Everyone wishes to have some superpower or the other, be it the ability to fly, to be invisible, to throw thunderbolts with their bare hands etc. But, have you ever wondered which ability would be the most useful for students? It would definitely be the ability to read faster! Not everyone is born with a fast reading ability, which would make studying and giving entrance exams so much easier than it is. But, who says that you cannot learn and inculcate this skill? Reading faster can easily be achieved with some basic changes to your current reading method, and adopting some useful tips to make sure that the time you waste in reading can be reduced and your reading speed can be increased. We are sure we got you eager to read these tips. So, are you ready to improve your reading speed? Read on:
Train yourself to read fast
1. Scan through the text
One of the most useful tips to start reading faster is to always start by previewing or scanning through the text first. When you need to solve say, a reading comprehension question, your first course of action should be to glance through the text, and try to gauge what the text is dealing with. This introduces you to the text, and gives a good idea about what the text deals with. When you have an idea about the text and what it entails, it gets easier for you to read it and understand it, than approaching it directly without skimming through it.
2. Avoid Subvocalization
This is one of the biggest culprits which makes your reading much more time consuming that you would like it to be. Subvocalizing is a conscious or subconscious activity which one undertakes while reading where one speaks the words of the text to themselves or inside their heads. Doing so, not only makes you take much longer time in reading but is also prone to cause comprehension issues as you read on. Since the brain is dividing the time in reading it, and saying the words as you see them, there is less understanding and more time wastage.
Pro Tip: Subvocalizing is deeply ingrained in our minds since childhood as we were asked to read out loud by our parents and teachers alike. To avoid doing this while you read, try putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This will prevent you from speaking and also actively distract your mind from reading out the words.
3. Read chunks and not words
It is noticed that when one reads, they try reading each and every word to understand and make sense of what a sentence says. However, it is important to realise that a sentence, and the text as a whole contains different types of words like nouns, connecters, prepositions, etc. To read faster, you need to look for chunks of information and not go through each and every word to understand what the text deals with. For example, look at this sentence:
‘Reema gifted a soft and velvety dress to her friend as a birthday gift’
Now, you need not read every word in the sentence, you can simply look for the important words like, ‘Reema-gifted-dress-friend’. By doing this you can fairly understand what is being talked about in the sentence while not wasting additional time in reading through every word.
4. Take regular Reading speed tests
To understand your issues better, you need to see where you lack. The best way to see if you have a decent reading speed or not is to take regular reading speed tests. After every alternative day, you should take free online reading speed tests like this which provide you with texts that you can read at your speed and check at the end of such tests how much your speed is. An average person is said to read anywhere between 200-300 words in a minute. If you want to improve on your speed, try to give as many reading speed tests as you can.
5. Have a good reading environment
This goes without saying but you need to have a good reading ambience and environment to fully understand the text and read in an efficient manner. If you sit in a place which is full of noises and all sorts of distraction, you are bound to lose concentration and hence have a lower reading speed than normal. Therefore, always try to sit in a quiet place which will increase your focus, and hence your reading speed.
6. Start with easy reading
For someone who wishes to improve their reading speed, they should always start by reading simple and short texts. When you start with small texts, you will easily read through fast. This not only increases your interest in reading but always prepares your mind to take on bigger texts as well. You should always start your practice by reading small texts which are easily readable and understandable by you and not jump into longer texts directly.
7. Avoid regression
Regression is the conscious or subconscious urge to reread words and sentences for a variety of reasons like losing the sentence you were at, lack of comprehension of the text, losing context, less concentration,etc. When you keep going back to the same text again and again, you waste a lot of your precious time which holds so much value both during preparation and exams. To avoid such a scenario, always try to read with full concentration so that you grasp the meaning at one go and don’t need to go back again and again.
Pro Tip: If you suffer from getting lost while reading and lose the sentence you were at, you can always use a pen, pencil, your finger or even the cursor of the mouse to track where you are at. If you move your finger or pen, etc while reading, it forces your brain to catch up with the pace of the pointer and read faster.
8. Have full concentration
Reading is an activity which requires you to be actively present and not passive.If you consider reading as a chore than an interesting activity, you are bound to get distracted by various external and internal factors. If you want to get good at reading and having a better speed, try to see reading as a fun activity. If you develop curiosity and interest in the text while reading, you are bound to understand it better and hence read faster than when you read out of obligation.
9. Practice everyday
Nothing comes without practice. To be a good and fast reader, you need to practice reading everyday to get into a good habit of reading. You don’t need to read complex texts to improve your reading skills, you can also start by reading newspapers, poems, short-stories, online articles, etc. If you need an added guidance on improving your skills, you can also take help of numerous online materials, videos, as well as use trusted sites such as this.
10. Prepare your brain
Lastly and most importantly, you need to prepare your brain to read efficiently and in a speedy manner. This requires training your mind by regularly reading texts, be it small or big, for longer periods of time. This will train your brain to keep its focus on reading materials for a longer time. It puts your mind into the rhythm of reading with attention, which in turn is a good way to ensure that your reading speed is better than what it used to be.
Reading is an important activity which everyone has to undertake at all stages of life. Not only does one need to inculcate a good reading habit but also a good reading speed which helps them to do certain tasks faster. We hope the above article helps you improve your reading skills and read through texts and exams like a pro!
Now that you will read like a fast reading-rabbit, let’s take a look at a super-awesome Bottom-Up Technique for attempting reading comprehension questions to make sure you ace the exam!