Are you like the old me who used to take a month on finishing a book? What if you could save 90% of your time to read by reading the book 10X faster using a technique called speed reading.
Speed Reading is a technique that increases your reading speed with full comprehension.
Hey, but school taught me reading faster leads to less comprehension. Sure you can take your time and read really slowly to study your school notes. But here is what I have to ask. If you drive a car at 100 mph and 20 mph when will you be more focused? If you know the right answer then start learning this skill right now.
Why is Your Reading Speed low?
A) Suboptimal Physical and Mental Condition
Situations like you ate a lot, you are tired, uncomfortable, or maybe too comfortable like lying in bed can affect your physical and mental conditions.
B) Distracting Physical Environment
Distraction due to a noisy environment, a visual environment, or an electronic device can lead to daydreaming and slow reading.
Your eyes are moving all over the place due to a lack of focus and control. You tend to reread and take too much time reading the sentence.
D) Too many fixations
Fixating on every word of the sentence and for too long is making you slow a reader.
You are reading each word out in your head (subvocalization) meaning your reading speed is the same as your speaking speed.
Before diving right into speed reading you have to eliminate both A) and B) mentioned above. That is you have to be in good shape and also be in a distraction free surrounding.
Now that you have eliminated two of your drawbacks, next is to reduce your subvocalization, regression and number of fixation. We will solve this in the speed reading techniques .
Before learning the speed reading technique ,first calculate your reading speed to know your current reading speed and how much you can improve after learning the speed reading techniques.
To calculate your reading speed..
Calculate your Reading Speed
You can calculate your reading speed online on websites like
But I would suggest calculating reading speed on your own. You can do this by reading at your current normal speed with full comprehension for 1 minute and now calculate the following.
Step 1 – Count the number of words in 4 lines. Divide this number of words by 4 and you will get your average number of words per line. Example – 39 words/4 = 9.75 words per line, rounded to 10 words per line
Step 2 – Now multiply the number of lines you read in 1 minute with the average number of words per line and you will determine your current words per minute(wpm) rate.
How to Read Faster?
Now, let’s move onto speed reading techniques and how you can learn and practice them. Here you will also find the ways to reduce/remove regression, fixation and subvocalization.
1) Using Trackers and Pacers
Using trackers and pacers back-skipping, regression, and duration of fixation can be reduced.Here you are going to use a tracker like a pen or a card to track the words while reading like you did when you were a kid.
Methods to follow
Take a book(non-fiction recommended) and set a 1-minute timer. Now start reading the book using a pen to track each line and try to read each line in under 1 second.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT COMPREHENSION. We are practicing speed reading now. Repeat this step 1 more time.
a.1) Increase Speed
Now read the same topic you read at 2x your previous speed, which means you shouldn’t take more than 1/2 a second per line. Now repeat this step 2 times. DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF, BE PATIENT.
2) Visual Expansion
No matter how focused you are the main reason you are a slow reader is due to fixations on every word .
When you are watching a movie on TV, you don’t need to move your eyes on every part of the screen don’t you? You just need to focus at the center of the screen and you can see the things on its left side, right side, above it, and below it.
Similarly, when reading you don’t need to fixate your eyes on every word. Normally a person would fixate 12 times at a sentence if the sentence has 12 words. But a speed reader fixates only 2 or 3 times.
Methods to follow
Here I am gonna mention two techniques that you can use. You can follow either or both of them. AND DO NOT WORRY ABOUT COMPREHENSION.
a) Technique 1
Use a pen as a tracker and start reading your sentence from 1 word in from the first word of each line, and end 1 word in from the last word. Keep at a speed of 1 second per line.
The same step as above but instead of 1 word, begin from 2 words in from the first word of each line and end 2 words in from the last word.
Begin at least 3 words in from the first word of each line, and end 3 words in from the last word. Now increase your speed up to 1/2 a second per line.
This technique is recommended by the author of The 4-Hour Workweek
He also provides amazing techniques on speed reading in his blog https://tim.blog/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated-learning/ .
You can either follow technique 1 or follow this technique 2.Divide the page into 3 equal columns as shown in the picture below(3 -5 words on each side of lines). Now try reading it only by stopping your eyes twice for each line of the text whenever the text is intersected by the blue line.
Now read the whole sentence in 2 snapshots
(Meaning: In 1st fixation, you read all the words on the left of the first line and some words on the right and in the 2nd fixation, you read the remaining words on the left side of the second line and all the words on the right.)
It’s all right if you don’t comprehend anything it’s for practice only and as you keep practicing a lot, your speed and comprehension will improve along the way.
Calculate Your New Reading Speed
Now read at the speed you are comfortable with with full comprehension. Now calculate your new reading speed. You will be amazed to see that your reading speed has just improved 3x or 4x in just in 10minutes or so.
Keep practicing every day until you can read a book a day.
NOTE: It is recommended that if used for study, try not to read 3 assignments in the time it would take you to read one, but rather, read the same assignment 3 times or more or less depending on your `comprehension.
Practice the methods and make reading a habit to achieve amazing results.
All the techniques to make you a better reader have been mentioned above. If you still want to know more or see other people’s perspectives , you can check the links below.