An average person is exposed to over 105,000 words or 23 words per second during the daytime.
With that much information, it is getting more challenging to read and process the information. The human capacity is limited, while the options are endless. There are only two ways to manage this problem:
- Accept it, do nothing about it, and read occasionally.
- Find a way to squeeze reading into your busy schedule and become a fast reader. After all, reading creates thoughts, opinions and makes you different from others.
Here are a few scientifically backed-up ways on how to become a fast reader I’ve been using for a while.
1. Prioritize Selective Reading Over Speed Reading
Speed reading is one of the commonly used practices. It suggests readers skim sentences by sweeping a finger along the lines instead of reading every word.
It might work for entertainment content. However, it is not a solution when it comes to reading complex technical writing.
Studies found that the faster you read, the less information you understand when remembering details. Speed reading aims to make you a faster reader, but not necessarily a better learner.
Instead of the quantity of the books, I choose the quality. I started practicing selective reading.
An idea that you have to read every chapter to understand the book is an old-fashioned myth, according to Dartmouth College’s Academic Skills Center.
You do not necessarily have to read the whole book to comprehend it. Unless you are reading something technical or entirely new, skip some sections that are not relevant to your purpose.
How to do it
I read many marketing and business-related books that sometimes repeat similar concepts. To save my time and get to the point faster, I skip some chapters that are either boring or do not have new information for me.
I no longer feel guilty for selective reading.
It helps me to filter out irrelevant information and learn new things faster. As a result, I can read more books.
2. Eliminate Conscious Rereading
According to the famous writer Tim Ferris, if you reached the end of the page and did not get what you’ve just read, it is called regression or conscious rereading.
If you read a book but you do not understand the context of a chapter, you might need to stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What have I learned so far?” “What should I change to read more effectively?”
Besides, you might be stressed while reading. Other thoughts might interfere with your reading, or you might be distracted by external noise.
To become a fast reader, analyze your previous reading experience and define when you comprehend the information most effectively and how to shift your reading routine to that time.
If you want to memorize something, you will need to read it slowly. Studies suggest reading the text at a 100 words per minute (wpm) pace if you want to memorize the details. In comparison, a standard rate for reading comprehension is 200–400 wpm.
How to do it
I read different literature, depending on my mood and intent. I prefer thought-provoking and business-related books in the morning when I am full of energy. Thus, I can consume information easily.
I tend to spend up to one hour reading in the morning, between 7–8 am. It is my most effective reading time before I start my working day.
However, my concentration is depleting by the end of the day, and I am no longer in the mood to consume technical information in the evening.
I used to force myself to read more, but it did not work. The more I wanted to concentrate, the more my mind refused to do it. Eventually, I spent more time reading than anticipated.
I stopped reading for the matter of reading! Instead, I follow my biorhythm to find the most suitable time for fast reading.
3. Read More for Pleasure, Not Only for Learning
Reading is a skill that requires continuous learning, practicing, and improvement.
To develop a skill, you need to conduct a certain action continuously. Eventually, you master it; you become faster and better at it.
Same with reading.
You learn to comprehend the material, which helps make judgments, prioritize one piece of information over another, and connect different passages into a single story.
As Barack Obama once said:
“Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.”
How to do it
I read for pleasure, not only for learning. I carefully select the books I want to read by following the 50 pages rule. It usually takes me an hour to read a few chapters and understand if a book meets my needs. If not, I leave it.
My goal is to read at least 2 books/month, and I manage it despite my work and side hustles.
Why does it work for me? Because I read more about what inspires me, what makes me feel better about myself, and what stays in my mind in the form of knowledge.
If the book hooks me, I seek to read it faster and learn the outcome.
If you force yourself to do something, you will mentally suffer. To become a fast reader, first, find the right books that you would love to read.
Mind your reading time carefully! If you feel demotivated or tired, it will most likely affect your reading comprehension. Hence, aim to read the most important or technical stuff when you are not exhausted.
Speed reading does not work for everyone. Instead of reading every word, skimming sentences might drastically increase the number of books read, not quality. To read faster and comprehend better, practice selective reading.
Remember, reading is a skill that we all learn at school, but just a few people focus on becoming faster readers.
Develop a daily reading routine, set clear goals and expectations from reading, read more of what you like, and you will inevitably become a fast reader.
If you find this piece helpful, make sure to drop a ❤️, and...
Well, you know...you could tip.
About the Creator
Self-made marketer & content writer. Writing daily. Creating SEO-friendly content for 3 years.
My site: https://selfmademillennials.com/
Let's get in touch: https://www.linkedin.com/in/victoria-kurichenko/