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Oct 31, 2012

How To Train Yourself To Read Faster

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Here are some simple steps you can take to increase your reading speed and skill without spending a dime on seminars. However, we do recommend you take it slow the first time.

Time your reading

If you want to be a faster reader, you need to know your starting page so that you can measure your progress. Have a practice book in hand, then take out a stopwatch and determine how long it takes you to read a standard page. Then, time yourself for a minute and see how far you get.

Eliminate distractions

Music people, television - these are distractions that do not provide prime conditions for speed reading; or any reading for that matter. Turn off your TV and close your laptop. Only a dead quiet room (with a comfortable seat) can provide the necessary conditions for productive reading.

Determine your purpose - and adjust

If you know what you're looking for, then it'll be easier to find. Classic literature, or fiction of any kind, might prove difficult to speed read because you will almost certainly be missing out on the nuances of the story if you do. If you need to, you can probably identify major plot points fairly quickly. With nonfiction text, you might be looking for dates and terms. Perhaps you'll need to teach the text later, or write a review. Whatever your purpose is, keeping it in the back of your mind will help greatly with the next few steps.


Most books have filters, intros, prefaces, etc; you can skip over these. Skim the book for its necessary parts: Index, table of contents, terms in bold or highlighted print, section headings, specific patterns, and chapters/titles. Mark these places with a pen, or dog-ear important pages. Then, when you set out to do your reading, you'll already know where all the hotspots are.

Don't Re-read

Resist this urge! Try not to re-read any words that you just passed over. many people skip to the line before to double-check the meaning of the just-read sentence. Train yourself to curb the eye-darting back and forth; you'll read and retain information much faster, and at the same time. If you need help with this, cover previous words with an index card or small piece of paper.

How To Train Yourself To Read FasterUse your finger

While it might seem like a habit best left to elementary school-aged readers, using your hand to guide your reading will keep your eyes moving forward. Called a "tracking member", leading with your finger can regulate your pace.

Don't read to yourself

You may not notice it, but you're probably sounding out the words in your head or muttering them to yourself as you read. This is called "sub-vocalizing" and it slows you down tremendously. Try to be conscious of it, and let your eyes, rather than your ears, drink in the material.

Keep timing yourself

Once you've practiced your techniques for a little while, try to time yourself once a week. Keep track of your improvements in a journal or spreadsheet, and make adjustments to your training if necessary.

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