engage your mind. Visualize the incoming ideas, and relate the new material to what you already know.
    1. Rereading because your mind was asleep is a waste of time and a habit of slow readers.
    2. However, rereading because you did not understand is a legitimate strategy used by good readers who monitor their own comprehension.

The speed at which you should read depends on the following four factors:

  1. Difficulty of the material — Even the best readers read difficult material slowly.

  2. Purpose for reading — Material that you must memorize for a test should be read more slowly than material you read for relaxation.

  3. Level of skill — Readers who are good at picking out main ideas, are familiar with college-level vocabulary, and have a wide background of experience read faster than someone who is less adept at reading.

  4. Absence of bad reading habits — Reading one word at a time rather than reading phrases, moving your lips even on easy material, and looking back at (regressing) what you have already read slow readers down.

Reading faster does require effort. Faster readers concentrate on what they are doing; they are curious to learn, mentally alert, and motivated to achieve.