I started regularly reading books when I was in my teens.
It used to take me over an hour to read 30 pages.
Thinking I was born a slow reader, naturally I spent a lot of time trying to correct my problem. In pursuit of a normal reading speed (about 200 words per minute), speed reading experts such as Evelyn Woods, Tim Ferriss, and Peter Kump all became household names for me.
Now, it takes me 5-10mins to read 30 pages.
It seems odd to me that speed reading classes were once taught at college campuses across the USA all throughout the 1990s, only to dissipate as though reading well had lost its importance.
The good news is there’s a way to read significantly faster that won’t take you a semester to learn.
Here’s what to do:
The 1-2-3-4 Method
Most people read using the speed of their regular talking voice. This should be avoided at all costs. The 1-2-3-4 Method is a sub-vocalization technique that will allow you to focus on your reading speed and get out of your own head. As you go through the rest of this article, try to count 1, 2, 3, 4 in your head, and don’t focus on saying the words on the screen out loud. As you continue to use this method, eventually you’ll be able to stop counting and your WPM will be substantially higher.
[su_quote cite=”Franklin P. Jones”]One trouble with developing speed reading skills is that by the time you realize a book is boring you’ve already finished it. [/su_quote]
Another way to help boost your reading speed is to strengthen your peripheral vision. Draw two lines down the middle of a page vertically, like in the picture below. Try not to let the focus of your eyes go outside of the lines. This reduces the amount of scanning you need to do.
In the beginning, you may need to start with the lines about an inch away from the edge of the page. As you get better, start to narrow the two lines on the page, pulling them inwards from the edges. If practiced regularly, this trick will also raise your WPM significantly.
Test your reading speed by using the Spreed Chrome Extension. You can adjust the pace to find out what your current WPM is, and get a starting point. Need a place to practice your reading? Check out a few of our most viewed articles:
Or, if you’re looking for a new way to finish books altogether, Audible is an audiobook service that can really help you knock books off of your must-finish-list quickly. Sign up for a free 30-day trial below.
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