By now, we all know that reading is good for us. We hear all the time about how we should be reading more but for some of us, it just isn’t that simple. You may be put off by the amount of time it takes you to read a book and then get bored. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to read a book, either fiction or non-fiction, faster and actually get all the way through it like you intended to?
The first thing that I want to make clear is that becoming a faster reader will take practice and a bit of commitment. If you are willing to put in the time then you will become a faster reader. Also, it is no good reading fast if you are not taking in and comprehending what you are reading. Speed reading has gained a lot of praise within the online reading community but it simply doesn’t work for everyone. I have used this statement before when discussing reading techniques: Speed reading and reading at speed are two completely different things.
The first step you must take is to split up your reading into manageable sections. Give yourself a goal of say, 25 pages a day (more or less depending on what you are capable of) and stick with it. Try your best to achieve this goal but don’t kick yourself if you don’t; you must make gaining reading speed a positive process. This means that if you don’t reach your goal just accept it and try again tomorrow but don’t ever try to cram it all in at once because that is the quickest and surest way to lose interest in reading. I remember when I was in primary school and we had to choose a book to read every fortnight and do a test on it to make sure we had read it. The sentiment was there and they were trying their best to get us interested in reading. However for most of us, it really made us dread choosing the next book, especially if the last one we choose really didn’t spark our interest.
With that in mind, here is the next step: Read what you are interested in. This may seem like common sense but still people try to push through books just because they feel it is their duty to finish reading what they have started. I like the commitment in that but ask yourself, is it really worth spending so much time punishing yourself with such a boring book when you could be reading something that really interests you? Pick a topic you are interested in and research books from that particular category. Before making your selection, make sure you know exactly what the book is about so you can get a rough idea on whether you will actually stay committed to it. Obviously, I understand that the whole point of reading non-fiction books is to learn new things, but you still have to have an interest in that topic in order to really enjoy the book.
Gradually increase the speed of your eye. If you pay attention to what your eye is actually doing while reading, you will notice that it isn’t looking at each each word individually but processing groups of words and then telling your brain what it says. Speed reading takes advantage of this property of our vision and basically works on the premise that if you scan over a large group of words, your brain will be able to process it. I have already stated that I don’t necessarily like speed reading and it is for this reason. I don’t like the idea that your brain can just pick up a message by scanning over it briefly. If this is going to work at all, you must build up to the speed over time. Like I said, don’t speed-read but read at speed. If you can read as normal but at a faster pace your retention will be much higher than if you had just scanned the text.
The other reason why I don’t like speed reading is that it only really focuses on non-fiction. In my eyes, there is no point skimming a fiction book because that simply isn’t enjoyable. At the end of the day, If you can become engrossed in a book and forget everything around you, you will automatically become a faster reader. Taking into account the few tips I have provided will allow you to more easily get into this state of concentration and ultimately: Read Faster.
Thank you for reading! How quickly do you read? Do you have any tips?