That might seem obvious – of course speed reading is reading very quickly! But most people don’t know that there’s a simple way to go from being a slow reader to a lightning fast speed-reader: just force yourself to start reading faster. There are different approaches people take when it comes to learning how to speed read, but one rule is common to them all. When you accelerate your reading speed—even if you don’t actually know yet how to speed read—that’s a foolproof technique to get yourself used to the habit of speed reading.
Fact: You read slower than you actually can
People tend to read at a much slower pace than they actually can. You rarely read as fast as your potential allows, either because you think you need to read slowly to get all the information, or just don’t think about the fact that you’re reading slowly. It’s easy to get used to a slow, comfortable pace of reading, but it’s something that eats away at your free time.
Starting to read at a faster pace, right now, without any other speed reading techniques, might feel uncomfortable and counterproductive. And it’s true that at first your comprehension of the text will most likely get compromised. However, you’re also achieving something important: you’re pushing your brain into a much more efficient reading speed, forcing it to process information as fast as you want it to.
The key here is to realize that you define the reading pace, your brain just follows. Choose a faster pace and see how obediently your brain will follow.
Forcing your mind to adjust to new, efficient reading speeds
When you speed read you force your mind to increase its focus on the reading material, rather than letting your mind wander. In a way, this means you broaden your comprehension, allowing yourself to absorb knowledge much faster than usual.
It does sound like a waste of time, forcing yourself to speed read when you still haven’t completely mastered the art of speed reading, but in fact this is a well known way to get into the habit of speed reading quickly.
You might be accustomed to reading slowly, especially if you’re reading a mystery story or interesting novel, but there are non-fiction texts that can be speed read without decreasing your reading comprehension percentage. Texts such as articles, blog posts, data reports and so on don’t usually need slow, thoughtful reading, but rather smart, selective speed reading.
You can easily apply these tricks to your next reading product as you need no preparation and no other props.
- Choose a non-fiction text. Start reading at a pace that seems too fast, where you feel as if the speed doesn’t really allow you to understand much of the text.
- Be persistent. It seems ridiculous and useless at first, but it works. Read two pages and then slow down a bit to give your brain some rest. Read a whole page at your usual speed, then start speed reading again for one or two more pages.
- Be patient. Yes, you won’t get much information at first and everything will be blurry and incomprehensible when you’re reading at top speed. But your goal here is not to all of a sudden understand everything you speed read but to acquire the habit of speed reading.
- Once speed reading comes naturally, then it’s time to apply other helpful speed reading techniques. Using a pen or a finger to guide your eyes through your reading, read in chunks rather than word by word, and resist the urge to re-read text.
- Remember, speed reading is a skill you need to be dedicated and willing to master. By being persistent and focused you will soon learn to speed read.
What’s one foolproof trick you’ve used to learn to speed read?