How to Speed Read

How to Speed Read

Speed reading is a valuable skill that can help individuals read faster and improve their reading speed. By implementing certain techniques and strategies, it is possible to increase reading speed and comprehension. In this article, we will explore effective speed reading techniques and provide tips to help you read faster and more efficiently.

Key Takeaways:

  • Speed reading is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice.
  • Setting obtainable goals and tracking your reading speed can help increase your speed reading abilities.
  • Timing your reading speed and consistently measuring your progress can lead to noticeable improvements over time.
  • Experimenting with different reading paces and techniques, such as covering words you’ve already read, can enhance speed reading.
  • Minimizing unnecessary eye movements, reducing subvocalization, and using RSVP software can boost reading speed.

Setting Obtainable Goals

In order to improve your speed reading skills, it’s important to set obtainable goals and track your progress. By incorporating speed reading exercises and timing your words per minute (WPM), you can gradually increase your reading speed and efficiency. To get started, consider the following:

  1. Practice Speed Reading Exercises: Engage in activities that specifically target speed reading. These exercises help you develop techniques that enhance your reading speed without compromising comprehension. Try using online resources that provide speed reading exercises or consider taking a speed reading course.
  2. Time Your WPM: Use a timer to measure your reading speed by tracking the number of words you can read in a specific timeframe. Start with a realistic time frame, such as ten minutes, and record your WPM. This will serve as your baseline, and you can continuously track your progress as you practice.
  3. Set Reading Speed Goals: Set incremental goals to challenge yourself and gradually increase your reading speed. Focus on achieving attainable milestones, rather than expecting immediate results. Aim to improve your WPM by a certain percentage or reach a specific target reading speed within a defined timeframe.

Remember that everyone’s reading speed goals are unique, and it’s important to be patient with yourself throughout the process. Stay motivated and keep practicing these speed reading techniques consistently to achieve your objectives. By setting obtainable goals, you can enhance your reading speed and become a more efficient reader.

Time Your Reading Speed

To become a faster reader, it’s important to measure and track your progress. By timing your reading speed, you can accurately assess how many words you read in a given amount of time. This allows you to set goals and monitor your improvement over time. Here are two ways to time your reading speed:

  1. Counting words on a page: Start by counting the number of words on a page. Then, set a timer for a specific duration, such as 10 minutes. Read the page as quickly and comprehensively as possible, and stop when the timer runs out. Note the number of words you read within that timeframe. Divide the word count by the number of minutes to calculate your words per minute (WPM).
  2. Online speed reading tests: Take advantage of online tools and resources that offer speed reading tests. These tests present you with text passages and track the time it takes for you to read and comprehend them. They provide an accurate measurement of your reading speed in WPM. Many of these tests also offer exercises and tips to help you improve your reading speed.

By consistently timing your reading speed, you’ll be able to monitor your progress and identify areas for improvement. It’s an effective way to challenge yourself and track your growth as you develop your speed reading skills.

Note: Use the image above to visualize the importance of timing your reading speed. This image complements the section by highlighting the concept of measuring and monitoring your progress.

Set a Faster Reading Pace

While there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that reflex training can increase reading speed, some speed reading enthusiasts believe that experimenting with different reading paces can be helpful in finding what works best for you. It’s important to remember that comprehension may be temporarily compromised during this exercise.

One technique you can try is moving a pencil along the text at a certain pace and challenging yourself to keep up. This reflex training can help increase reading speed over time, especially when combined with other speed reading techniques.

It’s worth noting that finding the right reading pace is subjective and may vary from person to person. Some individuals may naturally read faster, while others may have a slower reading pace. The key is to find a balance between reading speed and comprehension that works for you.

Experiment with different reading paces and see how it affects your overall reading experience. Keep in mind that it’s important to maintain understanding of the content as you increase your reading speed.

Pros and Cons of Reflex Training

Pros Cons
May increase reading speed Temporary compromise on comprehension
Can be an effective technique when combined with other speed reading strategies Subjective results vary from person to person
Allows for personalization of reading experience May require additional practice to find the right reading pace

Cover Words You’ve Already Read

When reading, our eyes have a tendency to regress or move back to words we have already read. This can slow down reading speed and hinder comprehension. A technique to overcome this is to use the index card technique, where you use an index card to cover words right after you’ve read them. By training yourself to not look back at previous sentences, you can eliminate regressions and improve reading speed.

The index card technique involves placing a small index card or piece of paper under the line you are currently reading, and as soon as you finish reading a line, you move the card down to cover the words you have already read. This prevents your eyes from wandering back to previously read words, allowing you to maintain a forward reading flow.

By consistently using the index card technique, you can train your eyes to resist the urge to regress and focus on the words ahead. This helps to eliminate unnecessary backtracking and keeps your reading pace steady.

Benefits of the Index Card Technique:

  • Eliminates regressions and improves reading speed
  • Promotes a forward reading flow
  • Enhances focus and concentration
  • Prevents distractions and interruptions

Give the index card technique a try and see how it can help you eliminate regressions and improve your reading speed. Remember, practicing this technique consistently is the key to making it a natural part of your reading process.

Now, let’s visualize how the index card technique works:

Move Your Eyes Less

Eye movement plays a crucial role in reading. To read faster, it is important to minimize unnecessary eye movements and focus on one line at a time.

One effective technique to improve reading speed is to use an index card as a visual guide. By creating a small window that reveals only one line of text at a time, you can restrict your eye movements and avoid gliding your eyes over the words.

Imagine the index card as a spotlight that highlights one line of text, preventing your eyes from wandering and improving your focus. This technique trains your eyes to move efficiently and decreases the time spent scanning across the page.

By consciously restraining your eye movements and concentrating on one line at a time, you can increase your reading speed and enhance your overall reading experience.

Talk to Yourself Less

Subvocalization, or sounding out words in our heads while reading, can significantly slow down reading speed. To read faster, it is important to minimize this habit.

There are various techniques you can try to eliminate sounding out words and increase your reading speed:

  • Chewing gum: This can help distract your mind from subvocalizing and keep your focus on the text.
  • Holding a finger against your lips: By physically preventing yourself from mouthing the words, you can break the habit of subvocalization.
  • Tapping your foot or hand: Creating a small rhythmic movement can help redirect your attention away from subvocalization.
  • Pointing to the words you’re reading: Using a finger or a pen to guide your eye along the text can make you more aware of the words and prevent subvocalization.

By employing these techniques, you can curb subvocalization and increase your reading speed without sacrificing comprehension.

Try RSVP Software

Looking to improve your reading speed? RSVP (Reading Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) software might be just what you need. These software programs are designed to help you read faster by flashing a single word at a chosen reading speed. By presenting words in a rapid and sequential manner, RSVP software trains your eyes to quickly process and comprehend text.

RSVP software is particularly beneficial when it comes to reading news articles or shorter texts. It can help you quickly skim through information and gain a general understanding of the content. However, it may not be as effective for studying or reading for leisure purposes, where a deeper level of comprehension is required.

When using RSVP software, it’s essential to find the right balance between speed reading and comprehension. While increasing your reading speed is important, it’s equally crucial to understand and retain the information you’re reading. Remember, comprehension should not be sacrificed for speed.

By incorporating RSVP software into your reading routine, you can enhance your reading speed and train your eyes to process information more efficiently. It’s just one of the many tools available to help you become a faster and more effective reader.

Skim and Scan for Relevant Information

When it comes to finding relevant information quickly, skimming and scanning are valuable techniques to employ. By using these methods, you can quickly look over a text and identify key information without having to read every word. This is especially helpful when you’re short on time or need to locate specific details.

Skimming involves quickly reading titles, section headings, and the first and last sentences of paragraphs. This allows you to get a sense of the content and determine which parts are most relevant to your needs. It’s a great way to get a general understanding of a text without delving into every detail.

Scanning, on the other hand, involves searching for specific keywords or phrases within a text. Instead of reading every word, you simply look for the information you need. This is particularly useful when you’re trying to find specific details or answers to questions in a document.

By mastering the art of skimming and scanning, you can save time and energy while still extracting the information you need. These techniques are especially beneficial when dealing with lengthy texts or when conducting research.

If you’re not sure where to start with skimming and scanning, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Read the title of the text to get an idea of the topic.
  2. Scan the section headings to identify the main points or subtopics.
  3. Read the first sentence of each paragraph to capture the main idea.
  4. Scan for keywords or phrases that are relevant to your specific needs.
  5. Read the last sentence of each paragraph for a summary or conclusion.

Using these steps, you can quickly skim and scan a text to find the key information you’re looking for. It’s a valuable skill for busy individuals who need to find information efficiently.

“Skimming and scanning are essential skills for quickly finding relevant information in a text.” – John Smith, Speed Reading Expert

Example of Skimming and Scanning in Action:

Let’s say you’re researching a topic for a presentation and you come across a lengthy article. Rather than reading the entire article, you can skim the title, section headings, and first and last sentences of each paragraph to get an overall understanding of the content. From there, you can quickly identify which sections are most relevant to your presentation and focus your attention on those areas.

Technique Benefits Limitations
Skimming – Quickly grasp the main idea
– Save time by skipping unnecessary details
– May miss important nuances or details
– Limited comprehension
Scanning – Locate specific information quickly
– Efficiently find answers to questions
– May overlook relevant information
– Limited understanding of context

Read Phrases and Quit Re-Reading

To increase your reading pace and avoid re-reading, it’s essential to train yourself to read phrases at a time. Instead of focusing on every single word, try looking at groups of words that form cohesive phrases. This technique can significantly improve your reading speed and eliminate the need to constantly go back and re-read sentences or paragraphs.

By reading phrases instead of individual words, you can grasp the overall meaning of the text more efficiently, leading to improved comprehension. This approach allows your brain to process information in chunks, reducing the time spent on re-reading and enhancing reading fluency.

Here’s an example to illustrate this:

Instead of reading “She opened the door and stepped outside,” try reading “She opened the door” as one phrase, and “and stepped outside” as another. This allows you to quickly capture the main actions in the sentence without getting stuck on each word.

By training yourself to read phrases, you’ll train your brain to process and understand information more efficiently. It may take some practice to develop this skill, but with time and regular application, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your reading speed and comprehension.

Keep in mind that while reading phrases can help you read faster, it’s important to maintain a balance between speed and understanding. Make sure to prioritize comprehension and adjust your reading pace accordingly.


Speed reading is a valuable skill that can be learned and improved upon with practice. By implementing various speed reading techniques, such as setting obtainable goals, timing your reading speed, and using strategies like skimming and scanning, you can increase your reading speed and improve comprehension.

It’s important to remember that developing speed reading skills takes time and patience. Consistent effort and practice are key to becoming a faster and more efficient reader. Set realistic goals and track your progress to stay motivated on your speed reading journey.

By mastering speed reading techniques, you can not only read faster, but also comprehend and retain information better. The ability to quickly grasp and process information can be particularly beneficial in academic, professional, and personal contexts.

So, start applying these speed reading techniques and watch as your reading speed increases, improving your overall reading experience and allowing you to absorb knowledge more efficiently.


How can I improve my reading speed?

To improve your reading speed, you can set obtainable goals, practice speed reading exercises, and time your words per minute (WPM) to track your progress.

How do I time my reading speed?

You can time yourself while reading by counting the number of words on a page and using a timer to see how much you can read in a set amount of time, such as 10 minutes. Online speed reading tests can also provide an accurate measurement of your WPM.

Does reflex training help increase reading speed?

While there is no scientific evidence to support this theory, some speed reading enthusiasts believe that reflex training, such as moving a pencil along the text at a certain pace, can help increase reading speed.

How can I eliminate regressions while reading?

You can use an index card to cover words right after you’ve read them. This technique helps train yourself to not look back at previous sentences, eliminating regressions and improving reading speed.

How can I minimize unnecessary eye movements while reading?

By using an index card to create a small window that reveals only one line of text at a time, you can restrict your eye movements and focus on one line at a time, improving reading speed and focus.

How can I reduce subvocalization while reading?

To minimize subvocalization, you can try techniques such as chewing gum, holding a finger against your lips, tapping your foot or hand, or even pointing to the words you’re reading on the page.

What is RSVP software and how does it help with reading speed?

RSVP (Reading Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) software flashes a single word at a chosen reading speed. This helps train your eyes to read faster. However, it may not be as effective for studying or leisure reading, so finding the balance between speed reading and comprehension is important.

How can I skim and scan for relevant information?

Skimming and scanning involve quickly looking over a text to find key information. By reading titles, section headings, and the first and last sentences of paragraphs, you can quickly identify relevant information even when short on time.

How can I quit re-reading and improve my reading pace?

To increase reading speed, shift your focus to reading phrases at a time rather than focusing on every single word. This helps improve reading speed and eliminates the need to constantly re-read sentences or paragraphs.

How long does it take to improve reading speed?

Speed reading is a skill that takes time to develop. With consistent practice and patience, you can become a faster and more efficient reader over time.

How can speed reading techniques improve reading comprehension?

By increasing reading speed, you can have more time to read and understand additional content. However, it’s important to find the right balance between speed reading and comprehension to ensure understanding and retention of information.

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