If you’re in business for yourself, you know the importance of reading — from blogs to online articles to books. But how do you find the time? Speed reading is a great way to accomplish a lot in a shorter amount of time. How fast do you currently read? There are tons of websites to test your reading speed, as well as your comprehension (reading and not comprehending is a waste of time!). Just Google “speed reading tests”. Try it and get yourself a starting point.
And then practice these 10 tips to accelerate your reading habits! Then after a couple of weeks or months — depending on how often you practice — test yourself again.
1. Get your eyes checked. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had an eye exam, your eyesight could be deteriorating and you don’t even notice it. Have your eyes checked to ensure you’re operating at 100%!
2. Find a quiet place to read. Noises such as music, television and conversations are distracting.
3. Focus your eyes down the middle of the page. Ignore the left and right inches of the pages.
4. Push yourself to move through the material very quickly. If necessary, move your hand across the lines of the page in a swift, rhythmic pattern. Your eyes naturally follow movement.
5. Avoid re-reading words or phrases. This becomes a habit more often than not! If you find yourself doing this, take a piece of paper or index card and cover up the page as you read.
6. Normally more important information is in the first and last sentence of the paragraph. Spend your time there and then speed up through the middle.
7. Pay special attention to titles, headings, subheadings and anything that’s in bold, italics or underlined.
8. As you’re reading this, do you find yourself mentally saying the words you’re reading, or even moving your lips as you read? Stop it!! This is what slows you down tremendously. When you find yourself pronouncing words as you read, stop! Practice visualizing a word at the moment you see it, rather than confirming the word in your mind and then visualizing it. Focus on key words and skip over others, or you can try humming to yourself or counting “1, 2, 3, 4” repeatedly in order to prevent sub-vocalizing. Your mind is comprehending what you’re reading, even though you’re not sub-vocalizing the words.
9. Read blocks of words at one time. Most of us learned to read word-by-word or even letter-by-letter. But once you’ve learned to read and know the language, this is no longer necessary. Not every word is important and in order to read quickly, you’ll need to read groups of words instantaneously — maybe even whole sentences and short paragraphs. Again, use your hand as a guide.
10. Practice, practice, practice and pay attention to how you’re reading. Before you know it, with some effort, you’ll be zooming through those books!