Category Archives: Speed Reading

Speed Reading

Dear All,


In this post we shall be discussing about how to increase your reading speed to four folds. If you are reading at a speed of 50 words/minute you can easily increase it to 200-300 words/minute. Expert readers can read at a speed of 800-1000 words/ minute.

Factors hindering our reading speed

  1. Vocalization : is the mouthing of the words while reading.
  2. Sub-Vocalization : It is similar to vocalization. There is no lip movement and sounding of words, but one keeps on saying the words deep within himself.
  3. Head Movements : One of the most common habit is moving the head along the lines as one read the lines. Head movements tends to reduce the speed of the eye movements.
  4. Word to word reading : The habit of looking and reading each word separately also slows the reading speed.
  5. Regressions : Regression is the backward movement of the eyes along the line of the reading. This means a students is re-reading a word or a phrase or a line.
  6. Poor Concentration : This involves reading while our mind is pre-occupied or distracted by something else. We are reading but on the back of our mind some other thoughts are going on.
  7. Inefficient Distance : This involves reading the text at an inappropriate distance which causes hindrance in reading.
  8. Fixations : It is, how much time we give or for how much time your eyes fix on each word. To illustrate this : consider the following sentence Our biggest expansion opportunity will come from volume licencing in Japan

    A slow reader may move their eyes across the following sentence as follows. Each fixation is represented symbolically by a left and right parenthesis pair.

    (our) (big)(gest) (ex)(pan)(sion) (op)(port)(tunity) (will) (come) (from) (vol)(ume) (lic)(en)(cing) (in) (Jap)(an).

    This reading example describes 20 eye movements and 20 eye fixations i.e. 40 different eye operations.

    A fast reader may read the sentence as shown below:

    (our biggest expansion) (opportunity will come) (from volume licensing) (in Japan). Reading this text takes a proficient reader four eye movements, four eye fixations, and eight eye operations. This is five times less work than a slow reader, requiring much less effort, with better speed and higher comprehension resulting.

Speed reading is to eliminate some previous habits while reading and to strengthen the capacities of the assimilation of information by the human brain.

The question is how ?

We have been reading from our childhood, the way we were taught in the school. Our teachers have trained us to speak loudly when we read so that we become familiar with those words.

There isn’t anything wrong to this method of learning.  In fact it’s very effective for first-time readers and it’s the way most kids are still taught today.  Once you learn all of the sounds, you can apply that knowledge to pronounce any word.

The problem is, this technique, which has become a habit, limits how fast you can read.  We call this habit sub-vocalization and when you do it, you engage not only your eyes and your brain, but also your mouth and your ears.

Here’s what happens when you sub-vocalize:

  • Your eyes are busy seeing the words
  • Your mouth is busy saying the words your eyes see.  You’re either moving your lips or saying the words in your mind.  Those are the voices inside your head.
  • When you say something your ears naturally want in on the action so they tune in to hear what you are saying.
  • While your eyes, mouth and ears are doing all that work, your brain is busy trying to make sense of all of the input it’s receiving.  Your brain helps you understand what you read.

As you can see, that’s a lot of work!  And it’s also very inefficient.

How do you break the sub-vocalization habit?

One simple way is to preoccupy your mouth.  When you give your mouth something else to do while you read, you can disengage the speech mechanism in the brain, allowing what your read to go straight to your conscious awareness rather than being slowed down by your brain needing to figure out how to say the words first.

Ever hear the saying, you can’t talk and chew gum?  Next time you read, stick a piece of gum in your mouth.  Chewing gum occupies your vocal cords and helps keep your brain from pronouncing the words you read.  Humming can do the same thing.

The second problem that we have to eliminate while reading is :

Regression (backtracking)

Regression is the unnecessary re-reading of material. It is possible get into the habit of skipping back to words you have just read or of jumping back a few sentences, just to make sure that you read something right. When you regress like this, you lose the flow and structure of the text, and your overall understanding of the subject can decrease. Be very conscious of regression, and don’t allow yourself to re-read material unless you absolutely have to.

To reduce the number of times your eyes skip back, run a pointer (a finger, a pen, or the cursor) along the line as you read. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, helping you avoid skipping back. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer.

Thirdly head movement should synchronize with eye tracking

There are two types of eye movements:

  1. Pursuits—following moving objects.
  2. Saccades—looking from one object to another. This is the type of eye movement that is used in reading.

Normal eye movements of skilled readers consist of a series of fixations and saccadic eye movements.

Proper eye tracking when reading can both improve fluency and cut down on careless mistakes.

In the next factor, we discuss how to remove the word to word reading habit : The best way to do is to concentrate or fixate on block of letters or words and read them.

Poor Concentration can be improved by avoiding T.V, music in the background and stay away from loud & noisy environment.

Lastly for Inefficient Distance maintain about 2 feet distance from the study material.

Is It Possible to Read 20,000+ Words Per Minute?

All the Best

Happy Practising

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