Do you know? The eyes glide across the page, but the thoughts are somewhere else entirely. At the end you have to read everything again. A typical consequence of mental underload caused by reading too slowly! Basically, we can process information at 800 to 1000 words per minute. But most people read only 200-300 words per minute. 3/4 of the brain capacity is then occupied with other things while reading! The next time you find yourself unfocused, you should simply read faster. Try it somehow! You will find that you are then more likely to stay on task. Speed Reading means first and foremost: reading in a "brain-friendly" way.
Extra-Speed Reading Tip: When we read faster, the texts automatically more interesting. Speed Reading demands our brain stronger. And everything that challenges us mentally, in turn "delights" our brain. No matter how boring the text is. Try this with other activities as well, not only with speed reading.
2. Before you speed read: Preview.
Looking ahead means: "warming up" for subsequent speed reading. First flip through the text carefully page by page. Pay attention to salient signals of meaning: pictures, headings, info boxes, long/unusual words, abbreviations. Linger only a few seconds on each page, do not get "stuck" to the text. Be surprised how much of the content you already absorb anyway. By the way, at the beginning of a paragraph there is usually the key message. In this way, you will quickly recognize what meaning a text has for you. Afterwards you read it faster and more goal-oriented, because you are attuned to the content.
Or you don’t read the text at all…this is one of the most time-saving speed reading tips ;-). After the preview you decide this on a qualified basis, instead of throwing the text away sight unseen.
3. Speed reading means looking ahead.
Most people constantly jump back in the line when reading – out of insecurity or perfectionism. So they block their potential to read fast unnecessarily. Observe for yourself whether you really absorb something new when you jump back. Mostly you only assure yourself: "Yes, that’s right, I’ve already read that!"At the same time, however, you confuse the logic of the text – not good for comprehension! Take at least one coherent section of meaning (z.B. paragraph), as a whole before you jump back. Much clarifies itself in the progress of the text by itself.
Reading forward at a brisk pace is an important basic attitude in speed reading. Crucial for this Confidence in your perception. Most speed reading tips and techniques aim to increase this. The goal is "reading for meaning. This means: read for meaning instead of working off symbols.
By the way: Interesting texts automatically pull you forward. Conversely, a faster reading speed increases your interest in the text, because your brain is more challenged.
4. Paragraph jumping – speed reading "on hiatus".
This speed reading tip is enormously helpful if you are only interested in the main ideas of a non-fiction text. It’s as simple as this: Read the first and last paragraphs completely and only the first sentence of each of the other paragraphs. This way you can read especially longer texts very quickly. And still have a high probability of grasping the main point. Try this out first with texts for which you are now no time at all have. Judge for yourself whether this way of reading quickly is not better than not at all to read! This speed reading tip is also suitable for repeating familiar texts and for familiar topics. Legal texts are sometimes structured in reverse ("expert style"). Then the main thought is at the end of the paragraph. Don’t be dogmatic, because some authors just write differently. A sure instinct is required!
By the way: Jumping straight to the end of a text is usually a good idea! Do not work through the text strictly chronologically. First see "how the story ends" (of course not with thrillers). This way you can read faster as well as more focused and motivated. And you are also more willing to skip something if you already know the "route" at the beginning.
5. Difficult texts: rather read 2x fast.
Don’t try to understand a difficult text the first time. It’s better to read a manageable section quickly, sticking to the essentials. Ignore the gaps in understanding at first. Read the same text again immediately afterwards and be able to understand the details much better. Difficult passages become better understandable in the context of the other contents. The bottom line is that you will not only read faster, but you will also read with more motivation. Do not think that speed reading tips are only suitable for "light fare"! With the right speed reading techniques, you can in principle all read text types more efficiently and faster!
6. "Chunken" – the ultimate Speed Reading Tip.
As a normal reader, you usually jump from one word to the next. This takes time and hinders comprehension, which is not as quick about individual words. Chunken means to take in several words at the same time. (The word comes from English "chunk" = big lump, bundle.) Fewer eye stops (fixations) are required, and you read in sensible units. This way you will understand better than with unrelated single words. Example:
over the city
Three fixations: only the third time reveals the meaning.
over the city
A fixation: three times faster + immediately grasped a meaning.
So the trick to chunking is that you can read the text record completely, understand better and read faster. This speed reading tip is the "eierlegende Wollmilchsau" so to speak!
Of all the speed reading tips, chunking requires the most training and a well thought-out practice plan. For starters, you can draw two vertical lines through a paperback page so that each line is divided into thirds. Then fix each line exactly three times, in a rhythmic beat: "left-center-right". Important: Ignore the text content at first.
This Speed Reading Tip thus begins as physical gaze training. It’s simply a matter of getting your eyes used to looking more broadly – nothing more. After a while of such "eye gymnastics" you can slow down the speed. You then pay more attention to coherent word combinations. Use z.B. punctuation, nouns or fixed phrases ("sooner or later", "with best regards"). With practice, you’ll notice how consistent chunking gradually develops into a real "flow" feeling when reading. You "sink" mentally in the text, because you read for meanings instead of working off symbols.
By the way: Some scientific clues especially for the speed reading tip "chunken" can be found (under point 2.) on our site Speed Reading& Science.
How well did you succeed in implementing the Speed Reading Tips mentioned here? Some of this may have already given you a sense of achievement. Maybe you are now "in the mood for more?
Spend a lot of time reading? Would you like to read twice as many books a year? Or you can read the same amount of text in half the time – and have more time for other things? Then how about a systematic Speed Reading Training Program? To do this, we offer you the following options:
- our Book to the course – the cheapest choice!
- our Online course (with trainer) – the most flexible choice!
- our 2-day training as a classroom course – the best choice!
A math example: suppose you spend only 2 hours reading each workday. And you manage to read only 25% faster, with equal or better understanding. Then you have over the year 12 working days gained. Speed reading is worthwhile!