Reading through an entire book can take weeks if not months. If you are trying to improve yourself and learn new ideas and concepts, this can be a serious halt in your progress. Learning how to read faster can save you so much time!
I am an avid reader myself and I am constantly reminded of how thick the books are that I am trying to read.
This made me very frustrated. I have always had a massive list of books that I need and want to read. So if I took months to finish a single one, it made me feel as if I will never get to the bottom of my reading list.
That’s when I realized there is a large list of tips and techniques, that if applied correctly you will be able to double and maybe triple your reading speed (without losing comprehension).
There might even be specific habits that are holding you back. We will be diving deep into speed reading and how to read faster.
Guide Your Eyes
This is a very easy & simple tactic you can start the next time you read. Have you ever felt like you have read the same line 3 times in a row?
The problem with our eyes is that we don’t track in straight lines. So, it can be very helpful to use your finger or a pencil to help guide your eyes along. This ensures you are not, skipping lines or reading the same one over and over again.
Headlines & Reading What’s Important
Every book you read probably has a few great ideas and concepts in it. But they needed all the extra pages to be able to sell the book. You can get these great ideas from every book by just skimming through and looking at chapter titles and the headlines. Each chapter usually has a main idea. Then multiple examples to back up this claim. You don’t always need to know every example.
Often times the first and last sentences of chapters are able, to sum up, each section. Neither of these principles will hold true for every book you read, but it will hold true for more than you think.
Now I know what you’re thinking. I won’t be able to remember anything. It just takes practice, what you need to do is start reading just past your level of comfort. Where you are losing a tiny bit of comprehension.
Once you are able to get used to this, then you can slowly increase the speed from there.
Read What Interests You
Some of you might have to read a book for a certain class or to receive credits. But in your free time make sure you are reading books that interest you.
For myself, I like to read books on Investing, Health, and Personal Growth. But maybe you like to read about Relationships, Psychology or Fitness. Whatever it is, focus on that.
Just remember if you don’t care about it and your only reading it because someone else told you that you should, it is unlikely that you will be able to finish the book and that it will have any impact on your life.
Use Your Peripheral Vision
This one has the potential to double your reading speed altogether. When you look at an object, you are able to see other things around it.
This is called your peripheral vision. To practice using it while you read, draw a line down the side of your page on each side. About one inch into the page.
Then read just like normal and don’t let your eyes go beyond that vertical line. Keep practicing it and you will eventually be able to move the line further and further until you are able to focus on the inside third of the page.
This tactic helps you practice using your peripheral vision while reading.
When you read, you are more than likely saying each word as you go along. This is happening subconsciously. This is not necessary, it takes up too much time. Create the habit of skipping words that are unimportant.
In most cases the bigger the word the more important it is. Focus on skipping the smaller words, then reading the bigger more important ones.
Getting ahold of a book summary can be a fantastic way to educate yourself and be as efficient as possible. I do this myself all the time. You can watch or listen to a book review to understand the subject in a condensed format instead of taking hours of time to read the whole book.
This not only saves time but money as well. Like I said earlier, a book is usually about a few important concepts and then filled with other examples. The author needs an entire book to be able to sell it.
Get Rid of Distractions
It is much more difficult to simply ignore the distractions than it is to get rid of them. It can be very hard to understand complex concepts when there are so many distractions around you.
Once you get interrupted you take your attention away from the book. When you try and bring it back and you have to try and remember where you were and what was happening in the book.
This can waste a large chunk of time during this transition period.
Ensure you finish all your small tasks right before you go into a reading session. This way you can limit the number of distractions that could happen while you are trying to read.
Listening to audiobooks can be a great use of your time. Replacing audiobooks with music is a great idea. One thing you could try out is listening to audiobooks while you are driving or doing some chores. The amount of knowledge you could attain on your drive to work every day is unbelievable.
Another huge benefit of audiobooks is you can speed up the rate at which the book is read. This gives you the ability to finish the book in half the time it would normally take.
A lot of people have the habit to go back and re-read full pages or chapters to make sure they didn’t miss anything. But in reality, they understood most of the key points.
When you go back and re-read, you break the flow. When you are in this flow you read at a very fast pace and are able to understand what the author is saying. But when you stop to re-read a sentence it throws you and your brain off.
Most people do this without recognizing it. If you really missed something or you don’t understand it’s always okay to go back and re-read, just make sure you are only doing it when necessary.
Put Your Knowledge to Use
Everybody should be implementing this tip, or there is no use in reading in the first place. The goal is to take the knowledge you acquire from these books and apply it to your life. It helps to take notes of all the important parts. So later you can look up what you learned and go use it in any area of your life.
It also helps to pick a book about something that you are struggling with.
For example, if you are having trouble saving money, find a book about money management. If you do not apply what you learn into your life, then the time you spent reading has been wasted.
Not only does this help you apply what you learn, but when you are interested in what you are reading it helps you find the motivation to read more often. This can lead to more reading sessions than you usually find the time for.
Understand The Benefits of Reading
Some people are unaware of the overwhelming list of the benefits of reading. Reading has the potential to truly change your life.
If you are interested in learning all the benefits of reading check out: 11 Benefits of Reading – Why You Should Read. When you understand the benefits of reading and why you are supposed to be reading, you will have much more motivation to continue reading and finish that book.
Most people who start a book never finish. Don’t be one of those people. Finish what you start and find the time to work on yourself.
Do you get faster at reading the more you read?
Yes, just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect. When you spend the time to read you will run into words you don’t understand, or you might slip up a couple of words.
As time goes on you will get better and better.
Remember More Of What You Read
Now, this isn’t going to help you read faster directly, but it will help you apply what you learn faster. If you forget what you read in the first place you want to be able to take what you read and apply it to your life.
If this happens it makes the time you spent reading a waste. None of us want this to happen!
This way you can spend less time re-reading trying to figure out what you forgot and more time using the knowledge you gained.
Key Takeaways – How To Read Faster (Without Losing Comprehension)
Now I want to remind everyone that at the end of the day if you don’t remember anything you read, then there is no point. The whole point of reading is to learn and gain new knowledge. Make sure you are not focusing on the wrong things, do not go through a book as fast as you can. Do not sacrifice speed for comprehension.
All you need to do is to apply these tips to be able to get what you need from these books, in the least amount of time possible. So you can save your time for something else, or even starting a new book.
If you need help forming habits, go here: How Habits are Formed: The Habit Loop