A reader gains knowledge from various reading material from different sources.
In today’s times, the digital world is full of information and knowledge.
If you’re not a reader, you will miss out on all the information that is available out there.
Most successful people read. They gain knowledge by reading a lot of books. Reading will give you immense knowledge and knowledge cannot be stolen or taken away by anyone. Once you form the habit of reading, give yourself a target to read a certain number of books in a month or year.
Once you start reading, you will not regret this habit. If you enjoy reading, you can read a good number of books in a year through speed reading techniques.
The skill of reading at a fast pace can be developed with regular practice and patience. Speed reading is reading at a faster pace than the average reading speed. The average reading speed is 200 to 250 words per minute. A person who can read at a faster pace can read around 400 to 1200 words per minute.
Well, if you’re an average pace reader, you too can work on your speed. Speed reading is all about practice.
Check this infographic to learn more about speed reading:
For those who love reading and have a target to read a certain number of books in a month or year, apply speed reading techniques to increase your reading speed.
Did you know you can read a book in an hour?
Yes, that’s right, in 1 hour! As a beginner, start with a non-fiction book. Once you gain confidence, apply the speed reading techniques to books of different genres.
Let’s first begin by testing how many words you can read in a minute.
- Set the timer for 1 minute
- Read for a minute
- Stop reading once the timer goes off
- Now, count the number of words you have read
The total number of words you have read in a minute is your reading speed. Once you know your speed, you can practice increasing the pace through various speed reading techniques.
There are a few things you need to remember while speed reading, they are:
- Avoid sub-vocalization – As a child, we learned to read aloud so that the teacher can correct our pronunciations. Gradually, we stopped reading aloud. However, we got used to reading every word in our head. When we read every word in our head, we are slowing down our reading speed. Reading each word in our head is called sub-vocalization. When you pick a book or article to read, go through the sentence than sounding each word in your head. It's a difficult habit to break as we have programmed our head to read every word in our mind. Even though breaking this habit is a difficult task, it is not impossible. It is achievable through regular practice.
- Avoid vision regression – Vision regression is your eye moving back and forth. Your eye movements go back and forth when you feel you missed out on something or you have misread something. If you give your complete attention on what you’re reading, you will be able to read without going back and forth. A trick that you can use to avoid vision regression is, cover what you’ve already read. Use a book or cardboard and cover what you’re reading as you read further. When you cover, you will not go back to read again. Also, since you’re covering what you have already read, you will not miss out on reading a line or sentence.
- Avoid too many pauses – Avoid pausing at every full stop and commas. In speed reading, you have to understand the commas and full stops to comprehend information. However, you don’t have to pause when you see a comma or full stop. You can continue to glance through the information and comprehend them.
Once you avoid sub-vocalization, vision regression, and long pauses, you will realize you have broken the traditional method of reading. Now let's pick up a book and see how we can complete it in an hour.
Examine the cover of the book
The front cover, back cover, and the title of the book will give you an idea of the book. If the book has a book jacket, it will give you valuable information about the book. The book jacket may give you information about the author, summary of the book and at times it will also include critical praise from celebrities and other book authorities.
It is important to know what the book is about before you start reading. Once you’re mentally prepared, it becomes easy to dive into the book.
Work through the table of contents
Familiarise yourself with the table of contents. The table of contents will give you an idea of the flow of the book. You will also understand the flow of information from one chapter to another. You can make a note of which chapter will be important. Invest your time accordingly to read through important chapters and skim through the chapters that are not so important.
Go through the review of the book
Read a few reviews of the book. Reviews of the book are available online. You can go through a few of them. Once you read through the reviews, you will know what the book is all about. In the future, you can decide if you want to invest your time in reading a specific book or not. A review can pique your interest in a book or help you to choose the right book for you.
Read the first few chapters and last few chapters
The first few chapters contain important information about the book. You will get to know most about the book in the first 10 to 15 chapters. The last few chapters will give you the conclusion of the book. It will sum up all the important information that the author has covered up in the book.
Skim through the rest of the book
Skimming is a speed reading technique. Read the first line and the last line of a paragraph, then glance through important words, dates, and follow your intuition to read certain words in the paragraph.
The first line is an introduction of the topic discussed in the paragraph, and the last line will give you a sum up of the paragraph. Then scanning through the rest of the paragraph will help you understand what the author wants to convey. You can skim through a paragraph in no time. It is quick, and you will also understand what the author wants to convey without investing too much time reading every word.
Skimming requires regular practice. It is difficult to skim through a paragraph or page if you're at the initial stage of learning to speed read. Once you understand how to skim through a book, you can read a good number of books in lesser time. It will become a second nature for you to skim read through books, documents, and other articles.
Learn more about speed reading from Tim Ferris:
To learn how to speed read, you should practice regularly. You should keep your cool and patience while practicing as it takes time to achieve your desired pace. When you start practicing, aim the speed you want to achieve.
Read a book daily by timing yourself. Check your reading speed at the end of your reading session. Always try to read an additional paragraph or page more than what you have read the previous day.
Speed reading a book after regular practice is not difficult. Once you understand what the book is all about, it is easy to dive into the book. When you pick a book, always have a purpose or a goal in mind. A book will interest you, if you’re reading to learn something or if you’re reading for pleasure. If you have no goal, it will be difficult to stay interested in a book.
The first 3 – 5 minutes can be spent in going through the front cover, back cover, title of the book and book jacket (if any). Then going through the review of the book will take another 5 – 7 minutes.
After reading the review, if you’re still interested in reading the book, go through the first few chapters and last few chapters of the book which will take around 15 minutes. In the first few minutes, you will get an idea of what the author wants to convey through the book.
The table of content will give you an awareness which chapters are important. Going through the table of contents will take another 3 minutes. Skip the rest of the chapters or scan through the pages to see if you’re not missing anything important. Read the chapters which you feel are important.
However, remember to skim through the chapters so that you don’t invest too much time reading every word and pausing at every full stop. Skimming and scanning through the rest of the book will take around 15 to 20 minutes. Through these steps, you can finish a book within an hour.
Even though it is possible to read a book in an hour, keep in mind,
- To be realistic. If the book is quite enormous, it will take a couple of hours or more for you to finish the book. If you skim and scan through the book, you can still finish in an hour. However, if you want to indulge in the book, there is no harm in taking a bit longer.
- Don’t push yourself too far to finish a book in a stipulated time. Keep a time limit, however, enjoy reading the book too.