Wednesday, April 6, 2011

3 Tips For Speed Reading

Speed reading can change the way you research, evaluate, and how you read for pleasure. Contrary to popular belief, comprehension increases when you read faster. I read How To Read a Book a few years ago, and there are a few tips in that book that have stuck with me and helped me to read faster.

1. Don't focus on the lines of words, but the white space between the lines.

2. Don't focus on each word. Try using just two focal points, one near the beginning of each line and one near the end. You will be surprised how easy it is to read this way.

3. Force yourself to read faster. Use your finger to follow the words as you read them, and gradually increase the speed that you move your finger until you cannot keep up. Continue reading until your eyes learn to keep up with your finger.

Bonus Tip: Do not read non-fiction like you read fiction. If you don't use different reading techniques for different genres, I can promise that you are missing out. Pick up How To Read A Book for some great information on reading different genres.

Bonus Tip 2: Go to and take a free speed reading test. I have never used their software, but you should be able to rank yourself here and see what you can improve.

How many words a minute do you read? I am at 412 words per minute on the computer test with 91% comprehension. Feels a little harder to read on a screen like this than the words on a page. What speed are you at? Have any other tips to share that have helped increase your speed?


  1. 266 WPM/ 91% comprehension. Interesting exercise!

  2. Great tips. I have had How to Read a Book on my wish list for a while now, but it just moved up. I got 815wpm with 91% comprehension. Thanks for the link.

  3. I just picked up a pick called Break-Thru Rapid Reading. Six week course on increasing your reading speed . . . I'll let you know what I think when I'm done!

  4. 815 words is great! Have you taken any speed reading courses or read any books on it? Just naturally a fast reader?

  5. I've always been a fast reader, but I did read a book on speed reading years ago and picked up a few tips similar to the ones you posted. I'm currently experimenting with reading in different media formats. I know I read a bit slower on the computer than in print form, but I'm finding I actually read faster on my Kindle, because I can adjust the text width and font size to an optimal level for me. I need to test sometime to get an exact number of WPM.

  6. That's a great way to use the Kindle that I had not thought of yet. I'm still a holdout on the Kindle, I just enjoy reading a physical book so much and having a copy in my library. Maybe once they include a free digital copy when you buy a physical book, I'll break down and get one.

  7. I straddle the worlds of print and digital, with one foot firmly planted in each. I still have a steady flow of books pouring into my house, both from ones I purchase and the books I receive for book reviews. I resisted the move to digital until I started downloading classics from Project Gutenberg. I hate extensive reading on the computer, but can't resist the lure of thousands of free books. So, I both line my walls with bookshelves full of books and fill my Kindle with digital texts. I haven't worked my way up to curling up with the Kindle on a rainy day though.