Here's How to Double Your Reading Speed in No Time
For reading connoisseurs, the average reading speed of 250-300 words per minute (wpm) can be a major downer. As much as we can, we want to maximize our time and increase our knowledge intake. For some who want to improve their reading speed, they will have this question in mind, “How do I double my reading speed?”
We understand how frustrating it is to have only read a partial chunk of your readings instead of more—everyone reads after all. Be it books, newspapers, blogs, or any reading materials, we all have to read when fulfilling various purposes. Knowledge is power, and we all feel the urge to increase our reading efficiency to gain more.
What is speed reading?
In order to double your reading pace, you shall practice speed reading, the method of using different techniques for faster reading while retaining comprehension. This is done through the efficient recognition of phrases instead of analyzing each word.
According to Staples, these are the average reading speeds of Americans grouped based on their educational attainment:
- 3rd-grade students have 150 wpm.
- 8th-grade students have wpm.
- Average adults have 300 wpm.
- 11th-grade students have 350 wpm.
- College students have 450 wpm.
- High-level executives have 575 wpm.
- College professors have 675 wpm.
- High-scoring college students have 800 wpm.
- Speed readers have 1500 wpm.
- World speed reading champion has 4700 wpm.
You can test your own reading speed through Staples or ReadingSoft to help you track your progress as you train yourself to read faster.
Perks of reading faster
Reading fast is not done just for the sake of finishing readings at one go, it is often implied to save time without compromising the amount of knowledge you acquire.
There are the chockful ways speed reading can benefit you, and they include the following:
- Saves you a lot of time
- Promotes memory growth and better comprehension
- Improves your concentration abilities
- Helps you remember things easily
- Increases your vocabulary
- Lets you answer questions/tests quickly
- Builds up your knowledge at a short time
Techniques to speed up your reading
To effectively increase your reading speed, you shall take into practice some techniques to successfully speed up your ability. Here are some of the best techniques you can try to double your reading speed:
1. Minimize subvocalization.
Subvocalization refers to the voice inside your head while you are reading. You might not be reading out loud, but there is always a voice up there that speaks for you. Although it’s hard to avoid, this slows down your reading. However, the eyes and the brain are enough to comprehend what you are reading.
2. Use skimming prior to reading everything.
Skimming is a reading technique that includes scanning the content quickly for important ideas so you won’t have to dwell on them when reading continuously. This lets you know the content you are about to read and it prepares your mind as you go on. A study has proven skimming to improve one’s comprehension and accelerate reading speed.
3. Know what the content brings you.
When you know what you will get out of reading something, you get psyched about reading it—resulting in faster and mindful reading. This lets you prime your mind to focus on the things you like. You will learn to go faster on details that do not excite you and slow down on the parts which you think are important.
4. Get a marker.
Reading gives you a tendency to slip through the paragraphs when you do not have any markers at hand. Try placing a pen or finger on the exact point where you are and move along as you continue reading. Not only this secures you at the right place, but it avoids your eyes to flit through the other areas—losing your focus.
5. Read in phrases.
Our eyes have the capacity to read multiple words at a time. In addition to avoiding subvocalization, reading through phrases lets you speed up without losing comprehension. It takes a lot of effort to master this technique, but you can start by looking at every fifth word at a time. Once you are familiar with the practice, you can advance to taking in more words for faster reading.
6. Put your peripheral vision into good use.
The previous techniques work together when you have properly used your peripheral vision. The peripheral vision lets you see the parts around the content without actually losing your focus at a specific point. This is a key factor in covering words as much as you can, so be wise with it.
7. Steer clear from distractions and focus.
Distractions disrupt your comprehension and slow you down your reading, so find a spot that induces comfort. Unwarranted noise, bothering smell, uncomfortable posture, or any sort of obstructions all contribute to a decreased concentration. Be sure to instill a peaceful mind prior to reading in order to read fast and retain information as much as you can.
8. Do not reread.
Sometimes, if you are not concentrated enough, you will fall into deep confusion and reread until you understand a certain statement. That’s a common pitfall for a slow-paced reader. In addition to concentration, you can avoid this through acceptance that you do not have to fully understand everything at the first statement. That is because as you go on, things will fall into place and start to make sense, then you’ll realize how much time you wasted on rereading some parts.
9. Improve your vocabulary.
Oftentimes, there are unfamiliar words thrown into readings, and these might cause others to stop and look them up somewhere. That’s a major slow down for a reader. If you want to be efficient in reading faster, you have to work on your vocabulary and familiarize yourself with complex words and jargon. Now, how do you improve your vocabulary? Well, you have to read more.
10. Set a goal and track yourself.
Sticking to a goal you have set will help you reach the doubled speed you’ve been wanting. You can gradually increase your target each week to avoid burnout. Remember to track your progress and monitor the things that need improvement, this way, you will be able to identify how soon you can attain your goal.
11. Employ personal techniques.
Speeding up your reading pace will always depend upon your choices and vulnerabilities. You could try everything written here, but some may not work, right? You can even try enrolling to a class to work on your reading speed and be successful at it. The decision is yours as long as it works for you.
12. Read up!
Read more and more readings! You won’t get better results if you do not make a move. It will take time for sure, but continuously reading will add up to your progress. After all, you want to increase your reading speed, so work hard for it.
In a nutshell, doubling your reading speed doesn’t just increase your efficiency, but it also allows you to learn more and improve your existing abilities. And to be able to do that, you shall exert an ample amount of effort to reach that goal.