How to Increase Your Reading Speed in Just 15 Minutes
So, I’ve used science to show you that reading books is good for you. That being said, I promise that even armed with that knowledge, some of you will say things like “but I don’t have time”, “books are silly”, or even “who are you and why are you in my house?”.
I’m here to tell you that you do have time to read, you just don’t use that time as well as you could. Your brain is like a muscle, and therefore can be trained. I personally scoured the internet and have found that there are several techniques and even entire websites dedicated to teaching you to read faster, and with better comprehension.
Imagine being able to read TWICE as fast as you do right now. It’s not some unobtainable super power, and even as cool as it would be, it certainly won’t get you invited to be one of the X Men. Mainly because Reading Man sounds like a terrible super hero. (What’s he going to do, read the criminals their legal documents?) What it will do for you is allow your to absorb twice as much written information in the same amount of time, which can make you smarter. Smart is sexy. Therefore reading faster makes you sexier*. You can quote me on that.
3 SIMPLE TIPS TO READ FASTER:
1. Quit Reading Out Loud
Most people read 200-300 words per minute, and it’s not a coincidence that 200-300 words per minute is the same rate at which we speak. Your brain being the funny little organ that it is wants to vocalize words, and can only do that so fast if you actually vocalize the words. So to read faster, ignore your brain’s impulse urges to vocalize, and just see the words – don’t speak them (even silently).
2. Quit Reading Things Twice
Not all reading environments are perfect, and distractions are a comprehension killer. Even in an ideal reading situation, people tend to daydream while reading, and again – you find yourself reading the same things over and over again to comprehend what you are reading. A handy trick to try is using a plain white index card to cover the text that you’ve already read. This makes you focus as you read, and boosts comprehension.
3. Quit Focusing on Single Words
This one is a little trickier to explain, but I’ll try…
Instead of focusing on each word as you read, try focusing on every third word or so. Your eyes can see the words on either side of what you are focusing on, and with practice you’ll find that you can use your peripheral vision to basically read entire lines of text at once. Try it on this sentence:
Don’t focus on the word “don’t”, instead focus on “word”, and you’ll read this really fast.
If that example didn’t work for you, try it on another sentence and see how your eyes move more fluidly across a sentence. Even the long ones I like to write.
So let’s put these theories to a measurable test. Marc Howard, a guest writer from Wake Up World, has put together a system to increase your reading speed in just 15 minutes. I personally tried it, and it worked.
First, to determine your current wpm baseline you can hop over to ReadingSoft to take a quick free test. Make a note of this wpm number as you’ll then compare it to your new reading speed at the end of this exercise.
So here we go. Grab a pen (to use as a word tracker as we read), a timer, and a book that you can practice with and lets begin. You will be quite amazed at how simple this exercise is and how much faster you will be able to read in just a few minutes – I was absolutely blown away.
Method To Increase Reading Speed
(Set timer for two minutes): Once your timer begins read each line but spend no more than one-second per line. You will use your pen to underline each word (keep the cap on) to give your eye a fixed point to follow along as you read. Do not be concerned about retention or comprehension of the passage at this point. This step is all about speed.
(Set time for three minutes): Same as step one except now use no more than a half-second per line (so you will read two lines in one second).
Expanding Field of Vision
a. (Set time for one-minute): Again spend no more than one second per line but this time begin one word in from the first word of each line and end one word in from the last line.
b. (Set time for one minute): Same as above except this time start reading at second word in from beginning of the line and complete each line focusing your eyes on the second word end from the end of each line.
c. (Set time for three minutes): Finally focus on the third word from the beginning and end of each line and only spend a half-second per line.
This can be pretty tough at first and you more than likely will lose comprehension as your speed increases. Keep with it. Your brain is like a muscle and with practice your speed and comprehension will both increase.
Now go back to the ReadingSoft site and using the skills above to take the test over to get your new wpm.
How much faster could you read? Was your comprehension just as good? With practice these techniques will become second nature, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can read, and how much sexier* you will get!
*Disclaimer: There is no scientific evidence that reading will make you sexier, but it’s always worth a shot right?