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How to improve your fast reading technique

There are several types of fast reading techniques. Here, we will focus on one of the most commonly used technique, which can be applied to exams.

Keep in mind that beyond the speed on your reading ability, you must focus on two key elements: comprehension and retention of what you have read.

You have two essential tools to achieve a correct reading speed: your eyes to see every word and sign of the text you're reading, and your mind to process each of these elements.

You usually move your eyes left to right when you read, scanning each word to complete a sentence so you can extract the idea given.

But if you start reading faster, you need to see and scan each entire sentence from left to right as quickly as you can. This exercise should help you improve this technique. The more you practice, the better you will be at reading fast.

To achieve this, you must create new habits around the way you read:

1. Focus on reading in your mind:

This means you should avoid sub-vocalization, which is the soft movement of lips while pronouncing the words you read. Start with short texts and increase their size once you are comfortable.

2. Determine your baseline: 

A useful way to know how much you have improved your fast reading skills is to establish a baseline of the amount of time you spend reading. Because it's difficult to know how many words you read per minute, it is better to track the total reading time.

The average time to read a page is 5 to 10 minutes, but in speed reading this time is reduced to 2 to 3 minutes. From this point, you can push yourself to improve your reading technique.

3. Follow your reading: 

In order to understand what you are reading, it is important to not miss any words. If you skip an important word, you have to go back to the text, which may cause confusion about what you have understood up to this point.

4. Minimize your eye movement:

Unconsciously, you move your eyes through lines of text word by word. Instead of doing this, try to move your head from left to right to follow your reading while keeping your gaze static. Once your eyes are moving correctly by sweeping over what they're seeing, you will have a full view per line and increase your speed efficiency.

5. Eliminate unimportant words:

There are words like connectors that despite giving fluency to the text don’t contribute much to the general idea given. If you skip these types of words, you’ll still be able to understand what you’re reading.

6. Use technology to improve this skill:

There are plenty of apps and websites that can help you to practice.

Some free apps and websites include:

  • Speed reading:
    This is a free app available for Android. It offers practice exercises in addition to teaching fast reading techniques.
  • Speed reading: the best!:
    This is another free app for Android that offers different simulators for learning speed reading, as well as memorizing numbers.
  • Focus - Speed Reading:
    This app, available only on iOS, lets you practice with articles, books, and several types of text so you can get a well-rounded approach to daily life texts.
  • ReadSpeeder.com:
    This website works on each element of your speed reading technique. You just need to sign in to track your history.

Keep in mind that you can add skimming and scanning techniques because they complement each other.

Don’t be afraid of failing while you practice. Achieving a perfect rhythm for speed reading consists of practicing as much as you can.

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