The world today is not what it was 50 or 100 years ago. Everything moves very fast: flows of information, goods, ideas, etc. And in this environment, it is extremely important for a person to learn to act quickly as well. And in order to act quickly, one must learn to absorb information quickly.
Many people today wonder, “How can I read faster and remember more?” The first thing that comes to mind is mastering speed reading (a.k.a. “dynamic reading,” “fast reading” or “super reading”).
Everyone can read faster and remember more. But how can you do it? We tell you.
How to master the technique of fast reading?
Most people think that reading quickly is difficult, but in fact it is a skill that anyone can master. All you need to do is use the right set of exercises and tools to master it. With a little practice, you’ll realize how easy it is to read dozens of pages in a few minutes. In this article, we’ll look at fast reading techniques.
When it comes to reading speed, the two most important tools are your eyes and your mind. Your eyes see the words, and your mind processes them.
To speed reading, you must pay attention to what your eyes are doing as you read. Your eyes must move from left to right to read a sentence. This one is clear to everyone, but most people, miss the fact that you can move your eyes across the page faster. This will train the muscle that controls the eyeballs.
So, the first step to reading fast is to realize that by training our eyes to scan the lines, our eyes become increasingly trained to read quickly. That’s the foundation.
With that in mind, the challenge is to create a few useful skills that will allow us to develop speed reading quickly and effortlessly. Once this is done, the rest is a breeze.
8 Ways to Learn to Read Faster and Memorize More
1. Learn to read without subvocalization
Welcome to the most difficult habit that inhibits our speed-reading development.
When reading, we are limited by the time it takes the mind to say the words. We don’t say them out loud, but we repeat them “to ourselves”: this is called “subvocalization”. When we say the words, it takes a certain amount of time. However, we don’t have to do that. We can simply “absorb” them.
Unfortunately, the habit of muttering the text while reading is so deeply ingrained in our subconscious that the idea of breaking free from it seems impossible.
The trick is to highlight any word on the page (at least in this text) and look at it in complete silence. The subvocalization won’t go away right away, but by looking at the words without wanting to say them, a new habit will begin to form on its own.
A great tip for defeating subvocalization is to look at the words and think about them without having to say them. This part may seem unclear or abstract at first, but it is perfectly normal. All you need now is to look at the words without wanting to hear what they sound like.
After a little practice (perhaps a few hundred words), you will begin to notice the difference between “absorbing” words and subvocalizing. Once that’s done, you’ll break down the biggest barrier between you and speed-reading.
2. Determine your current baseline
Another important element of speed-reading is the ability to recognize one’s own rate of growth.
The cardinal rule: You can only progress from your level.
A good resource for tracking your speed-reading results: MIF Publishing. By taking tests here regularly, you’ll see your results improve, and this will provide the motivation you need to keep going.
Whereas the average person needs 3 to 5 minutes per page, a “fast reader” needs no more than 1 minute. This means that someone who is a fast reader will complete a 200 page book in 200 minutes and someone who reads slowly in 1,000 minutes. The difference is 13 hours!
However, reading faster and remembering more is not easy. Obstacles will come your way, but fortunately, most of them are easy to deal with.
3. Use your forefinger
Using your finger to direct your gaze while reading is inherent in children who are just learning to read. However, this trick comes in handy when teaching speed reading.
The main goal is to move your finger at a steady pace. You should not stop or slow it down. Your finger should glide from the beginning of the line to the end at a steady pace. As you practice this method, you’ll notice that you’ll become less stuck and confused.
You have to learn to think of speed-reading as a marathon, not a race.
When you just try to move your gaze quickly over a line, you can’t keep your reading flowing because you reach your speed-reading limit and start skipping words. This leads to backtracking, and backtracking leads to confusion.
If you get confused twice per page, it can easily add 30 seconds to each page or 100 minutes to a 200-page book. That’s an extra hour and a half wasted.
The exception is when an epiphany hits you or you’re confused, but that’s a natural part of reading.
4. Focus on control
As you move through the text, you will find that some sections are filled with useful information and difficult to read quickly.
This is natural, and a smooth transition from difficult to easy material is a measure of control. Remember, speed is not the only part of speed-reading; understanding what is written is just as important.
Let’s take two books to illustrate this point:
- The first book will be a thick, boring history textbook. If we need to find specific dates or names in the book, we can scan the text and look for the information we want. If we need to find out the significance of any events, then we need to study the material more carefully;
- The second book is a fiction novel. Let it be a quirky story about a family trapped in the mountains, an adventure in which they try to find their way home.
Since our brain enjoys the second book, there is no reason to control the reading process, even if we don’t grasp the details of the story. But when we don’t particularly enjoy what we’re reading (a history textbook), control is mandatory, we need to keep what we read earlier in mind so that we don’t lose the meaning of the text.
In this light, reading speed has different meanings for different books. For the first case, special attention to control; for the second, speed.
Beginners make the mistake of assuming that speed reading is all about speed. In the first place, it is reading.
5. Move your eyes less
Think about how your eyes move as you read.
It is difficult for the average person’s gaze to move in one line without going backward. If you pay attention to the movements of your gaze while reading, you’ll notice how often you move backward, then forward, then backward again. This method adds hours to reading a book.
By controlling your gaze and complementing this with light head movements, you can maneuver comfortably around the page at very high speeds.
Here’s an example of a great speed-reading exercises that you don’t even need a book for:
- Be sure to look forward. Your head should move and your gaze should be still;
- Repeat the exercise, but allow your gaze to move as well. It should be directed straight ahead (perpendicular to the forehead), no need to look to the left or right;
- Finally, keep your head straight and move your gaze horizontally to the right and left.
By doing these exercises, you will prepare your eyes for speed reading. Here’s what we have:
- Head movements, gaze at one point in front of you;
- Head movements, gaze always straight;
- Gaze movement horizontally, still head.
Keeping your gaze at one point, as in the first exercise, helps you focus on the one word or phrase you want to focus on. Moving your gaze following your head, as in the second exercise, helps to create a relaxed and fluid movement as you move from line to line or from page to page. Moving your eyes independently, as in the third exercise, is the basis for reading the lines themselves.
6. Skip the unimportant words
Not all of the words in the text carry meaning. There are many small, incomprehensible words that don’t help with comprehension, and trying to force yourself to read them can only be detrimental.
If we go back to the fact that an extra 30 seconds per page can slow down reading a book by many hours, imagine what can be accomplished if we eliminate all “if,” “is,” “to,” “the” and other small but insignificant words.
The beauty is that omitting such words does not affect anything. Train yourself to skip the little words, let your gaze travel over them. Over time, your brain will become accustomed to skipping them automatically, and you’ll be able to scan texts by skipping a significant portion of the insignificance.
7. Use the software
Good tools for quick reading are mobile apps. There are several options to choose from, and most of them provide excellent functionality.
Here are some of them:
- Spreeder (https://www.spreeder.com). This tool allows you to paste text into a simple editor. The app then turns whatever you paste into a structure, allowing you to choose exactly what you would like to read. It’s the perfect choice for those who want to get great value without spending a dime;
- Spritz (https://spritz.com). This app highlights one letter in the center of each word so your eyes follow the words as they flash across the screen at high speed. The app allows you to understand texts even at 700 words per minute!
8. Practice all the time
By this point, you already understand the foundation required for fast reading. However, to master this precious skill, you’ll need to get used to scanning text. It will be difficult at first, but it will inevitably become easier after a few days.
It may seem like reading faster and remembering more is a very difficult skill to master, but it’s not. It’s just a few key concepts and a lot of practice. That’s what the speed-reading system is all about.
Fast-reading. Myths and Truth
Like any sought-after field of knowledge, speed-reading is littered with myths and speculation. Let’s try to dispel some of them.
|To enter the state of speed-reading it is necessary to have a wide angle of vision, so that in one fixation of a glance to cover as much text as possible.||The more familiar the text is to the reader, the wider the angle of view. In this case, even the untrained reader perceives the text as a single picture. If the text is not familiar, the focus of vision is narrower. An unfamiliar word must be spelled.|
|A slow reader reads the same phrase several times, and this significantly reduces the speed of reading.||The method of reading by the method “read only forward” is applicable only for locating the necessary information, and after that the text should be carefully read and maybe reread.|
|A fast reader must use a differential and integral reading algorithm and process incoming information in a special way.||We read to solve one quandary, not to remember the publisher, imprint, and publication date. The average reader simply doesn’t need that. Alas, the integral speed-reading algorithm does not increase reading speed, but slows it down.|
|A fast reader must read without internal or external spelling of the text||Reading is a speech activity. Important information must be read carefully (spoken in an inner voice) until it is clear how the knowledge gained can be applied in practice.|
|Speed reading is hindered by “backward movements” of the eyes||The purpose of reading is not to rush, but to find important information, to read, to feel, to experience, to relate to previously received information.|
There is a paradox here: the reader needs to spell out the complex text, while on the other hand, the simple text is perceived by the hieroglyphic picture. The reader constantly adapts the speed of reading to the demands of the text. So how to solve this problem?
1. Change the reading speed constantly
While reading, you should constantly change the speed of reading. Familiar information should be read quickly. Important information should be read very carefully and slowly.
2. Use your imagination
One of the necessary skills in the area of increasing reading speed is a well-developed imagination. Imagination makes it possible to imagine the results of reading. Imagination is also necessary to find additional sources of information.
As the saying goes, in order to get a good solution, you have to bring the whole world into the realm of consideration. Warming the imagination can be done by solving druidles and creative problems.
3. Visualize the result of reading
Before reading, ask the question of how you can get information without reading. I, for example, imagine little figures running toward me and carrying carts with important information. As a rule, after such a simple exercise, alternative ways of getting information are immediately found (e.g., calling a friend).
It is impossible to read quickly without a clear statement of purpose. Not only that, but the goal should be formulated correctly.
|Incorrect goal||The right goal|
|Read the book as quickly as possible!||Search the book for information that is important to you. Read important texts slowly, with thought, feeling, and consideration. Haste is not appropriate.|
|Learn the essence of the book||Do not read everything that comes to hand, but only what leads to your goal. Think about what you need now in order to solve the difficulty.|
|Read as many books as possible||Read only important books. Important information can be found in textbooks, reference books, books by geniuses and classics, and in the actions of more successful people.|