Learn how to become a fast reader today!

The most coveted superpower for students is the ability to read a large amount of material within a short period. While some university programs focus on practice, a majority of them are theoretical. Which means that students must be able to read a wide range of materials.

Once, my Literature teacher said that a person who has read less than a hundred books cannot call themself educated. This goes on to say that reading and education are bedfellows. There are many brilliant people we may never get to interact with but whose books are widely available. If you want to be successful at work or school, it is important to learn how to become a fast reader.

Reading is a receptive skill through which we receive information. When we read, our eyes/fingertips (for visually impaired readers)  receive written symbols (letters, punctuations, and spaces). And our brain converts them into words, sentences, and paragraphs that communicate to us. To become a fast reader, you need to understand this process thoroughly.

Tips on How to Become A Fast Reader

Becoming a fast reader doesn’t have to come at the expense of missing important information. Practice our strategies below to become a fast reader while at the same time, understanding and remembering what you read.

Focus

Reading quickly with good comprehension requires focus. When you lose focus, you are more likely to re-read sentences instead of moving forward. In fact, many readers read a few sentences passively and without focus, then reread them to ensure they understand. This habit, known as ‘regression’, will significantly slow you down and make it difficult to get an overview of what you’re reading. If you approach a text carefully and attentively, you’ll quickly understand the information you’re consuming and you won’t have to re-read sections

To stay focused, reduce external noise, distractions, and interruptions, and be aware when your thoughts wander while reading. If you notice yourself fantasizing about your favorite celebrity instead of concentrating on your studies, gently pull yourself back.

Preview your learning material

Knowing the gist of a learning material can help you to read it within a short period. This is because it prepares you to quickly comprehend what you’re about to read. To preview a text, scan it from beginning to end, paying close attention to headings, subheadings, boldened or highlighted text, and bullet points. Also, skim the introductory and concluding paragraphs. Try to spot transition sentences, look over any images or graphs, and figure out how the author organized the text to get an overview of the material.

Use your peripheral vision

Peripheral vision, also known as indirect vision, is the side vision of the eye that allows a person to see objects around them without having to turn their head or move their eyes.
You can also use this type of vision to improve your reading speed. Most readers can scan in 1.5-inch chunks, which usually contain three to five words depending on the font size and type of text. Rather than reading each word individually, use your peripheral vision to scan the page, jumping from one chunk (of three to five words) to the next. And speed up at the start and end of each line, focusing on word blocks rather than the first and last words.

Practice with a timer

Before something can become a habit or skill, you need to do it repeatedly. Consequently, becoming a fast reader does not happen overnight, you need to practice, practice, practice! Pick a reading goal, set a timer on your smart device and practice till you reach that goal. Then, you can set another goal until you become a pro fast reader!

Summarize your learning material

Finally, once you’ve finished your fast reading session, make a few summary notes on your learning material and answer sample questions. Spending a few minutes after reading to analyze, synthesize, and write down what you’ve learned will help you memorize it. You can draw a summary mind map or tell someone what you learned if you are a visual or verbal learner.

Share your progress with us

Sharing your reading goals with others can be a great source of external motivation. You can share your fast reading progress in the comments section below to help yourself and other learners who are doing this exercise with you. If you require any special assistance, please contact us!

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