Five Things Holding Your Reading Speed Back
So you want to learn to read quicker? Welcome to the course that can hopefully help you to do just that!
I’m Jordan Harry, co-founder of StudyFast. Having struggled with a speech impediment during school, I learned strategies from speed reading and memory experts to now be able to read 1,500 words per minute.
Over these ten lessons, I will be sharing the methods I learned to get to this level. I will be giving tips and advice on how to change your mindset to allow your brain to read and process information quicker, which can transform the way you learn!
Before implementing new techniques, we need to eliminate the bad habits we already have. So, in this lesson, I will identify five common mistakes we make which prevent us from reading any quicker.
Or simply, re-reading what you’ve just read. So many of us get distracted or simply don’t concentrate when we read, so we have no idea what we’ve just read. We then have to go back through it all over again.
In fact, approximately 30% of the time we spend reading may be spent on re-reading a section of text!
This is therefore a major area you can cut some reading time to read quicker. This habit is far from easy to eliminate but, with firm practice, over time you won’t feel the need to do it at all!
This is linked to the above point, but it is so important it deserves a mention on its own. Focus is key to reading faster. If you read slowly, your mind tends to wander and think about things other than the words you’re reading (resulting in going back to re-read).
However, strangely enough, the faster you read the easier it is to focus!
Because reading faster requires your brain to concentrate more, you are more likely to give your full attention to the task at hand and so be fully focused on what you’re reading.
Now, I can almost guarantee you are reading this lesson with a little voice in your head. This is what’s known as subvocalization and, however helpful it may seem, it is actually slowing down your reading speed.
Think how much slower you read when you read out loud. Although the little voice in your head lets you read faster than this, your eyes on their own can read even faster still!
When you see a “stop” sign or other road signs, you generally don’t “hear” the word, you see it and understand it instantly. This is the feeling you should be aiming for when you try to speed read.
Of course, this is incredibly difficult as the little voice in our head is always going to be there! However, one way of combating it is by providing it with low-level distractions, such as tapping on the table or pressing your tongue to the top of your mouth.
Fixation is when your eye rests on a line as you read. The average person has 10-12 fixations per line which essentially means they read every word. However, moving from word to word is a tiring activity and not compatible with reading quicker.
This inefficient way of reading can be improved by using point number 5…
5. Peripheral vision
Rather than reading one word at a time, we should utilize our peripheral vision. Our eyes and brain allow us to see and process more than one word at a time, so we should make the most of this!
You can start practicing by “skipping” over every other word in a sentence, so reducing the number of fixations per line. This may feel strange, but you will soon see that you start to read quicker but without losing any understanding of the information!
Changing these habits is not going to be easy as many of them are deeply ingrained since childhood. But by trying to change a little bit each time we read, these new habits will soon become second nature.
Next lesson we will continue our speed-reading journey to look at why memory is integral to being able to read even quicker.
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