How to Read Faster

Are you a slow reader? Would you like to increase your reading speed? Check out these helpful tips.

-Choose high-interest material. It is best to push yourself to read faster with material that you are familiar with and enjoy. For example, if you like to read mystery novels, choose one to use for pushed reading.

-Practice every day. To increase your reading rate, you will need to push yourself to read faster every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Use your local or school newspaper or anything that will sustain your interest for that amount of time. You might want to choose three or four brief articles and take a short break after each one.

-Read at slightly-faster-than-comfortable-speeds. As you read, push yourself to read slightly faster than you usually do. You should feel a little uncomfortable reading at this speed and feel that you would prefer to slow down, but you should also sense that you understand what you are reading.

-Check your comprehension. Increasing your reading rate while losing comprehension provides no benefit. Therefore, you need to check your comprehension of the material you are reading. However, because you are changing a habit, it is ok to have comprehension of only 70 to 80 percent of what you read during pushed reading. In fact, if you are having 100 percent comprehension you can probably push yourself to read faster. To check your comprehension, try to summarize the information. Did you identify all the key ideas? What about important details and examples? If you find that you are not comprehending the information, slow down a bit.

-Try to read at the same time each day. Finding 15 minutes to read every day should not be much of a problem, but in order to keep an accurate record of your improvement you should try to find the time when you are most alert and try to read at that same time every day.

-Don’t give up. Improving your reading rate is a slow but steady process. You may make some great improvements one week then see little change the next. Don’t worry about the fluctuations in your rate, as long as you are seeing an overall increase. However, if you find that you have gone several weeks without any improvement, make a conscious effort to push yourself even faster when you read.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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