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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

How can I learn to read faster?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16558points) August 31st, 2010

When I am reading I generally read at the pace of the thoughts I am focussing on in my mind, which is a bit faster than the pace I type at. Sometimes I get bored while I am reading though, as if the thoughts in the text aren’t coming fast enough. How can I learn to read faster, so I can give less attention to the less interesting parts of the text, while not skipping it altogether?

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16 Answers

amazonstorm's avatar

What I do is simply highlight the main parts in my head and give those special details. I also tend to more or less, skim the text, paying attention to certain things.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me.

Austinlad's avatar

Perhaps you should try an e-reader. Might change the way you see and therefore read words.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Think faster.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@amazonstorm Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.
@Austinlad A lot of my reading is already from my computer screen on Google Books. Would there be any difference between that and an e-reader?
@Ben_Dover Er, ok. How would I manage that?

GeorgeGee's avatar

The basics of the Evelyn Wood speed reading method (which is well proven) is to move your finger across the page as you read. It’s easier to move your finger at a predictable speed and your eyes will follow. Just reading with your eyes, your eyes may wander. Just by doing this many people double their reading speed. There are more advanced techniques to read even faster.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@GeorgeGee Thanks, I’ll try that.

phoebusg's avatar

I’ve been looking for the holy grail of speed reading myself. Some methods – as I recall – talk about dividing the page up, humming to yourself or something to not let yourself read out loud (slows things down). So for every fixation on a line, you should get as much of the surrounding text visually. Using something to help your eyes fixate sounds like a good idea as per @GeorgeGee – then divide the line and use something thin, like an easy pointer – so that you don’t cover up text. Keep on reading and practice. If you discover anything else, please post—or other ideas :)

Austinlad's avatar

Yes, @FireMadeFlesh, I think an e-reader would be very different experience. For one thing, you could hold the reading material in your hand, like a book, which might be more comfortable for you. Also, the screen uses e-ink technology rather than LCD—it’s more like a book. Why don’t you go to Best Buy if you have one and check out the Sony Reader. The price has dropped tremendously.

NaturallyMe's avatar

There are actually books (and maybe courses?) on learning you how to read faster, it’s called speed reading (or something similar). My dad did it, but i have no idea how he learnt it (it was a few years ago) and me and you are probably not in the same country anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Anyhow, i think if you google it, you should find books that teach you how to speed read (or just read faster, and doesn’t necessarily have to be speed reading).

OptimalMoose's avatar

The easiest way would be to get an angry asian man with a revolver standing behind you yelling “DI DI MAU”. But mostly, speed reading is lightly skimming through for pertinent information/areas of interest.

silverfly's avatar

Perhaps you shouldn’t try to pursue reading faster at all.

Keep in mind that reading faster is not always the best scenario. Some things are not meant to be read quickly. You need to give the material the proper attention and time that it deserves / demands.

Arp's avatar

I have brought my reading speed quite a bit higher than it used to be through use of this app:

Basically, type in the text you want to practice in, set the speed, and start it. Most people, before practicing, can read from 300 to 500 wpm, so set your goal just a bit higher than that at first. It will start out irritating, but eventually the increased speed will make reading a bit more enjoyable (and you can beat all your friends when they are reading the same book) ;)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I learned to speed read in high school using a specially designed projector. It flashed one line after the other of a story. It forced me to learn to read groups of words instead of individual ones.

Start with a newspaper, and draw 2 imaginary lines down the column of print. Let your eyes focus on the lines one after the other. Try to use your peripheral vision to take in the words surrounding the lines. This is a long process, but it worked for me.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Thanks everyone for your answers.

@silverfly That is a very good point. I don’t want to lose any comprehension from reading faster.

Nicole8's avatar

1. If you are an average reader, you can increase your reading speed fifty per cent or more by applying a few scientific principles and shortcuts. But you may ask, if I read faster won’t I get less out of what I read? Not at all. You will increase your power of concentration and thus understand and remember better than you do now.

Here is the technique in a nutshell:

1. Force yourself to read faster, even though at first you miss some of the meaning. Check your reading time per page for light, average and serious reading. Try to cut it down.

2. Read a group of words with a glance, instead of an individual word. You can absorb the phrase, “Jack kissed her” in one glance. Slow readers use three glances unnecessarily. Increase your eye span to the greatest limit possible for you, without strain. (People vary inherently in this capacity. Some geniuses learn to read an entire line or more at a time.)

3. Skim whenever it’s practical. Don’t feel guilty about skipping unimportant words.

4. Adjust your reading technique to the type of book. If it’s light fiction, just breeze through as long as you get the plot. If it’s average non-fiction, collect the facts and don’t bother with unimportant phrases. However, if it is a book of literary worth, you will have to read more slowly to get the full pleasure and impact of its style and content.

5. Don’t fidget. Such nervous habits reduce your power of concentration.

6. Last but not least, keep building your vocabulary. The more words that you understand completely and instantaneously, the faster you will read.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m a slow reader and always have been. I pay attention to every word (and it isn’t because I’m failing to take in whole words and phrases at a glance or failing to comprehend the vocabulary; rather, I’m reaping the full effects of the author’s efforts to choose just the right words). When I’m reading for pleasure, I want what I read to be worth that level of attention, and I don’t read it if it isn’t.

When I’m reading for information or to learn content, I need time to absorb, so it would be a waste to rush; too little would stick. But I do also pay attention to what’s called “advance organizers”—introductory paragraphs, descriptive headings, etc., that help you anticipate what’s coming and set a framework for it. That way new information has a place to go in your mental filing system. Anything that’s outside the topics covered in introductory matter is probably less important and you can afford to pass over it lightly.

I also read with both a pencil and a highlighter to help me think about, grasp, retain, and review key ideas.

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