Proper reading posture for speed reading

Proper Reading Posture for Speed Reading


Proper reading posture for speed reading

If you are one of our avid followers, you should already be familiar with the fundamental concepts and techniques involved with reading efficiently. But we all know that just because you know how to practice a skill, that doesn’t mean you won’t have the urge to fall back into old reading habits.

Likewise, if you plan on following up with all these techniques for long periods of time, you need to maintain an ideal posture to make reading a lot more fluid, effortless and comfortable. The ideal posture should stimulate your focus and concentration, and this, combined with the proper implementation of speed reading techniques, can reinforce the performance that your eyes are naturally capable of in order to achieve the best results.

5 Postures For Speed Reading

Leg Height

The way you sit in your chair while reading your book is more important than most people think. Your legs need to be placed correctly so that the blood circulation in your legs is not disrupted. Be mindful so that the edge of your chair does not cut off the blood supply to your legs, and place your thighs parallel to the floor with your feet supported comfortably against the floor.

Your Feet

Seating yourself in a relaxing posture is easier when your feet have a platform to lift up. Providing your feet with cushion gives your legs more height and keeps your blood circulation efficient. The position of your feet and legs determine how relaxed you feel, and this will also stimulate your concentration when you are reading.

Straight Back

Supporting your back is pertinent in maintaining your reading speed. Hunching forward can easily result in neck and back pain, especially if you’ve been repeating this bad habit over a long period of time. Keeping your back straight will improve your focus and concentration, and prevent you from being easily distracted.

Neutral Spine

Sit up straight with your neck even with your shoulders and your chin tucked down. The tailbone of your lower back should be comfortably placed against the back of your chair. If you find it difficult or uncomfortable to maintain a neutral spine, you can improve your body positioning by frequently stretching your neck, shoulders, back and hips. It’s all connected!

Eye Contact

Instead of slouching forward and bringing your head closer to the book, bring the book closer to your eyes. This will help keep your back straight and your spine neutral – from the tail bone up through the neck. Your elbows can be supported with pillows or some other type of cushioning to keep yourself comfortable while reading for an extended period of time.

Bonus Tip: Frequent Breaks

Frequent breaks improve your mental agility. Practice the Pomodoro Technique while reading (also known as the 25/5 Rule). This means read for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break (repeat as necessary).

Hold yourself accountable by utilizing a timer and forcing yourself to 25 minutes of productivity, followed by 5 minutes to take the load off your mind. Mastering this technique will make your life a lot more productive.

As I’m writing this I’m sitting on my desk maintaining proper posture as I’m reading this book:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Speed Reading Posture

And yes, sometimes I too catch myself forgetting to maintain good reading posture, but when I keep proper posture, I can maintain my reading speed for longer periods of time without feeling pain in my back or stress on my neck.

In other words, do not replicate the posture of the adorable bear in the picture above this post. That was just meant to make you go “awwwww… bear” and get your attention. ;-)


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Paul Nowak

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.


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