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Five Speed reading secrets to help you create more time in your day

Posted in Articles

Imagine if you could improve your reading speed, even if by just 20%. It would be like getting a free hour back for every five hours spent reading reports, emails, policies, or legal documents. We can all get out from under our paperwork mountain by learning and applying a simple set of speed reading techniques.

This blog was written by Bookboon Author Terry Pearce.

Adopt the right approach

Many of us get bogged down reading every word in documents when we don’t need to. Or, even worse, we get bored and skip ahead in the text and miss the details that matter. Part of speed reading is specifying what you want from a document – what you mean by ‘reading’ it. Then you can make sure you’re going at the right speed.

Take control of your eye movements

Most of us never think about how our eyes navigate the page which is a big missed opportunity. We often ‘backskip’ unnecessarily and slow ourselves down. You can train yourself not to by using speed reading tips such as using a card to cover up what you’ve already read until you kick the habit. You can also work on the ‘chunks’ of text your eyes rest on. Practice can make them bigger and increasing your words per minute.

Get some rhythm

Just as pace is important in running, speed reading also requires a sense of rhythm, chunk by chunk, line by line. A guide can help you do this – pens or card edges work well. You can then control your pace, matching it to your reading needs, avoiding back-skipping, and slowing down and speeding up in passages more or less dense with useful info.

Work on processing ideas, not words

The quicker we comprehend, the quicker we can move on. This may be the most important skill in speed reading. By working on how you visualise the meaning of the text, you can speed up. You can also develop your expectations around structure for different documents, so you know where to look for the important ideas. And you can improve your skill in identifying word groups that communicate individual ideas, so you can focus on them, digest them, and move on.

Unpick your bad habits and build new ones

We’re creatures of habit, and the bad reading habits you’ve probably picked up through life are slowing you down right now, every time you read. You can unpick them and learn speed reading methods like the ones above, but it takes focused practice.

Learn how to Speed Read

Check out our eBook, Learn How to Speed Read to get more detail, and practical exercises, to help you make techniques like this part of your everyday reading.

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