How To Read Faster
Do you want to learn how to read faster and retain more?
Reading slowly can make getting through assigned reading for school take an excruciatingly long time.
Here are some of my top tips for how to read faster! Whether you want to read faster so you can get through assigned academic reading faster, or just want to read more books for pleasure, these tips will help.
I’ve always been a pretty fast reader, but following these tips helped me read even quicker. And not only will these tips help you read fast, they will also help you retain what you’re reading.
(Because what’s the point of reading quickly if you don’t even remember what you read?!)
Read on for the easy hacks you can use to read faster and still retain information!
1. Read in a distraction-free environment.
One of the simplest strategies for how to read faster is to read in a distraction-free environment. This is especially important if you are trying to read material for school or for work.
But even when reading for fun, this is something that can be very helpful!
The key is to put yourself in an environment that is conducive to reading and free of distractions. Leave your phone in a different room, and don’t have background noises like music or television going in the background. You might even find a pair of noise-cancelling headphones useful for focusing better.
It’s also a good idea to be in a quiet environment, away from other people. If you’re trying to read in a busy cafe or even a spot in the library where you can watch a lot of people coming and going, it’s going to distract you. And finally, try to be seated upright in a well-lit space instead of lying down in bed.
2. Stop the inner monologue.
When it comes to actually reading, one of the best things you can do to read quicker is to stop your inner monologue. This is also known as subvocalizing, and it’s when you “read out loud” in your head.
This slows down your reading considerably because it makes your reading speed about on pace with your speaking speed, which tops out at around 300 words per minute. If you can hear your own voice in your head and you’re “saying” each individual word out loud in your head, you are subvocalizing.
Luckily, this is something you can stop doing pretty easily. You probably already read sometimes without subvocalizing, so you just need to make a conscious effort to do it more consistently.
You can also use to following strategies to help you stop your inner monologue when you read:
3. Don’t read individual words.
You can speed up your reading by focusing on “word chunks” and even whole sentences, rather than reading every individual word. Eliminating this behavior also helps you to stop subvocalizing while you read, which as mentioned above is one of the biggest problems that can slow down your reading speed..
Basically, when reading, you don’t want to focus on each individual word.
Instead, try using your eyes to scan chunks of three to four words and even whole sentences.
If you have trouble doing this, you can use a visual cue to help. For example, running your finger across each line down the page as you read gives your eyes something to follow, and prevents you from stopping and getting caught on individual words. You can also use an index card the same way.
4. Use your peripheral vision.
Related to the tip above, be sure you are using your peripheral vision when reading.
It will become easier to scan whole lines and sentences in a book when you expand your field of vision, as opposed to honing in on each individual word, which really slows you down.
This is one of the major keys to speed-reading. When you use your peripheral vision, you can stay focused on the center of the page, and scan whole lines without having to adjust your focus, thus reading an entire page of text in record time. When used with other strategies like eliminating subvocalizing and reading word chunks instead of individual words, you will be able to get through the pages of whatever you’re reading much faster.
5. Avoid re-reading as much as possible.
One final tip for improving your reading speed is to avoid re-reading.
When you’re reading something you’re trying to comprehend, like a text for school or a nonfiction book, you might think that re-reading is actually helpful and aids in understanding more.
But actually, you’ll be surprised to find that you comprehend just as much without re-reading.
Focus on making it to the bottom of the page without going back and re-reading anything. You might find it very helpful to use your finger or an index card as you move down the page to keep you reading on and not lingering or going back to re-read anything. When you reach the end of the page this way, you will find that you have still absorbed the most important information, and didn’t need to re-read in order to accomplish that.
Eliminating re-reading automatically increases your reading speed a ton.
Final Thoughts: How to Read Faster
These tips showed you how you can easily increase how fast you are able to read.
One of the final things that can help you read quicker is simply reading more.
Using all of the tips and strategies mentioned above will help you improve your reading speed, and the more time that you spend reading and practicing, the faster you will naturally begin to read.
Whether you want to read faster in order to get through academic or work-related reading assignments, or you just want to be able to read more books for your personal enjoyment, this tips will help you get there.