8 Tips to Rapidly Increase Your Reading Speed

Reading is a highly effective way of increasing your knowledge. Books are quite amazing. Some of the most intelligent and capable people have chosen to write down what they know.

You can have access to this information without having to invest decades of your life. You can avoid all of the failures that come with having to learn that knowledge yourself.

All you have to do is spend a leisurely week reading a book! There’s no better deal in the world.

Of course, the faster you read, the more you can learn each week. Most adults read around 250 words per minute. Of course, the reading material impacts speed. Some things are easier to read than others.

With practice, 1,000 words per minute are definitely achievable! Some people can read many times faster than that.

If you value your time, your reading speed matters!

Try these strategies to increase your reading speed:

  1. Keep your eyes moving forward. One study that tracked eye movement showed that the average reader spends 30% of the time looking back over words they just read. That’s like taking seven steps forward and three steps back.
  • Be focused on making steady progress as you read. Keep your eyes moving in the right direction.
  1. Use fewer fixations per line. You might think that your eyes are moving smoothly across the page, but they aren’t. Your eyes actually stop and then look at one or more words and then move to another spot and look again. Faster readers take in more words at a time than slower readers.
  • See how many words you can see at one time and work on increasing that number.
  1. Spend less time per fixation. A fast reader uses few fixations per line, and they also spend less time on each fixation. Your eyes and brain can work very quickly together. If you concentrate, you can probably move along a line of text faster than you think.
  2. Test yourself. There are plenty of free reading speed tests online that will allow you to assess your reading speed. You can also set a timer and see how much you can read in a set amount of time, and then count the words you read.
  • Testing yourself regularly will allow you to see the progress you’re making.
  1. Practice reading faster than comfortable. If you can comfortably read 400 words per minute, force yourself to read 600 words per minute. The right speed for this practice should feel too fast. After two to three minutes of reading at this faster speed, you’ll find that 400 words per minute seem very easy. You’ll even find that 500 words per minute are tolerable.
  • Start and end each reading session with a few minutes of fast reading.
  1. Use your finger. Your teachers may have discouraged the practice of reading with your finger as a pointer, but they were wrong. Using a pointer, whether it be a pen or a finger, is actually a good technique for keeping your eyes in the right place and can increase speed. Allow your pointer to pull your eyes along the page.
  • It isn’t necessary to use a pointer all of the time.
  1. Concentrate. A quiet room with few distractions makes for faster reading. Reading at your highest speed requires a lot of concentration. Pay attention to what you’re doing and do your best to block out all distractions and stray thoughts.
  2. Read daily. The more frequently you practice, the quicker your speed will increase. It only takes a few minutes a day to see real progress.

The faster you can read, the more you can learn. If your job requires reading, you can get your work done faster. Most people read much slower than they’re capable of reading. All it takes is a few minutes of practice each day. You’ll be surprised how much faster you are in just a couple of weeks.

Sam E. Orum, ECP