How to Speed Read a Magazine
Let’s start with this basic assumption: You can read something faster if you are familiar with it. Most people would agree with this statement. The problem is that most of the material you read is not familiar to you, which is obviously one of the reasons why you would want to read it.
So the idea here is to somehow get familiar with the material before actually reading it. Before you start reading anything in a magazine you want to examine the table of contents and determine what needs to be read. Think of this as warming up before you read, just like you would before you exercise. Then, begin by following these steps:
Step #1 – Read the First and Last Paragraph
In well written material, the first paragraph is usually an introduction to what you are about to read in the article. Similarly, the last paragraph should summarize the article. So if we read the first and last paragraph we should, at the very least, come away with a strong sense of what the main idea in the article is.
Step #2 – Read the First Sentence of Every Paragraph
Do this to familiarize yourself with the main ideas in an article. Since most well written paragraphs are structured with the main idea as the first sentence, we can read the first sentence of every paragraph in the article and come away with a lot of information about the article before even reading it.
Step #3 – Read the Entire Article
Think about the last two steps you did. You read the first and last paragraph, and then the first sentence of every paragraph. At this point, you should have a pretty strong idea of what this article is going to be about. The only thing you’re missing are the details, which you will now get as you read the entire article.
At this point we should be familiar with what we are about to read. So we should be able to approach it more confidently while reading it faster.
If you are resistant to the idea of reading at a higher speed, it could be because you are worried you may miss something. Try to fight that urge and force yourself to go a little faster than you normally would through the material. You’ll find that this exercise can help you feel more comfortable with the material and as a result you’ll be able to digest information more efficiently.
Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading courses in North America. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.