How To Read Faster, But Also Remember More Useful Information From Your Reading?
The average speed of reading is 1500 characters per minute. High-speed reading means reading 5000 characters. And if a person reads more than 10,000 characters per minute, they have an ultra-fast reading speed.
But is it possible to learn to read so fast? The answer is yes, and this article will explain how to do that.
Old, But Gold
The techniques of fast reading have been known since the Middle Ages. Through the centuries, many great people developed their fast reading techniques independently. For example, Honore de Balzac described his reading technique as follows: “The gaze covered 7-8 lines at once, and the mind grasped the meaning at speed corresponding to the speed of the eyes. Often a single word made it possible to learn the meaning of a whole phrase.”
There is an opinion that he singled out the main thing while reading and discarded everything unnecessary. In half an hour, Balzac managed to read an average novel.
Theodore Roosevelt was called the world leader who read the most. He mastered his own technique of speed reading with incredible fanaticism. Thanks to it, Roosevelt read voraciously: one book before breakfast and two in the evening. It is said that Roosevelt could cover an entire paragraph with one glance and read two or three pages in one minute. On top of that, he remembered what he read very well: he remembered details and cited quotes.
Roosevelt's way of speed reading was so unique that it is called Theodore Roosevelt's speed reading technique and is used even in modern days. Its main principles are the following:
#1. Stop moving your lips during the reading of the text
We develop this habit in childhood when we learn to read and pronounce each word out loud. Moreover, some people move their lips while reading, as in childhood. Imaginary pronunciation of words is called subvocalisation.
Subvocalisation slows down reading because its speed is equal to the speed of ordinary speech. You can get rid of the mental pronunciation of each word if you divert your attention from the sound recognition of the word, switching to its identification by the visual image. If you are reading about the house — imagine this house. You need to disconnect from the pronunciation and increase the reading pace.
If it doesn't work, you can mentally start to pronounce the vowels “a-e-i-o-u” to yourself while reading. This will help you learn to read with your eyes instead of your mouth and increase your reading speed.
#2. Do not return to what you have read
Many people habitually re-read the same line or words they have already read; they do it unconsciously. You can get rid of this habit with the help of a pencil or a finger, which you should move along the lines without stopping. Then the eyes will follow the pencil, which will not allow you to return to the already-read sentences. Moreover, you need to drive with move pencil or finger faster than you read. You might ditch the pencil when you master speed reading, but many people actually use their finger when reading all the time.
#3. Cover a group of words with your eyes, and do not read from one to another
You can develop such a skill with the help of peripheral vision training. To do this, you need to divide the page into three parts with two parallel lines with a distance of about 7 cm between the lines.
Then, while reading, look strictly at the words between the lines (central column) and try to catch the text outside these lines with your peripheral vision. For example, you can train on newspapers or magazines, where the text consists of columns with a width of 5 cm.
#4. Reading diagonally
When reading, the eyes are led diagonally from the end of the first to the beginning of the third line, etc. Gradually, the intervals between the points of the diagonal increase, for example, up to 5 lines. At the same time, you cannot pronounce words mentally.
#5. Browsing, or superficial reading
Any text contains keywords that express its essence. You need to focus on them, and the entire text can be skimmed over. You can dwell on serious thoughts and descriptions in more detail and skip empty formalisations and flaff.
Sneak peek of the content will make the task easier: it will help determine what is being discussed and allow better navigation in the text.
More Exercises For The Development Of Speed Reading Skills
You can master speed reading techniques at special courses or learn how to increase reading speed on your own.
So, to learn to speed read, you need to do special exercises every day for 30-40 minutes during the 21 days. Psychologists believe this is the exact amount of time to get rid of an old habit and implement a new one.
The “green dot” method
This method allows you to learn to perceive information in the peripheral vision field. Imagine a green dot in the centre of the book page and concentrate your attention on it for 10 minutes.
After getting used to concentrating on the green dot for two weeks, begin to consider the text located horizontally and vertically from the dot. Try to catch as many words as possible — you don't need to read them, just see them.
Exercises with a green dot can complement classes with Schulte tables, designed specifically for improving peripheral vision.
Working with Schulte tables
Schulte table is a field divided into 25 squares: five horizontally and five vertically. Each square contains a number from 1 to 25 in random order. Your task is to find all the numbers sequentially in ascending order or vice versa while looking exclusively at the central square.
The Schulte table can be printed on paper, but today there are dynamic online generators and phone applications, including those with a built-in timer.
Read upside down
Exercises in reading a book turned upside down allow you to increase your reading speed. First, read a paragraph in an upside-down book, then return it to its normal position and reread it. You will immediately feel how easily and quickly you can do it!
The tick-tock method
While reading, only look at the beginning and end of the line, not every word, as in regular reading. This will be enough to understand the content of what is read, and the speed of reading will increase significantly.
Concentration Of Attention
Reading fast requires a high concentration of attention. There are several exercises to develop it and avoid reading texts superficially. For example, you can use a sheet with the names of the colours printed in a coloured font but in a confusing way. The word “yellow” will be written in red letters, and the word “red” will be written in blue letters... For training, you need to name the colour, not the word on the sheet; at first, it is pretty tricky to do it.
For another exercise, you will only need a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Focus on some subject and avoid distraction from it by extraneous thoughts for two or three minutes. Making a mark on the sheet is necessary each time irrelevant thoughts arise. Over time, such marks should decrease, and eventually, they will disappear completely.
Useful Online Resources
- Spreeder. It is enough just to load the selected text into it and independently set the required number and speed of appearance of words. This program will help you eliminate the habit of pronouncing words, return to what you have read, and train your brain to perceive several words simultaneously.
- Best Reader. Educational program helping to cope with regression is based on the dynamic selection of parts of the text on the page in black. It is easier for human eyes to make an orderly movement by observing something, and this feature allows you to focus your gaze on the desired fragments better.
- Spritz. For training here, only one line is used, on which words with a highlighted red letter inside appear at different speeds. In this way, you can learn to perceive words without reading them from beginning to end, but all at once. This allows you to save up to 80% of the time usually spent on eye movements and increase the reading speed to 500-1000 words per minute. English, German, Spanish and French reading languages are available.
- ReadMe! is a mobile application that allows you to save and synchronise your preferred e-books on your iOS or Android devices. One of its unique features is its integration with two advanced speed reading tools, Spritz and BeeLine Reader. BeeLine Reader is a revolutionary tool that helps enhance reading speed and reduce eyestrain by using a colour-coded system. With BeeLine Reader, every line of text is assigned a colour gradient that smoothly guides the reader's eyes from the end of one line to the start of the next. This feature is proven to help people read faster and more efficiently.