Training Yourself to Speed Read: A Simple Exercise
Here is a simple speed reading exercise you can do start training yourself to become a speed reader.
Take a book you have already read in the past and start reading it again. I recommend one that is actually worth reading a second time. The point of doing this is to get yourself used to reading at a quicker pace. Because you already read the material once in the past, it’ll be easier to go through faster this time and you’ll easily read at a faster speed. As you are doing this you are actually conditioning your brain to keep up with words at a faster pace.
One thing you may notice while reading material you already read before is that you eyes will start grabbing groups of words, rather than fixating on a word by word basis (most people read this way). This is because you’re already familiar with the material and your brain will want to process information faster befause it knows what to expect. The more you do this, the easier it is to condition your brain and eyes to look for groups of words and phrases, rather than just words by themselves. Fixation is a reading habit that we need to change if we are going to start reading faster.
Reading material you read in the past will also help you learn to prioritize while reading. We all know that some parts of a chapter are more important than others. So it’s important to anticipate which parts of our reading are more important to us. If you’ve read the material before you’ll easily be able to do this. But by practicing this in previously read material, you are still conditioning your brain to do something similar in material that is new.
Aside from conditioning yourself to getting used to reading faster, reading something you have previously has other benefits. For example, there are some types of technical material that need to be read more than once to really understand the information. Some novels are more enjoyable the second time around when you already know what will happen in the story. Informational material can be read again to reinforce ideas that were gathered before. Re-reading something for repetition helps you learn it better and also trains you to start reading faster in other types of new material that you haven’t read. Try to set aside a certain amount of time each day, maybe 15 minutes, to reading material that you have already read previously. This will help you learn better and it will help you read faster.
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.