How to Increase Reading Speed and Comprehension: 20 Helpful Tips

Our ever-changing world offers an enormous amount of information that we need to read and process rapidly. Every day, we learn a lot: we’re looking through newspapers, magazines, reading books, surfing the internet. Here are 20 tips that explain how to increase reading speed and comprehension.

Bonus!

Discover links to some valuable posts as you read.

1. Shape your reading environment

Your environment makes a significant impact on your reading ability. It is essential to make sure that you feel comfortable, and nothing disturbs you. For example, it is difficult to learn speed reading while traveling on a bus or feeling stressed. Instead, tips for reading faster such as daylight lighting, timely breaks, and having a relaxed atmosphere develop your skills. Besides, you can come up with triggers bringing you pleasure and into a positive mood

2. Set a goal

Limits for speed reading fact

Source: https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2015/01/19/speed-reading-redo/http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-11174-004

Come up with a purpose for why you want to boost up speed reading. Identify potential benefits and opportunities you will receive as a result. Plan your actions to complete your learning by a specific deadline. It will help you to avoid procrastination and save you time. Set a specific timeframe for completion and strive to meet it.

A post that will help you with your plan: How to use set goals to achieve speed reading skills.

3. Take notes

Record your thoughts and critical aspects of the reading material. This is likely to help you avoid multiple re-readings. An adequately annotated text is useful for remembering it and making appropriate conclusions.

Look:

It is crucial to avoid highlighting as it distracts you from the main idea of speed reading and comprehension. Even though highlighting identifies the most critical parts of the text, it reduces your ability to understand and remember the concept.

4. Focus on text structure

Being able to comprehend the text structure properly fact

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psyched/201703/teaching-text-structure-improves-reading-comprehension

It’s not a secret that many texts include unnecessary information or data you’re already familiar with. You need to speed up the process of eliminating those parts by using special exercises. One of the most exciting tips for reading comprehension states that first, you need to look through your text, paying attention to the outline, headings, and keywords.

Note that usually, the first and the last sentences of each paragraph contain the essential information. Through understanding the content of your text, you will be able to read it faster and still comprehend appropriately. Also, identify the parts that are most interesting to you and those that can be skipped.

Another post you may like: Speed reading.

5. Come up with questions about structure

After analysis of the text structure, it is useful to create a range of questions that will lead you while reading and comprehending the essentials. Ask yourself:

  • Why did I stress these ideas?
  • Why are they important to me?
  • What is the main problem?

By creating questions to the headings and then searching the text to find answers, you will promote your speed reading skills.

6. Prioritize

Steven Pressfield quote

Get rid of the so-called structure words such as articles or transition phrases. Ignore them to focus on keywords and understand the main concepts of the text. It goes without saying that they are included for correct grammar to shape the sentences yet distracting while speed reading.

Learn to scan the text you are going to read. You can try the third-word rule: start reading from the third word in the line and end each line with the third word from the end.

Don’t worry!

You won’t miss any information. Your peripheral vision will work by catching all the words and helping you to understand the meaning of the scanned abstract.

7. Do not subvocalize

People mentally pronounce the words they read. That’s the primary challenge leading to a slow reading pace. Reading this way, you create images in your mind that require too much time. To eliminate subvocalization, you need to practice a lot. Besides practicing, there are some websites such as Speeder, for example, that can help you too.

Speeder com website screenshot

This tool shows you text in a word-by-word manner at a fast pace and tracks your progress.

Remember, for example, the last time you read an exciting book with a gripping storyline and unique character descriptions? You didn’t pay attention to the words and their meaning.

Reading the text, you imagined what was happening as if you were watching a movie on the screen. That’s the way it should be.

Read more about this tip: Want to read faster? Stop saying the words in your head as you read.

8. Follow a variable reading speed

Remember that each person is unique and has his or her comfortable reading speed. Therefore, there is no need to strive for an incredible result. Instead, try to focus on your feelings and perceptions regarding the text. The main idea of speed reading is to enjoy it. Develop your skills organically as this is the most efficient way to succeed.

9. Use online software

Among other tips for reading faster, there are speed reading apps such as Spiritz or Outread that can significantly improve your reading and comprehension level. Unlike Spiritz that works the same way as Speeder does, Outread uses another technique. The application focuses a reader’s attention on several words and the number of characters that they can read in a specified period. This is convenient because the text isn’t broken into separate words, and it is possible to return to the previous paragraph anytime.

10. Practice flexible reading

flexible reading fact

It goes without saying that you read fiction and blogs faster than scientific works. However, to develop one’s speed reading and comprehension, it is important to read different kinds of literature.

You may read scholarly articles, newspaper posts, and textbooks, for example, to improve your reading skills. Note that immersive reading of scientific papers or business contracts requires more time and effort to understand them due to their complicated nature. The core idea here is to embrace various reading materials.

11. Do not multitask

Gary Keller quote

No doubt you’re great at combining several tasks and performing them simultaneously. But avoid it while reading. Listening to music or watching a TV show will distract you and slow down your reading pace. Even daydreaming may interfere with your learning, not to mention chatting and phone calls. Also, if you are required to write a summary after reading, do only one thing at a time. First, read until the end and then summarize. You will save a significant amount of time.

This article explains the disadvantages of multitasking in detail: The multitasking myth.

12. Stay motivated

Motivation rules our world, helping us to achieve our goals. Try to motivate yourself with the fact that the material you are going to read will promote your speed reading skills and be useful for you someday. List all the possible benefits that you will receive as soon as you acquire this new ability. Then visualize all these benefits you’ll gain and start learning.

Even if it’s a boring textbook you need to read while preparing for exams, you have to understand that this knowledge will be helpful for your career in the end, and a good grade in the subject will please you and your parents.

13. Read early in the day

Scientists emphasize that morning is the best time to start something new. It is a period when you are awake, energetic, and optimistic. Early mornings give you fresh air and a calm environment to boost up speed reading ability.

Discover the morning reading habits of successful people with Business Insider: What 16 successful people read in the morning.

14. Avoid regression

Sometimes people forget the previous part of the text and return to re-read it. This is considered a regression. When readers experience it, they usually lose the flow of the text, thus reducing both comprehension and reading speed. Try to maintain a high level of concentration to avoid unnecessary regressions.

A tip on how to concentrate is given below.

15. Increase concentration

Haruki Murakami quote

You’ve probably noticed several times that a fascinating book can be read in one breath and much faster than a boring textbook. Also, when reading a fantastic book, you gradually accelerate and get immersed in the process of reading. This shows that attention is essential to develop speed reading and comprehension. Most importantly, it can be learned.

Try the following activity: focus on reading when you are listening to music or when people are walking around you: go to the park on your day off and read on a bench, trying to ignore the sights and sounds around you.

16. Start fast

Consider yourself a book-hater? Get over it! Start reading extra fast and then slow down a bit after a couple of pages. Thus, you will dive into speed reading and feel more comfortable.

Read this post to learn more about tips for reading comprehension: Speed reading tip: Start reading very quickly.

17. Track your time

Always track your reading speed and keep records of what you’ve achieved to learn speed reading. This will keep you in good shape. You can count the number of words you read in a minute or use a specific app to do it. By keeping track, you will understand whether you have made progress or not. Tracking your progress, you will also receive powerful motivation to improve reading speed and comprehension.

18. Try speed reading courses

Readspeeder website screenshot

Along with learning at home on your own, you can take courses on speed reading and interact with your teacher and other students. You can find either traditional classes or online ones. Many sessions are free and available from all over the world.

For example, Read Speeder offers a remarkable tool to master faster reading that is based on “visual” interpretation and mental focus. Among others, check SPD RDNG and Legentas.

19. Develop your memory

When you learn how to read quickly, you understand and process a significant amount of information. However, these skills may turn out to be useless if you don’t retain the information you’ve read. You can remember what you’ve learned through an in-depth comprehension of critical ideas and problems you identified while reading. As a rule, people tend to memorize significant, relevant, and unique information.

A post you may like: 10 ways to improve your memory & boost brainpower.

20. Practice, practice, and more practice

Toba Beta quote

This is an integral part of learning how to increase reading speed and comprehension. Practice helps you to become the best speed reader. However, do not forget that achieving your goal always takes some time and effort. It is a good habit to practice daily for at least 20 minutes. On the one hand, it will not take much time. On the other hand, those 20 minutes will benefit your speed reading skills.

Choose the best tips for you and get started!

Think about how much reading you do. Want to do it faster and spend less time on anything you read? Then speed reading is what you need! It is an important skill, allowing you to read and comprehend a significant amount of information faster than you’ve ever dreamed. Several strategies and techniques can help your learning process.

The 20 tips that were revealed here are primarily based on concentration and practice. Learn how to increase reading speed and comprehension through individual courses or at home. At the same time, various online tools will help you track your progress and increase your learning. Try creating an appropriate environment and take some time to develop your skills.

Use your potential to identify what tips are the best for you, and get started immediately!

Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick

Irene Fenswick is a freelance writer and blogger with a Master's degree in English Literature. She has been working as an academic advisor for undergraduate students for five years and she is willing to share her knowledge about writing. Irene has 15+ years of expertise in solving academic-related issues.

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