Are you a slow reader? Me too. Or at least I was (I’m improving!). I scoured the internet to learn how to read faster and better, but many of the tricks don’t really work.
Only a couple of tricks stuck and I will tell you about those. You will also learn other ways that you can improve your reading speed and comprehension. Hopefully, one of them will stick for you.
In order to make this blog the best it can be, I have to read more. In fact, that is one reason I started this blog. It is kind of like motivation.
But having a blog wasn’t enough to make me read more because I was so slow at it! Now, I have gotten to where I can read 100 pages a day or more and I can get through all those books sitting on my shelf and the ones that are on my TBR list.
Believe it or not, before I started this blog and even in the beginning, I couldn’t read 100 pages a day. It simply took too long. With the tricks I am about to discuss with you, you will be able to read 100 pages a day or more just like I do! Plus, I even have a little freebie for you as well to help!
This first trick to learning how to read fast might be daunting, but it has really helped. The more you read, the faster you will get. Practice makes perfect after all.
Since I started this blog, I have read more books in the past two months than I did in the past year! I’d say that is some improvement. There is a downfall to the read more method though.
You can get burnt out. So, to help, I want to remind you that reading is supposed to be enjoyable. Only read the books that really interest you.
If you read a book and you don’t like it, put it down! It’s okay to DNF (did not finish) a book. Go through your bookshelf and find the books that are the most interesting to you and start reading them!
What better motivation than to compete against yourself. You can challenge yourself by:
- Setting a page minimum for the day
- 10 pages/day
- Setting a word minimum for the day
- Ex. 100 words/day
- Telling yourself you will read so many books in a timeframe
- Ex. 5 books in 30 days
You could also challenge someone you know that likes to read, be it your partner, friend, sibling, or anyone really. It’s a fun way to get you to read more and to find more time in the day to read because after all, you probably think you don’t have the time to enjoy a wonderful book (more on this in a minute).
If you can’t think of a challenge, then use mine. I have a 30 day reading challenge for you so you can get to reading at least 100 pages every day. Give it a go and see how you do!
Don’t Set A Designated Time To Read
Many people think that if they set a time of the day to read every day that they will read more. I tried this, and it didn’t work for me. If you set it at night, you could trick your brain into viewing reading as a bedtime routine. This will start to make you feel sleepy and you won’t get as far as you want in your book.
If you set it in the morning, you are limiting how long you can read as you will have to stop to get ready for the day, go to work, or take care of the kids. Setting a designated time is a pleasant idea, but it just doesn’t pan out the way you think it will.
Instead, read when you notice you have the chance. This will not only make you more aware of your schedule, but also help you read more. You might find time in the morning one day only to find that the next day you have time after lunch or right before bed. For most people, every day is different, so your reading schedule would be too!
Follow Along With Your Finger Or A Pen
This is the ultimate tip if you want to learn how to read faster and better! This has helped me tremendously and is honestly my favorite tip to you. It’s my favorite because it works the best for me. I don’t remember where I learned it but I found out that when you read you actually end up rereading the sentence you are on without noticing it, which slows you down (I believe it is called back-skipping).
So, say you are on the word that is in bold in this sentence. What actually happens is you read that word, but your eyes look back to the rest of the sentence and then continue on to the next word. It’s natural and everyone does it.
But this slows you down quite a bit. It’s also the reason you sometimes get lost on where you are on the page.
When you read by following along with your finger or a pen, you are forcing your eyes to focus on the word your finger is on, thus speeding up how much you read and improving your concentration. Once you get used to doing this (and it does take some getting used to) start speeding up how fast your finger/pen moves along the page. You’ll find that you can keep up and you’ll start reading even faster! Neat trick, huh?
The only problem I have with this is that it isn’t as easy to do with electronic books like PDFs, eBooks, and kindle books (there is another way to read too, believe it or not). But, if you have a physical copy of a book that you are reading, this is the perfect learning tool to read faster.
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This is big too. When you read, do you move your lips as if quietly saying or pronouncing the words you’re reading? Or are you saying the words in your head? If so, you are sub-vocalizing and this can slow you down exponentially.
From now on, read and keep your mouth closed. And, don’t read with an inner monologue. I promise your mind can comprehend the words without you pronouncing them or reading aloud!
This is probably a habit for those of you that do it but make yourself aware and every time you notice yourself doing it, just stop for a second and then try reading again. Once you get used to reading only in your head, you will notice your reading speed picking up!
This is bizarre, but it will help you to read faster and better. Even though, it may not seem like it at first. Once you have finished reading a book, go back and read it again.
You will get through it faster the second time around and you will become a better reader for it too. Rereading a book helps you read faster because you already know what happens and because you are reading more.
Remember the first trick I spoke about? Yeah, reading one book twice is just like reading two books. So, the more you read, the faster you get! Yay, two tips in one!
Rereading also helps with comprehension because since you already know what’s going to happen, you can pay attention to things you didn’t notice the first time around. You might pick up on foreshadowing, or appreciate a clever sentence, or learn an unfamiliar word you brushed by the first time.
Rereading allows you to comprehend the book more than you could have the first time. It’s like when you watch a movie for the second time and you think hey, I never noticed that before. Yup, the same thing happens in books too.
Okay, this is my last tip to you. Annotate (write your thoughts as you are reading). This tip isn’t really to help you with reading faster, but on reading better.
When you annotate as you read, you are focusing on the story, the writing, and more. Your thoughts can be reactions to the story, defining a word you didn’t know before, thoughts about what will happen next, things you like and dislike as you go along. It can be absolutely anything!
Annotating will help you learn more about the book and the author, and you may find you have a stronger opinion of the book once you are finished. I try to do this with every book I read. If it is an online version, this is really simple because you can just highlight and add a comment.
If it is a physical book, you can keep a notebook or write in the book like I do (you probably won’t like hearing that I do that). How you decide to annotate is completely up to you!
Let’s Talk About It!
Today I gave you 7 tips on how to read faster and better. These include:
- Read More
- Challenge Yourself
- Don’t Set A Designated Time To Read
- Follow Along With Your Finger Or Pen
- Don’t Sub-vocalize
These tips work for me and hopefully some will work for you.
Which one of these tips will you try? Let me know in the comments below.
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Hi! I am a book blogger primarily. The aim of this blog is to help readers and writers alike. I also write the occasional travel related post. I am a nerd like you with a passion for neuroscience and learning. Hence, my love for books and the authors who write those books!