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HomeEducationSpeed up your reading with these useful tips

Speed up your reading with these useful tips

If you have to read a lot of stuff every day on screen or on paperwork, enhancing your reading speed can be beneficial. You wouldn’t want to exert your eyes all the time on screen or something. 

Here is the list of few useful tips for you to speed up your reading: 

source = medium.datadriveninvestor

Don’t start your inner monologue: do you remember going to school and gearing your teacher to say,” while read aloud, you all read in your mind” Well, that’s how most of us has developed the habit of reading in our mind, inner monologues also called as The Subvocalization. It’s an extremely common reading habit that we all have developed during our childhood, and if you hear words in your mind while reading, you need to stop. Subvocalization slows down the process of reading; our mind focuses on two things at a time as our subconsciousness keeps on re-reading in mind; therefore, it takes extra time to process. When you were small, this habit was to incorporate the sound or pronunciation of words in your mind, but after you became proficient, nobody stopped you. Somehow, people still carry this habit, and it’s adversely affecting their way of reading. If you wish to read faster, the first thing you need to overcome is Subvocalization. It’s an unnecessary habit; why will you read words in mind to understand it when you can instantly get the word since you already know the meaning. This habit of processing the word and taking a second extra to understand slow down your reading process. When your brain is not focused on Subvocalization, you can read much faster. 

Don’t re-read the words on the same page: the most tricky habit to break out is re-reading the same words. According to a survey, the average reader has a habit of subtly moving back and forth between words to keep track of backwards for understanding text. We often read the same word again to connect with the next word; this habit is so unconscious that you won’t even realise you’re doing it. Re-reading traits slow down the reading speed; it’s obvious if we read a word only once, it will take less time than usual. However, it’s hard to overcome such a habit since you can’t pinpoint it. It might sound funny or absurd to you, but the easiest trick to overcome this trait is using your finger while reading. Your fingers can act as a bookmark when you read, this way, your eyes won’t Flicker back and forth, or if they do, you will know you have such a habit and need to discard it. 

Keep your finger on the text while you’re reading, and don’t go back even if your eyes move; keep going and recall the text in the end. This way, you won’t have to re-read, and you can understand faster. 

Read! Read! Read!: well! The more you read, the faster you can do it. Reading practice is the only way to speed up your process. You already know the phrase” Practice makes a man perfect.” Any professional, musician, sportsman, artist, etc., consistently work to succeed. Similarly, you have to perform a reading. Therefore, keep your options open, read whenever whatever and wherever you can. If you get bored of reading similar text, switch genres; that way, you won’t get bored and develop a life-changing habit of reading. Have you heard of Theodore Roosevelt? Well! He had a habit of reading a book before breakfast and four in the evening. Did you see the energy? Make this your goal if you want to speed up your reading. 

Use timer: Test yourself, set a timer and read before it goes off. Our mind has a weird way of working under pressure. Start small and set your timer for 10 minutes, read at your normal pace; when the timer goes off, check how many pages you can read. Set again and this time, read a little faster to check if you understood what you read. Keep doing this for a consistent time to beat your previous record. Either do this test daily or weekly, whichever way you are comfortable. Continue till you achieve your goal. 

Set your goal: like it or not, most of us have a habit of procrastination or being lazy; we don’t perform until there’s a sword hanging over our heads. Therefore, if you want to speed up your reading, set your daily, weekly and monthly goals. Check at the end of the month how you perform and analyse yourself; improvise your plan wherever you think it’s necessary. 

Use pencil or highlighter: while reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will understand every word or pronounce it correctly, mark each word whenever you feel stuck but don’t stop reading. Check your highlighted words once you are over. 

Work on your vocab: ok, you tell me, when you read, what do you do when you are stuck at a word? Or when you don’t recognise it? Ignore? Or halt your reading and find out the meaning, or you leave it for the end? Whatever approach you apply, you are bound to slow your reading process until you know what it means. So, do you want to do this every time you read? No, right. Then start building your vocabulary, learn new words daily and recall them the other day; you will get to widen your vocabulary. It might not be seen daily, but it will impact your reading; the more words you know, the faster you can read. 

Skim and scan: Some people say it’s a slow process you need to read twice, but when you are in a time crunch, Read the main points, title, subtitle main words in paragraphs, or some highlighted words. 

Recall them in your mind, check if you can formulate an idea about the text. This way, when you read a second time, you are much faster as you already know what it means. Sometimes it’s unnecessary to read entire things; if you can comprehend the idea, you know what it wants to say.

Priyanka Aggarwal, an English Literature Post Graduate has invested her flair for writing and editing masterpieces.


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