Many people wish they had the skill to speed read. Fortunately the skill of speed reading is just that, a skill. The skill of speed reading and be mastered by almost anyone with the dedication to learn the skill. Some people can naturally read faster than others; however even very fast readers can always work on improving their speed reading skills.
Many people think that speed readers simply read super-fast regardless of what they are reading but this is far from true. Speed readers will vary the speed of what they are reading depending on the subject matter and how it is written. Speed readers can always read fast but they will tend to read a Novella much faster than say a college physics book.
Speed readers will also vary their reading speed within the same book. You may have one part of the chapter where you can read whiz thorough the paragraphs super fast and then in the same chapter have to slow down so you can better comprehend what you are reading. If you read super fast but do not comprehend, learn, or remember anything you read then you are not truly speed reading. A speed reader must be able to slow down when necessary in order to comprehend what they are reading.
Speed readers tend to have a wide vocabulary. If you must stop and think about what a word means then that will slow down your reading. On the other hand you do not want to simply skip over these words. Take the time to look up the meanings and common usage of words that you are not familiar with or are not entirely sure how to define. In the long run a wide vocabulary will help you to read faster.
The faster you can read then the more reading you can get done. The more reading you can get done then the more knowledge you can learn and retain. Speed readers tend to read a lot and on a wide variety of subjects.
Put Yourself into the Book
Many people who read tend to either read passively and pay little regard to the details of the book or they will read slowly and ponder every little detail. As a speed reader you need to throw yourself into the book and focus on what the author says. Instead of defining and debating in your mind what a sentence might mean you simply read all of the words of the sentence, often simultaneously, and take the meaning that comes.
Periodically you may slow down if you want to but to speed read like this you need to be an active reader. As a speed reader you are like a jet fighter pilot who has numerous things to do simultaneously, and you won’t be seeing the jet fighter pilot in the midst of an air fight during wartime daydreaming about mindless stuff. Don’t let outside distractions detract you from your speed reading either.
Eating, other people, and numerous other distractions can and will definitely slow down both your reading speed and your comprehension level of what you are reading.
Read All Words
It is a common belief that speed readers will skip unimportant words. This is asinine because if the speed reader took the time to decide if a word was important or not then obviously he or she had to have read the word. True speed readers do not skip words; however speed readers do not focus on each individual word. Seed readers will see and read multiple words, sentences, and sometimes even an entire paragraph simultaneously. As your speed reading skills develop you will begin to understand this better. There are however a few readers who read sentences and are able to interpret the meaning of the sentence without reading each individual word, at least not consciously.
Reading Out Loud
If you must sound out your words then you are not ready to speed read yet, but you can work on increasing the speed of your reading by mastering basic reading skills. If you read at a high level yet still either speak your words out loud or move your lips to make the words then you are not yet ready. Speaking your words out loud will drastically keep your speed reading time down. You must advance your regular reading skills before attempting to master the speed reading skills.
Read Speed Measurement
The quickness of a speed reader is often measured by how many words they can read per minute. This can be figured out with the following math formula.
Number of words Read ÷ Amount of Minutes You Read = WPM (Words per Minute)
Although the WPM rate is a great way to measure your progress as a speed reader, it is more important that you simply work in improving your reading skills without worrying about your actual rate. It is also vital that you also ensure that you continue to comprehend and understand the words you speed read.
If you have a WPM of 600 per minute but cannot remember anything you read or not understand what you just read then you are simply wasting your time and not speed reading. A second grade student reader who has a WPM rate of 50 who comprehends what he reads is more of a speed reader then someone who can bust out 400 words per minute (WPM) or more yet not be able to explain what they just read. Speed reading is a cool skill to have, but it is only cool if you are able to actually read and comprehend what you speed read.
Many speed readers will often use skimming if they are reading something such as newspaper or other book in which they are seeking specific information. If you are a college student and looking up an answer to a homework question and getting that answer is your only goal then you can speed read and implement skimming. Skimming allows you to simply focus on 1 or 2 keywords and skip read and comprehending the rest of the words UNTIL you find the keyword(s) that you are searching for.