15 June 2017

Tutorial for Students: How to Master Speed Reading

Learning speed reading is of great importance to students as it enables them to cover, comprehend, and retain the huge chunks of study material and in turn, obtain good grades. On average, the majority of people read at about 200 to 400 words per minute. 

Mastering this skill will enable you to become a better reader as you will be able to take in more information faster and retain more of it.
There are several vital speed reading techniques listed below that one can learn and employ in their reading in order to improve their reading speeds. These skills can help students improve their reading rate and attain success with the little time that they have to read a lot of material.

Meta Guiding

This is one of the oldest speed reading techniques and involves the use of one’s figure or a pointer to guide your eyes to specific words. With Meta guiding, the eye is able to move faster along the length of a passage or text and in turn, helps avoid visual regression that slows one’s reading speed. By speeding up visual cortex and increasing your visual span, you are able to take in a whole line and easily imprint the information into your subconscious.


The skimming process enables one to visually search sentences for clues or meaning. It entails skipping information or words that seem unnecessary thereby allowing you to cover a wide section of reading. This, in turn, enables you to read fast and save time by not dwelling on unnecessary information.

Chunk Reading

Chunking words together in blocks enables one read faster by expanding the number of words being covered at a time. It also helps the brain easily understand the words and sentences, and comprehend the overall structure of a sentence.

The important step to reading more effectively is to first break your poor reading habits. Poor reading habits such as reading word by word, visual regression, and vocalization greatly slow one’s reading speed. 

You can break these habits by reading larger chunks of words, using your finger or a pen as a pointer to avoid re-reading, chewing gum to avoid vocalization and avoiding distractions in order to obtain maximum concentration.

When you get your study material, read the table of contents, the review, and chapter summaries as these are among the most important contents the author wants you to get out of their text and helps give your brain a quick overview and awareness of what the material is all about.

Tips to Help You Master Speed Reading

1. Read In A Conducive Environment

A good environment will enable you to obtain maximum concentration span. A quite place with proper lighting and minimum distraction will help improve your reading speed. Ensure you have a good study table and chair to avoid fatigue. This also helps you stay alert for a long period of time.

2. Carry Out Your Reading Early In The Day

By reading early in the day, you gain improved concentration and increased comprehension. This is because the brain is usually fresh, relaxed, and has maximum concentration span early in the morning. You could easily double your reading speed as the brain is clear and sharp. Take some time each night to do a small write up of your plans for the next day - it is a good way to motivate you to start your day early. 

3. Prioritize Your Reading

Categorize your material according to the level of importance and difficulty. You can have them into three categories, important, moderate important and less important. Then, read them according to their importance starting with the most important ones. Slowly ease the brain’s burden with moderate and less moderate material as the day goes by and the mind tires off.

4. Familiarize Yourself With The Reading Material

Speed reading is more than just quickly skimming through pages. It’s a technique and thus needs to be properly mastered in order to achieve maximum results. You need to get familiar with the reading contents to help the brain form a mental map of your reading material, just like a travel map. Examine the book’s table of contents, chapter headings, book summary etc. to enable your subconscious mind to know how to identify and make sense out of the rapid flow of information.

5. Skim Through Your Reading Materials First

Skimming through your material enables you to get a sense of what’s important and of interest to you and helps you gather the most important information. It also enables you to know where to and what you might skip. This enables you to focus on the important sections that you need to understand and remember and skip the rest. Writing down the main areas of interest goes hand in hand with this. 

6. Form Questions To Answer As You Read

You can turn topics, headings, and subheadings into questions and try scanning your material for the answers. This will help you improve your reading speed, comprehension and understanding and help you maintain focus.

7. Have A Flexible Reading Speed

Establish a flexible reading speed depending on the type of reading material. For example, a complex subject requires maximum concentration and keenness in order for you to grasp the concepts. Materials like contracts and legal documents must be read slowly and carefully.

8. Time Your Reading Speed

Have a track of your progress by timing yourself each time you try out these skills. This will enable you to know your pace and you’ll be in a position to set your goals.

9. Avoid Highlighting

Contrary to common belief, highlighting doesn’t improve a reader’s speed and comprehension! Instead, it tends to make the mind postpone the highlighted parts and as a result, you end up reading the content twice.

10. Write Brief Summaries

Writing brief notes and summaries helps you avoid re-reading all your materials immediately after reading each piece of correspondence. This helps you increase your reading speed and understanding by simply referring to your brief notes and summaries.

11. Learn Speed Reading Techniques

There are a number of speed reading resources, books, blogs and classes out there that can help you easily learn and master speed reading. You can enroll to speed reading classes where you get to be taught by a speed reading expert who will be able to analyze and teach you techniques best suited for you

Key Points to Take Note for Success in Your Speed Reading
  • Ensure that you carry out regular practice in order to improve
  • Have appropriate reading speed for each type of material.
  • First, break out the bad reading habits in order to fully benefit with speed reading
  • You must always be aware of the purpose of your reading and apply the appropriate technique for it. Also, note that not all instances require speed reading!

Speed reading is great technique as it gives you the ability to read many words in a short time. It is important that you truly get to understand the words you read. There is no secret formula to mastering speed reading skills and nothing can stop you, as anyone can easily do it. 

When applied correctly and practiced diligently, significant improvements and overall effectiveness in your reading skills can be achieved. This, in turn, can help you save precious time. 

What really matters is learning the skills and practicing them frequently. Mastering the golden rules for speed reading will help you as a student attain success in your academics with speed reading.

Author's Bio:

Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students. Currently, Richard works as a general blog editor for ProWritersCenter. Follow him on  Twitter and Facebook

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