Try This Ten Minute Speed Reading Course
The typical speed reading course is expensive and promises
something new. The truth is that most courses advise the same
basic strategies, which are laid out below. This little lesson
in itself can increase your reading speed dramatically if you
practice, and if you want to go further with your efforts there
is a recommendation following the article, for a course that
is affordable and efficient.
Step One: Learn Shortcuts
In most of the things you will read the important elements
are in the first and last parts of each paragraph. This is true
of this paragraph, for example. Thus, if you want to quickly
get the "meat" of the article or book or other piece
of writing, you can scan the paragraphs and focus on the first
and last sentences. In addition, important parts are often in
bullet points or lists. Thus, you can speed up your comprehension
of written works by scanning for highlighted, italicized and
otherwise emphasized parts.
Step Two: Expand Your Vision
Most of us habitually read a word at a time, but that isn't
the only way we can read. In fact, with a bit of practice we
can start to "see" and process whole phrases and sentences.
For this you need to work on your peripheral vision - your ability
to see and comprehend things to the right and left of where your
eyes are focused. You'll discover that when you no longer need
to move your eyes back and forth so much it's easier to read
at a faster pace.
Practicing this skill involves allowing your eyes to take
in a chunk of text or even a whole sentence all at one glance.
Try it right now as you read this and you'll find that you do
not actually need to move your eyes to see six or more words
at a time. Reading one word at a time is just a matter of habit.
Use your hand or fingers to help you do this. Slide your fingertips
down the middle of the page when reading, and keep your eyes
following them (the text just above them), while still taking
in the words to either side of your focus. Although this is more
difficult than the forced speed exercise, it really helps you
increase your speed, and you'll notice improvements if you work
on this for an hour or two.
Once you've practiced that a while, just put the two speed
reading techniques together. Now time yourself again as you read
ten pages of a book (preferably the same book but different pages).
As mentioned, a novel is probably best for these exercises. If
you have actually spent an hour or two of practicing these techniques
you should notice a substantial increase your reading speed.
Step Three: Force Your Speed
Forcing yourself to read faster is one of the primary techniques
you'll learn from most speed reading lessons. We can see and
process a lot more information than we realize, and more quickly
than you might suspect. The way to train yourself to do this
is to simply force yourself to read faster than normal. Practice
with a novel or other non-technical book. To control your pace,
you'll run your fingers down the pages as you read.
To test yourself and to see how much this kind of practice
can help, you should first read ten pages at your normal speed,
to see how long it takes. Time yourself using any watch or clock.
Don't worry about being too precise, because the difference between
your "before" and "after" reading speed will
be more than a few seconds.
After timing yourself at normal speed, force yourself to read
the next ten pages twice as fast. Do this by moving your hand
down those pages faster and following the page above your fingertips,
reading what you can at that speed. Do this "double speed"
reading several times, and then try it even faster.
Don't worry about comprehension at this point. The idea is
to train yourself to use a different pace when reading, and comprehension
will improve in time. Spend an hour reading extremely fast, trying
to catch all the words but without worrying about understanding
them. Do this and when you return to a more normal pace at which
you can comprehend what you're reading, you'll find that you
cannot help but read faster. Simply practicing speed alone changes
the "normal" pace of your reading.
These three steps are what the average speed reading course
will teach you. You can do this on your own as described here,
but there are advantages to having a full course. Many come with
recorded instruction, for example, and tell you when to turn
the page as you do the forced-speed exercise. This makes it much
easier to do the exercise consistently. A good low-cost course
is recommended below.
(I have used this course and found that it really
works. - Steve)