Ever looked at someone who reads at ‘a million miles per hour’ and wonder how they reached that pace? Have you ever desired to become one of those speed-reading machines that absorb the majority of words and comprehension while also racing through books. Well, in that case please continue to read on and discover a variety of tips and tools you can use to improve your reading and comprehension speed.
Tip 1. Set Yourself Reading Goals
The first way to begin to improve your reading speed is to increase the amount you read. The more you read, the more used you become to being able to read quicker. It is the same as any type of exercise or activity – the more you do it, the better you become. But as with going to a gym for a physical workout you always need to begin at a current and achievable level.
One type of goal that some readers might set is in amount of books. If you know that you can read 10 books a year easily, you may challenge yourself to read 15 books in the next year. The website Goodreads has a function for tracking these amounts of books read that may be of use. Another type of reading goal is to set aside an hour a day or a certain amount of hours per week to practise reading and to read. During this hour you may challenge yourself to read a certain amount of pages/chapters in a novel. The process of seeing
Sometimes you may want more specific goals in terms of word amounts, and this means you need to find out your reading speed.
There are plenty of tools available for checking how fast your current reading speed is. Try the following for example: Speed Reading Test Online ; Free Reading Speed Test ; My Read Speed. It may be of most benefit to you to try all three tests (or any similar tests you can find for yourself) and then work out your average speed from those tests. This average ‘words per minute’ speed is helpful in categorising how fast you can read and comprehend words.
Once you know what your current level is you can then start setting specific word based goals. Whether this be to challenge yourself to increase your speed from 200 to 300 words per minute, or increase yourself from 200 to 210 words per minute. The choice is yours, however your goal should be: manageable, achievable and yet slightly challenging.
Then, when you sit down to read, try to cut out other distractions. Put away your phone, go away from other people, and focus on the goal you have set yourself. The more you can do this, the better your ability will become with your reading.
If you want a highly scientific method for setting reading goals check out this blog post: Speed Reading and Accelerated Learning.
When you begin to learn how to read you learn to read words individually. However the human mind is such a complex and creative tool that continues to adapt to your learning and reading in the same way that your brain learns to take in images as a whole. Imagine if you saw images visually step-by-step as you see each item. A kitchen suddenly becomes a visual list of drawers, ovens, microwaves, kettles, pots, pans and other utensils – rather than a complete grouping of these items that make one whole kitchen.
You need to stop reading words in succession (easier said than done) and begin to look at whole sentences as one grouping. If you can begin to sort pages of books into sentences, rather than individual words, your reading speed will naturally begin to increase.
Tip 3. Stop ‘Sounding Out’ Every Word
As we learn to read words individually, one after the other, often we internally vocalise these words when reading. By consciously stopping the internal ‘sounding out’ of each word individually, and reading words in groups you will start to pick up the emotional and visual impacts of groups of words. You will not be internalising the sound of every word but the image that they are creating and therefore comprehending the word at the same time. Scientists refer to this ‘sounding out’ as subvocalisation, as explained on this Speedreading blog post.
Tip 4. Use Webtools to Help
There are plenty of paid and free webtools that you can use to help improve your reading of digital text. Some are mentioned in the following article The 6 Best Free Tools for Speed Reading Anything 2-3x Faster Online such as Spreeder which displays each word in rapid succession, allowing you to set a ‘words per minute pace’ for you to absorb each word in a sentence. Another similar tool, where you can do the same thing is Spritz or Zap, however you can also use paid applications such as Accelerator for the same effect.
These types of tools are most useful to help you be able to build up to reading words in groups and avoid ‘sounding out’ each word. If you wanted to set a goal of increasing your speed they are all highly recommended. However, you should also be able to find your own tools through a simple Google. As always is best practise – read what others recommend, but take and apply what you feel will best suit you and your particular conditions and lifestyle.