Tips on Speed Reading

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SKIM THE MATERIAL and pick out main ideas, not words. In every paragraph there is a topic sentence (a main idea). That one sentence is all you need when speed reading.

MENTALLY SKIP WORDS such as the, a, an, to. These are filler words that your eye can skim right over without losing the message of the text.

AVOID READING EVERY WORD. A speed reader would probably only read about three words of these two sentences.

COVER IT UP. Use a piece of paper to cover up words above what you are reading so you are not tempted to reread.

REMOVE TEMPTATION. Use a piece of paper to cover up words below what you are reading so you are not tempted to read ahead.

FOLLOW THE LINES WITH YOUR FINGER to keep your eyes moving through the text.

CHUNK WORDS TOGETHER. ‘See’ three to four words at once. This method is used when teaching young children how to read more efficiently.

USE TWO FINGERS TO ‘CHUNK’ WORDS TOGETHER. Tap each section with your fingers and ‘see’ the whole section, not the individual words.

SCAN THE ENTIRE AREA, letting your mind pick out the key words. This is another form of chunking; you train your eyes to pick out only the words you need to gain understanding.

DON’T PRONOUNCE WORDS to yourself as you read. Saying the words vocally slows down the speed reading process.

DON’T READ – train yourself to ‘see’ words without reading them. It only takes seeing a word approximately 20 times before the brain automatically recognizes the word without reading it.

DON’T HIGHLIGHT. Using any form of notetaking while speed reading will slow down the process. If you must highlight, only highlight key words as you encounter them, NOT entire phrases.

SKIP WORDS you don’t understand. More than likely you will still comprehend what you are reading without the big fancy words. From the context of the paragraph the general idea will present itself without you having to run for a dictionary every time you encounter an unfamiliar word.

DON’T REREAD. Resist the urge to constantly go back and reread the text. If it feels important, put a pencil mark next to it, and you can go back later if needed.

TIME YOURSELF. Challenge yourself to improve your speed reading. Keep a chart of the time for reading a particular piece. Do it once a day and see how much you improve over time.

CHECK UNDERSTANDING. Be sure you are comprehending the information. If you aren’t remembering what you read, then the technique isn’t working.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Speed reading becomes easier and easier with practice. Start practicing with things you enjoy reading, and then move on to more difficult texts.


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