Speed Reading Tips

I originally blogged about speed reading tips and since so many people request them, I decided to start listing them here.

Here’s an astounding fact – readers make more money – a lot more! Even in tough economic times. According to a number of recent studies, business people who read at least seven business books a year earn over 2.3 times more than those who read only one book per year. Why? One reason is they have a constant flow of new ideas and strategies they can use to help their careers, their teams and their companies. A study by Bersin & Associates found that while 74.9% of all managers understand the correlation between reading and competitive advantage, they simply don’t have the time to read more books. The problem … who has time to do all that reading? The solution… Learn to speed read! It’s easy and guaranteed!

College students are often shocked by the incredible amount of reading that has to be completed. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall behind on your assignments. Use these 25 speed reading secrets to keep up with all the reading you need to do for school.

  1. Remember your motivation: When reading, keep in mind why it’s important for you to read what’s at hand.
  2. Read early in the day: Many students are able to improve their reading speed and concentration by reading important material early on in the day.
  3. Read with a pointer: Use a pointer to get your eyes to follow along quickly.
  4. Never reread: Don’t go back to reread-you’ll only mess up the flow of reading.
  5. Pick and choose: If you think you’re reading something that’s not really important, quickly move on to material that’s more essential.
  6. Read like it matters: Pay attention and avoid reading in a passive way.
  7. Use your hand to set the pace: With your right hand, use different methods like the hand, card, sweep, hop, and zig zag to guide your eyes to important information.
  8. Practice regulating your speed: Learn how to speed up or slow down your reading depending on your needs.
  9. Read in small chunks: You don’t have to commit hours at a time to reading-fit it into your day in small chunks.
  10. Cut down on distractions: Reduce distractions to a bare minimum to improve your speed.
  11. Get a preview: Warm up with your material by looking at headings, subheadings, the introduction, and conclusion.
  12. Avoid fidgeting: If you’re succumbing to nervous habits, you can break your concentration.
  13. Work on your vocabulary: Build up your vocabulary so that you won’t have to pause for unfamiliar works.
  14. Avoid vocalization: Don’t read the material aloud-it will slow you down significantly.
  15. Seek answers to your questions: Make your reading more active and retain information better by questioning your reading.
  16. Skim: Pick out the most important information before you actually read the text.
  17. Ask to be left alone: Let others know that you’re trying to read, and should not be bothered.
  18. Change your speed: Adjust your speed based on the difficulty and importance of what you’re reading.
  19. Read through punctuation: Don’t pause for periods, commas, and other punctuation to speed things up a bit.
  20. Highlight and underline minimally: Stay focused on only the most important details-highlighting and underlining tends to be a procrastination tool.
  21. Write down your thoughts: Use a notepad to write down thoughts or questions that you can address later, allowing you to focus on reading.
  22. Read in phrases: Do your reading in chunks of words rather than individual ones.
  23. Limit your time: By giving yourself less time, you’ll train yourself to read faster.
  24. Take breaks when necessary: Take breaks from reading if you find your focus slipping.
  25. Don’t subvocalize: Just like reading aloud, speaking the words in your mind takes extra time.

3 Responses to “Speed Reading Tips”

  • Hello Dr. Dussault,

    I have purchased your book and speed learning video seminar, and i must thank you for the eye-opening material you have provided in them.

    How do i really focus on my homework for an hour or so, and work on it without getting distracted (daydreaming, internet surfing etc). I’ve noticed that this is the only “big” problem of mine, that i have not fully solved.


    Frank Coutinho

    • Hi Frank,

      As I mention in both my study book and speed learning video program, concentration of focus is important. What you need to do is study by OBJECTIVE and NOT TIME. What that means is that if you have to work on solving math problems and on THAT day/night they go well and you finish quickly, then STOP and move on to the next task. A loss of attention means you are probably bored because you’re “wasting” time on something you already know.

      Of course this is a judgment call and I am not advocating you switch every 5 minutes.

      What I am promoting is SWITCHING from study for an hour to studying until X is done, whether it takes 20 minutes or 90.

      As you get better at doing this, you will spend MORE time on what you have difficulty with and that will help you focus AND you will get better grades!

      Good luck and keep me/us posted on your breakthroughs!

      Dr Marc Dussault

  • sir i have only one month for my main exams but i,m not thorough with my subjects and easily distracted. how to increase my focus and manage my time for studies and tests.

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