When did we last work on improving our reading skills? Let’s be honest – probably when we were first graders. But…
Reading the same as taught at school is like riding on a horse and buggy.
The average person reads somewhere in the range of 150-250 words per minute. What is your reading speed? Anyway, this is not our maximum. John F. Kennedy was said to read 1,200 words per minute.
There are three main reading habits that slow down our reading:
- Fixation (reading word by word);
- Regression (re-reading);
- Subvocalization (voice/words that sound in our head).
What should we change? We need to be able to read groups of words to get over fixation. To cope with regression, we need to improve our concentration so that we don’t go back to re-read as much. As for the subvocalization, we shouldn’t say every word in our head because that limits our reading speed.
In addition, let’s not forget about distractions. Distractions are the main reason why people read more slowly on the computer screen. Unfortunately, the average person reads 20 to 30 percent slower on the computer screen as opposed to reading on the printed page.
There are distractions from ads that might be blinking on the side of the page while you try to read. There are also personal distractions. Sometimes you’re reading an article and all of a sudden we have this urge to check email or Facebook or maybe a chat notification pops up while you’re reading.
We have made up a list of our favorite tips to improve speed reading. Here we go…
- Practice reading every day and periodically measure your reading speed.
- Use a hand/finger/pen as a guide; to read even faster, we should move our hand/finger/pen faster.
- Use the RSVP (Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) technology to display text on your computer screen. For example, you can check this great free tool https://accelareader.com/ .
- Read groups of words (make 2-3 fixation points per line).
- To engage repetition, which is useful for better material memorizing, use the Preview and Overview technique. That means to look through the introduction and the conclusion of the given material, and then to check all headings, bold-faced words, the first sentence of each paragraph. This will make you acquainted with the most important concepts and, as the rule of thumb says, will read at a decent pace.
- For retention, use the “read and recall method” (taking a quick one- or several-words note after each paragraph).
- Adjust the speed: slow down on the first sentence (to get the main idea), and speed up a little through the rest of the paragraph.
If you find this topic interesting for you, go on checking other useful tips, techniques and exercises on the internet.