Did you know it is possible to increase your reading speed? Many people have used simple techniques aimed at increasing reading speed and improving reading comprehension to significantly improve their overall reading experience. Anyone can learn to speed read, and the benefits of an increase in reading speed and comprehension are manifold.

Many people who are looking to improve their reading speed are students and other individuals who are required to read a tremendous amount of material in a limited amount of time, comprehend what has been read, and retain the information. The benefit of speed reading is that not only can you get through your reading material more quickly, the techniques used can often help you comprehend and retain what you have read. Increased comprehension will lead to a better vocabulary and better overall language skills as well.

The biggest obstacle to improving reading speed is the misconception that a person's reading speed cannot be changed. Most people know someone who reads much more quickly than they do, and they think that will always be the case. People don't realize that speed reading is a skill that can be taught just like other skills.

If you decide to try to improve your reading speed, you may want to test your current reading speed first. To test your reading speed you can go to this website or any other of a number of websites that offer reading speed tests for free. This will give you an idea of your base reading speed, so you can track your improvement as you increase your reading speed over time.

When learning to increase your reading speed, start with material that is interesting to you and easy to read. Don't try to learn to speed read on a copy of "War and Peace" or your biology textbook! Choose light, engaging reading material to help you get started and make your first efforts productive.

A very helpful but often underestimated technique used to improve reading speed is to use your finger as a guide. Moving your finger quickly along the page will convince your eyes to keep pace. You will find that you are automatically picking up speed as you follow your finger.

Another technique useful for increasing reading speed is learning what parts of the text you can skip over. Not every single word must be read in order to understand the material. Often there are parts of a paragraph or even whole paragraphs that are totally irrelevant to the important facts. You can train yourself to skim over these portions and concentrate only on what is relevant.

A related method of increasing reading speed is to do a quick "preview" of the material. What this means is you will first read the chapter headings, subtitles, bolded print, and first sentence of each paragraph. You'll also take a quick look at any graphs, maps, or images. Then, when you go back and actually read the material, it will be almost as if you are reviewing it for the second time.

A great method of improving reading speed is to keep a question in mind while reading. For example, if you are reading an essay called "Heroes of the American Revolution," keep in mind the question "Who were the heroes of the American Revolution?" When you have a question in mind while reading, the answers will jump out at you as you read and you will find and comprehend them that much more quickly.

Make sure that you don't re-read the same sentences over and over. This is one of the biggest reasons why poor readers read so slowly. If you find that you are re-reading phrases, you may want to try using an index card to cover up the portion of the page you have already read, to help you refrain from re-reading it. After a while you may no longer need to use this technique, but use it for as long as you need to!

Another very common reason why people read slowly is that they vocalize what they are reading. Even those readers who don't actually move their lips as they read sometimes do what is called "subvocalizing," which means that they say the words to themselves in their head as they read. Because the speed of the spoken word is very limited, to around 250 words per minute, vocalizing or subvocalizing when you read effectively limits your reading speed to that rate. Learning to read without vocalizing is critical if you want to learn to read better and faster.

There are many speed reading courses that offer help with all of the above techniques as well as some others. Speed reading courses can help a person increase both reading speed and reading comprehension significantly. Many speed reading courses can help a person double his reading speed, while maintaining the same level of comprehension. Some people have been able to increase their reading speed by much more than that. With the use of the techniques presented here or a solid speed-reading course, you can learn how to read better and faster, starting today!