Let’s start by answering some of the most common question related to speed reading.

Top three most frequently asked questions

And here they are with answers.

What is the fastest possible reading speed?

If there is a limit on the speed at which people can read, we don ’ t know what that is. We do know that some people can read a book the size of War and Peace in less than 20 minutes and retain and recall enough to answer questions at least as well as those who read ‘ normally ’ !

How do I remember what I read – when I need to remember it?

The ability to retain and recall is the most relevant outcome. If you do not plan to remember what you read, why read it in the first place?

Is speed reading easy to learn?

Speed reading is easy to learn, and you can learn it quickly. Only some speed reading exercises requires practice. The rest works just because you use it.

The five-step system For Learning Speed Reading.

Step 1: Prepare

This step should take no more than a few minutes no matter how big the book is.

Lack of focus interferes with concentration. It makes reading frustrating. The preparation stage will give you the focus you need to get what you want out of the material as quickly as possible.

To prepare (and establish your purpose), ask yourself three questions.

What do you already know about the subject you are reading?

What do you need to know (general information or the answer to a specific question)?

How do you intend to use the new information (write an essay, exam, report, general interest, give a presentation) and when (next week, next month, next year, right now … )

Step 2: Structure

For a 200-page book, studying the structure of the book or document should take between one and ten minutes, depending on the length of the book and your purpose.

During Step 2:

Read the front and back covers, inside flaps, table of contents, index, and scan the bibliography.

Determine the structure of the book; chapter headings, sub-headings, pictures, graphs, cartoons and images.

Strike out parts of the book that you are sure you don ’ t need.

Highlight areas you think you do need.

Re-affirm your decision about what you want from the book.

If it becomes clear that the book does not contain what you need, put it away. You will have saved yourself hours of work.

Step 3: Language

The purpose of step three is to familiarize yourself with the language in the book. Is it full of jargon? Is the language complicated? Are there any acronyms?

Becoming familiar with the language of a 200-page book should take about five to ten minutes.

Scan the pages at about a page every two seconds.

Look for words that stand out and highlight them: names; long or technical words; bold or italics words linked to your purpose.

Study the language: Is it technical, non-technical, user-friendly? Are you familiar with it?

Do you need to refer to a dictionary?

Note the meaning of acronyms as you read.

Your familiarity with the language determines the speed at which you will be able to read. During this step you might also recognize recurring themes and concepts. Highlight anything relevant to your purpose.

Step 4: Content

Most well-written material outlines the main element of the chapter in the fi rst paragraph with the main idea of each paragraph in its first sentence. For more detail read,

The first paragraph of every section.

The first sentence of every paragraph (and, if the paragraph is long, the last).

The more thoroughly you highlight, underline, circle, take notes and mind-map what you read, the easier Step 5 will be.

Step 5: Selective reading

You will now be in a position to select ‘ intelligently ’ what you need or want to read.