Speed-Reading Techniques

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why Learn Speed-reading Techniques

Whether you don’t like to read a lot or whether you don’t have enough time to read speed-reading is one of the important skills that will make reading a completely painless task in addition to making it a less time-consuming one.

Speed-reading is based on a set of techniques that will help you read much more words in less time. After learning speed-reading some people even manage to read a whole book in one hour. Speed-reading will allow you to save time and effort so that you could invest them somewhere else.

Speed reading techniques

The following are speed reading techniques, note that in some cases you can’t apply all of the techniques together. For example, when studying for an exam you can't skim for important information as most of the information is probably relevant and important.

  • Find the important info: Before reading an article or a book you should first skim quickly through its titles or its chapters in order to recognize where the important information is. Many articles and books have useless introductions and additional pages that are just there to make it look bigger. Sometimes you can even skip whole chapters because they are not important.

    I once bought a best selling book then summarized each chapter into one line. I then wrote all the lines on a paper and discovered that the lines only made up one page! A whole book was only worth one page!! So if you were reading that book it would have been a great waste of time to read it word by word. It would have been far more efficient to just scan the book for the important ideas and ignore the rest.

  • Don't read just recognize: Speed readers don’t read words letter by letter the way normal people do but instead they recognize the word on the fly. Take the following phrase as an example: “Tom is planyig wiht the dog”. If you managed to read this successfully “tom is playing with the dog” then you are recognizing the words and not reading them simply because you managed to read the words even though the letters were incorrectly arranged.
  • Expand your span: After you have learned the concept of recognizing words instead of reading them, try to train yourself to recognize several words at a time. For example, when you read an article, try to read it two words by two words instead of one word by one word. Once you have learned how to read 2 words by 2 words move on to making them three by three and so on.
  • Don't reread: Don’t reread a line that you have not understood unless it was extremely important. Rereading lines wastes a lot of time and in many cases it won't increase your understanding of it.
  • Stop reading words out loud Reading the words out loud puts a speed limit on your reading since your mouth muscles are going to be the bottle neck for your reading speed. If you read only with your eyes and never used your mouth you'll end up reading a lot faster.
  • Plan ahead: As mentioned in the introduction, some techniques won't be suitable for certain reading material. Before starting to read something make sure to classify the type of information that it contains in order to figure out how you are going to read it. For example, reading a news paper article will be very different from reading an article in 2knowmyself: the news paper article may contain all its useful information in the title, whereas a 2knowmyself article will contain all its useful information in the body of the article. Knowing what are you going to read can help you decide how you are going to read it
  • Your mind has limited resources: reading, listening to music, and sitting in a noisy place are all actions that use up some of these resources. If you are doing all these things at the same time then your reading speed will certainly become slow.
  • Reduce; the time for eye rest. Reducing or even eliminating time spent resting in between lines or paragraphs can save you a lot of time and help you finish your book faster.
  • Use a pointer: It might be a good idea to use a pointer while reading. By moving the pointer and following it with your eyes while reading you will force yourself to read faster

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