10 Minutes to Double Your Reading Speed

many books to speed read

I love to speed read!

Speed reading is a stunning experience.

It is great to deal with all that material you need  for your work/study/hobby in a short amount of time. But what is even better is the sensation it produces on you.

Can you understand how joyful is to sit down with a new book and read it completely within two/three hours? That pushes the experience of book reading to another level! You feel like you are really absorbing the book content, and a sensation of accomplishment fullfills you at the end.

Now you want it? Then you need to train speed reading techniques.

Let’s start today with the basics. Today’s technique will allow you to double your reading speed by just changing the way you read. It takes 10 minutes to learn the technique. Very easy. However it takes a several of books to master it. That is why first, we are going to explain the technique, and then, the workout you need to make the technique yours. Forever.

The Technique

Here is how you proceed:

  • First, you need to change your reading habit from reading sequentially to chunk reading. This means, instead of reading one word after another you need to read groups of words in a single eye shot.

Every eye shot should correspond to a jump between reading points of the line. You have to do as many jumps per line as you need in order to cover the whole line.

  • A good starting point is doing three jumps per line (in the future as you increase your speed you can move to two jumps per line). Since a line may have between 10 to 15 words, three jumps require you to read about four/five words per eye shot.

While you are reading, for each group of four/five words, select a point in the middle of them as the point of jump. Jump with your eyes to those points consecutively as you move along the line. Do not read the words along the movement from point to point. Just jump to the point of jump and then read in the blink of an eye the whole group of words. I know! Is difficult at the beginning, but just keep doing it!

  • To facilitate jumps, use your finger or pencil to select a point of jump in the line. Put the pencil at the selected point of jump and grab in a single eye shot the two words before that point and the two others after. You should be able to read in one single eye blink the four-five words around that reading point. If you are not able, do not worry, you will get there with practice.
  • Use a metronome to indicate you the moment at which you should perform the next jump (see a list of metronome programs for smartphones or computers at the end of the post). Select the BPM speed that makes you feel comfortable and start reading at that pace. Comfortable rates are the ones that allow you to jump and capture the words without reading them sequentially.
  • Once you feel comfortable with the technique of moving the pencil, remove it and train without it just selecting the reading points with your own eyes.
  • Regression means going back into the text to check that what you read is correct. This is one of the main problems people faces when reading. Going continuously back to make sure that you read correctly decreases the speed in several orders of magnitude. This is a habit that is easily avoidable by just paying attention to yourself during the first trainings. Just trust yourself that you have read and understood correctly the text on the first time and keep moving forward.

Just by applying those points you should have doubled already your reading speed.

You will feel like your comprehension of the read text is very low. Do not worry, comprehension will arrive once you forget about the technique and read without thinking about it.

This follows the same process as when you started learning to read for the first time. At the beginning you needed all you concentration to recognize the letters and groups of them, but as you mastered the identification of words, your comprehension started to build up. With speed reading it happens exactly the same. The only thing that you have to do is to practice.

Very important: from now on, use the explained technique to read anything.


The Workout

Only with practice you will embed the technique into yourself and actually increase your speed. So let’s go with the workout!

First, select some reading material. For training, it has to be on paper. Avoid reading material that is not formatted in long lines (between 12 to 17 words per line).

Examples of  materials with wrong format are magazines, newspapers or most news webpages. Perfect materials for training are books that do not contain images (like for example a novel).

Furthermore, since your level of comprehension is still low, try to avoid books with very dense content. Again, light novels are the perfect type for practising.

Having selected your reading material, do the following workout from Monday to Friday, for 15 minutes.

1. Sit down on a comfortable place.

2. Use the metronome and set it at a BPM that suits you.

3. Start the metronome and read applying the technique for 2 minutes.

4. Relax for 1 minute.

5. Increase the BPM by 20 and read again for 2 minutes. Do not pay attention to comprehension, just apply the technique.

6. Relax for 1 minute more.

7. Decrease the BPM again on 20 units and go back to point 3.

8. Repeat the whole process for 15 minutes. If you feel that your base BPM speed is now too slow, set it now an increased one.

The Extra Workout (mandatory!)

At this point you should have trained the technique for 5 days (Monday to Friday).

Now, on Saturday, set aside two hours and read a complete book in one sitting, applying the technique. The criteria for selecting the book should be the same as on the main workout.

Generate a sense of urgency while reading. This will keep you focused.

Repeat this workout the next 3 Saturdays. After that, your reading technique will have changed.

Metronome Programs

photo credit: susivinh via photopin cc

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