Speed Reading (SR)
Speed reading is not just about how fast you can read. What is the point of reading fast if you don’t comprehend what was read. There are three important keys to speed reading: speed, comprehension (understand the current article) and retention (keep the article in your mind).
There are some benefits that you can achieve with Speed Reading:
- You will spend much less time to keep up to dated with the news;
- You will enhance your ability to learn. Speed Reading skills help to keep the focus and concentration on the text. If you are not focused on what you are reading, your mind will become occupied with other thoughts. So it is important to keep focus and switch off from the external world.
- You’ll be more interested in everything you read and combined with your creativity, you will expand your knowledge. When you improve your creativity, your thinking does also.
- Speed Reading challenges our brains to perform at a higher level. When you train your brain to be able to take in information faster and more efficient, other areas of your brain will also improve such as your memory.
- Once you have the ability to read faster and comprehend more, you also learn faster and open more door for opportunities to come
Learning the Technique
Let’s start by reading an article. You have to read for one minute. Check your time. When you complete the one minute mark, check what line you stopped. It is indicated on the right side.
To have access to the article, click here.
What line did you stop? Write down the result.
The average American person reads around 150 to 250 words per minute, in the computer, this number is decreased to 150 words per minute. If you read less line don’t worry too much, this section is for you to improve your speed reading skills.
There are three important keys to speed reading: speed, comprehension (understand the current article) and retention (keep the article in your mind)
That comes with the idea we don’t need to read word by word. That is the way we learn how to read but as we get older and familiar with words, our brain can easily read groups of words. For example, if we are driving towards Dee Why Beach and we see a sign above. We don’t stop our car and read word by word. We quickly read in a glance and fixate again on the road. The funny thing is if those words were embedded in the article somewhere, most people would read word by word and that is the part of the problem. We have to stop reading word by word and start reading a group of words.
Another point is to create points of fixation and scan the text from those points. But that comes from practice.
For example. Have a look this phrase:
Being lost in Australia gives you a sense of security.
That is the way most of us would read:
Being | lost | in | Australia | gives | you | a | sense | of | security.
Here we have 10 fixation points. However, you can break down into parts as your brain can read in blocks of words.
Being lost | in Australia | gives you | a lovely | sense of security.
That reduces to 5 fixation points. Once you practice you will be able to read:
Being lost in Australia | gives you a sense of security.
The fewer fixation points you have, the faster you will be able to read. With some practice that will become a natural process for you. It is good to read with fixation points or reduce them because a group of words has more meaning then isolated words. Have a look the examples below.
W H E N Y O U R E A D
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
L E T T E R B Y
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
L E T T E R, Y O U R
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
S P E E D G E T
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37
B E L L O W T H A N
38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
W H A T Y O U
48 49 50 51 52 53 54
C O U L D A C H I E V E
55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66
WHEN YOU READ WORD BY WORD
1 2 3 4 5 6
YOU ARE STILL NOT DEVELOPING
7 8 9 10 11
WHAT YOU COULD
12 13 14
WHEN YOU READ GROUP OF WORDS YOUR TIME DECREASE
1 2 3
BY THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR EYES AND YOU GET
4 5 6
As you get better, you will decrease those fixation points. The ideal is your line should be too long and you should have fewer fixation points possible. Then your eyes will scan the whole text from those fixation points as the illustrative image.
It is important to stay focus when you are reading. If you are reading an important document, put your mobile in silent mode and shut down your email. If you lose the focus you are not only decreasing the speed but also the comprehension of the text.
sometimes we lost focus. Have already happened you read the whole page and you have no clue what you just read? The average person goes back 33% of the time. So we need to improve our concentration and focus.There are different techniques to do that:
- our brain focuses better on things in movements. For that reason, if you use your fingers or a
marking as a guide to read line by line, your brain will scan the line quickly and you will be able to read faster.
- avoid going back after reading the first sentence or line because you didn’t understand the meaning. There are some reasons for that:
- Maybe you were not focus
- Maybe the sentence was not clearly written
- Sometimes the sentence doesn’t make sense until you read the rest of the paragraph. When you finish reading the paragraph everything makes sense
- Of course after reading the whole paragraph or a section, if you don’t understand the meaning, maybe you can return and read again.
Don’t read out loud. Subvocalization is the silent speech when you are reading. The idea is: do I have to say the word to understand what it means? And the answer is: not necessary. For example: when you see signs on the street or label in the supermarket, you don’t have to read them to know what it is.
If you say every word in your head, you only gonna read as fast as you talk. That is a problem because there is a limit in your talk speed. You can measure for one minute and see how many words can you read. That is your talking speed. For most of the people, this average is between 150 to 250 words per minute.
That number looks familiar because as I said earlier the average for reading speed is also 150 to 250 words per minute. So if you are saying all the words in your head that basically you only read as fast as you talk and that why this habit needs to change.
Read again the same article but this time in 45 seconds but this time using this link. When you read, try to create 2 fixation points and keep the concentration high.
Could you read the same number of words than when you had 1 minute? Less?
Now read back again but this time back to 1 minute time. Check the performance at the end. Did you read faster this time?
Practice is very important. Imagine you are on a Highway at 110 km/h for 2 hours. When you exit the highway, it looks you are going slow. That is the same idea with reading. Or you can think when you learned how to drive, drive at 60 km/h was too fast and you felt nervous. Now 60 km/h feel very slow.
You can practice online using https://accelareader.com/
Go to the website and copy the text from an article you like and paste into the text area. Then click “Read”. You can adjust the speed clicking Settings.
Check how fast can you read now with just some basic knowledge.