How Does Speed Reading Work?
Speed reading works by using your peripheral vision to take in whole phrases. This way you don’t waste time focusing on each and every word — or individual letters. Essentially, you’re stretching your brain while compressing the area that you are actually reading.
And surprisingly, research shows that readers when speed reading were able to recall the main information — even if they were not aware of it while speed reading. However, this research also indicated that it does take practice. They noted that there was an initial tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Yet, with practice and by increasing your vocabulary, comprehension and speed can both be maintained. In turn, you read faster and more efficiently.
How to Speed Read
Speed reading is something you can get relatively good at with a little practice.
Use the following steps to start your speed reading journey:
Step 1: Time your current reading speed. Tally up the number of words in the first 5 lines, then divide this number by 5. This gives you an average amount of words per line. Count the number of lines on the page. Set a timer and read for 1 minute. After the minute, add up how many lines you read. Take the number of lines you read and multiply it by the average number of words per line. This will give you your words per minute.
Step 2: Grab a book that you don’t mind writing in. Or if this doesn’t sound appealing, write down a phrase or paragraph on a piece of paper.
Step 3: Draw margins onto the book pages or piece of paper. To start, only cut a few words out with your margins.
Step 4: Attempt to read your book or piece of paper by only focusing on the words within the margins.
Step 5: Practice, practice, practice. Remember to use your peripheral vision to read those outermost words. Re-evaluate by timing yourself. This way you can measure whether or not it’s working for you. As you get better, you can slowly bring your margins closer and closer together for practice. You still take in all the information from your book or paragraph — but it cuts your time down. When you get good, you’ll be reading almost 3–5 times faster than you are now.