So you have got just a minute and you want to learn speed reading ? Let’s get to it.

The main reason most of us read at an average rate of 150 – 300 words per minute is because that is approximately the rate at which we speak.

While you are reading this paragraph, listen to what is going on inside your head. Do you hear a voice inside your head while you are reading? Are you ‘ saying ’ the words in your mind while you read? This is happening because of the way you were taught to read.

When you were taught to read, you learned to recognize one letter or sound at a time, then, when you mastered that, you moved on to recognizing one word at a time. The next step was being able to read out loud so that your teacher could see that you had learned to recognize the words accurately. Then you were left to read ‘ to yourself ’ . That ‘ inner voice ’ became a habit. Instead of reading out loud you read silently. You learned that you had to hear the words to understand what you were reading rather than see them.

So when we talk about reading with your ears instead of your eyes – that is exactly what is happening: you are reading/speaking ‘ to yourself ’ at the same rate as when you read/speak out loud.

When you first learned to read, reading ‘ to yourself ’ was slow because you were still
learning to recognize the words. As you read more and got further into the education system your reading rate increased because your vocabulary increased. But your reading strategy did not change.

To increase your ‘ word-per-minute ’ reading rate you must first accelerate, only then can you eliminate the sound in your head (often referred to as sub-vocalization).

Speed Reading Method 1: Using a guide

Place a guide (pen, pencil or finger) underneath the first or second word of a line. Move the guide smoothly across the page from the beginning to the end of each line. Repeat on each line. Move the guide a little faster than is comfortable. Make the movement smooth and swift.

If the guide pauses, then it is likely to be following (instead of leading) your eye. You will continue to sub-vocalize and your speed will not increase. When the guide moves fast and smoothly, your eyes are forced to follow and your reading rate will increase. The faster you move your guide, the less you will sub-vocalize because your inner voice will be unable to keep up. This technique eliminates the habit of reading one word at a time, and stops your attention jumping around the page unnecessarily.

Important note!!

Speed reading is a skill. Developing that skill does not mean you have to read fast all the time. The technical content of the material, print size, your mood, familiarity with the subject and your purpose, are some of the factors that will affect the speed at which you read. The ability to read quickly allows you to choose how fast or slow you read.

Speed Reading Method 2: Mostly reading

This technique is good for subject matter with which you are familiar, but you want to make sure that you miss nothing out.

Read the fi rst sentence of the paragraph. Skim the rest of the paragraph for key words and, if necessary, read the last sentence of the paragraph.