If wading through pounds of junk mail, newspapers and office memos is slowing you down, consider this.

Speed ReadingCredit: theepochtimes.com

Many college, and even some high school students, have such busy schedules but they are expected to read volumes of information in textbooks.  A business professional is expected to keep on the run but also in the know!  How can you keep up with all of the reading that is expected of you?  To compound the problem we now have emails, social networking, and cell phone texting to add to the mix.

You can double your reading rate (from 250 to 500 words per minute) and retain a high degree of comprehension by developing speed-reading skills.

Take a speed-reading course (generally 10 weeks or 20 hours) for the ultimate best way to learn how to speed up your reading.  If you are in a profession where you will be expected to read a lot of information on a regular basis, then this might be your best option.  This isn’t always possible though and for the average “busy” person who just has more to read than they have time for there are some great techniques that can speed up how much they can get done. 

Here is a list of a few great techniques that are used in speed-reading classrooms to help the linear reader – those who read line by line – speed up their reading rates.


For whatever you are reading, this technique will help boost up your speed.  By placing your finger two to four lines below the line you are reading and moving your finger from line to line, left to right, in a smooth sweeping motion down the page, you are forcing yourself to read faster.  Or you can place an index card over the sentences you have already read.  This method hurries you through the coming sentences and also prevents your eyes from wandering and sneaking back up and rereading a sentence.  This is a problem that many experience, especially when attention isn’t 100% on the material.

Phrase Reading

This method is best suited for pleasure reading.  Reach each line but, rather than reading each and every word, pick out phrases.  Pick out just enough to give you the meaning of the whole paragraph.  We often do this when we receive an email or business memo that we aren’t sure we want to waste our time on but we know we are expected to read it. 

Key Word Reading

You will find this method is best suited for technical textbook reading.   If you are a college student, this will be very good for you to learn.  Pick out key words and phrases, such as “insulation R26,” and skip over the rest.  You will get the gist of the main idea by doing this.

Center-of-the-Column Reading

Start with a newspaper, and begin reading straight down the middle of the column, letting your eyes take in a few words to the left and right of the center.  This type of reading involves stretching your vision span.


Use this specific skill when you need specific information and details from what you are reading.  Train your eyes to read in a pattern such as zigzag and S-shape, two of the most common patterns used in scanning.  This way you can pick out important phrases and details quickly. 


When you need only a general outline from the material, skim quickly through the sentences and paragraphs, picking out ideas along the way.  It if seems important, you can read portions of the text more carefully, and then move on. 

Learning to speed-read can free up much of your time that can be better used on other projects!