Self Development
How to Increase the Reading Speed

by Swati Nitin Gupta
Whether reading is a hobby or mandatory for you, speed of reading is an important factor. It saves you time and improves comprehension. Find out the reasons for your slow speed ... and how to make improvements.
Reading for some is a hobby, for some mandatory. However, whether reading for pleasure or professionally everybody wants to increase the reading speed. Even though an average reader reads for an hour daily his or her speed is slow because of reasons like:
  • Reader may reread the paragraph when he or she don't understand the meaning
  • Reader waste too much time on words like a, an, the, since avoid them as they don't add value to the sentence
  • Reader reads loudly or audibly
  • Reader lacks concentration as there are too many distractions
  • Sometimes the writing is not that legible for a speed reading.
The above points are the reasons why a person is a slow reader. So what should a reader do in such cases, especially if he or she is reading for professional reasons? There are hundreds of documents to be read. Here are some time tested strategies to help a person become a fast reader.

Preview the material

Before a person actually starts reading it is advisable to preview the material regarding the headings, chapter division, and any other relevant material. This will help the person in making an informed decision as to what he or she can skip and what needs a concentrated reading.

Adjust the reading speed accordingly

Based on the decision which part can be skipped and which needs concentrated reading a reader can adjust his or her reading speed. Speed read the part he or she is familiar with and slow down where they need to understand a topic or anything they feel is new to them.

Use a pacer or a pen

Use of a pacer or a pen or a finger can help to increase the reading speed as it helps to avoid rereading in addition to keep a track of what is being read. So the reader has a proper eye movement.

Read a block of words

Usually readers as they have been taught as children that is reading one word to another word or one letter to another. Avoid reading like that as it slows the reading speed. Read a block of words together. In order to read a block of words together keep the reading material a little away from the eye and then try to read.

Avoid reading loudly or audibly

Reading aloud is fine if a reader is reading to a child but when he or she is either reading for their pleasure or for the official purpose then the reading should be done with the eyes. Reading aloud or audibly slows the reader as he or she is concentrating on one word at a time. Whereas when a reader is reading with his or her eyes he or she is sure to read faster as eyes can take a complete block of words.

Avoid reading conjunctions, prepositions, or articles

Unless a reader is a grammar teacher at a high school a reader should avoid these words as they slow down a reader. No doubt they are important while writing but a reader can avoid them as they don't really add value to the text while reading. This is not to say that a writer can avoid them while writing.

Skip the familiar part

While reading a reader comes across certain paragraphs which are either familiar to the reader or are just elaborate examples and illustrations. A reader should skip these parts and move on to the more complex paragraphs to increase the reading speed.

Reading spot

Sometimes it is found that a reader is distracted either by the noise or something else so it is advisable to find a reading spot and fix a reading time. Everyday a reader should sit comfortably in that spot and read for at least 20 -30 minutes without a break.

Practice, practice and more practice

Practice makes a man perfect. So practice to increase your speed. There are various software programmes that can help a reader to develop a reading speed. Or readers can increase their speed by following this step - sit with a stop watch after the reader has finished a page stop the watch and then gauge the performance.
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