Being able to read quickly is an extremely valuable asset because reading is something that everyone does throughout the day. Being able to read assignments and other such things quickly can increase your efficiency and productivity. Also, for students, it can be tremendously helpful because on standardized tests like the SAT, it can give you more time to answer questions and spend less time stumbling over words. However, it’s important to remember not to forsake reading accuracy for the sake of reading fast. It’s important to make sure that you understand the passage or reading before you move on to increasing your pace.
Some people are naturally gifted readers, and are able to comprehend while reading at a fast pace. An additional factor to their ability is the fact that they most likely read books extensively, especially while younger. The adage “practice makes perfect” is always applicable, but it holds especially true in the topic of reading. As you read more and more, you’ll find that you get caught on words much less frequently, and you understand passages without needing to reread. Another large aspect of this is becoming familiar with words. As you become more familiar with words from seeing them frequently, you will read them faster as well. There are also other ways to increase your reading speed and many books have been devoted to establishing new ways to increase reading speed. Some of the most common ways are listed below:
1. Don’t feel the need to read each and every word. Inexperienced readers often feel that they need to enunciate each word in their mind as they read and then move on, one by one. If you are reading for speed, it’s better to just glance at a word and discern its meaning while gliding onto the next one. However, this is harder to learn and will come as you read more and more.
2. Learn to read in phrases. This somewhat goes hand-in-hand with the first bullet. Try not to dissect passages by their words but by groups of words or by phrases. This will allow you to cruise through multiple words and lines while picking up on the meaning along the way.
3. Focus on the important words in sentences. Don’t pay too much attention to conjunctions like (a, an, the, but).
4. Make sure that you have a quiet reading spot without too many distractions. When speed reading and chaining words together, it’s easy to get thrown off by too much noise.
5. It may also be helpful when reading quickly and trying to ensure comprehension to use something to trace as you read. For instance, lead with your finger or a pen and read as it moves. It helps you keep your place while maintaining any speed you want. It’s even possible when first trying to increase your speed to force yourself to read faster by manually increasing your finger speed. Trying to keep up with your finger, although difficult at first, will help you increase your speed. However, it’s always important to never lose comprehension for speed’s sake.
With all these methods, the most important factor is practicing constantly. Only through utilizing these methods constantly can you begin to increase your speed. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can read if you read often and actively try to increase your pace. However, the warning remains: don’t try to read so fast that the passages lose meaning. What’s the point of being able to read fast if you don’t know what you’re reading? Read quickly but accurately.