Subvocalizing means hearing your own voice while reading. Even if you do not pronounce the text loud, you are pronouncing it in your mind while reading. Subvocalization is a remanent of our early days at school when we were taught to learn how to read by repeating loud voice. It limits your reading speed because you cannot read faster than your speed of producing your voice.
This post is about how to reduce subvocalization. By reducing it, your reading speed will increase and as a consequence you will be able to increase your brain processing speed.
Perform the following workouts every day at least for two weeks to reduce a little your subvocalization and increase your reading speed.
Prepare a book and a timer before starting the workouts. Use a light book (like for example a novel or a book for kids). You will have to read using the speed reading technique, hence, if you haven’t learnt it yet, go and learn it on this post. Then continue with the following workouts.
- Open your book and start reading doing the speed reading technique.
- While reading at your comfortable speed, pronounce aloud one – two – three – four – five – six – seven – eight – nine – ten
- Then start again by one – two – …, while reading your text. Repeat again every time you reach ten.
- Always concentrate your mind on the text and try to understand it as much as possible. It may happen that you loose comprehension while doing this exercise. Do not worry too much and keep practising this way. Comprehension will arrive very quickly.
- Keep doing it for 15 minutes. The goal of this exercise is to teach your brain to disassociate pronunciation from reading.
- Determine you current reading speed (always doing the speed reading technique).
- Then increase the speed by 20%.
- Start reading at that higher speed for one minute.
- Then return to your normal speed for one minute.
- Repeat the last two points for 16 minutes.
- By doing this exercise, you will stress the brain to forget pronunciation in order to capture the information.
- Always be concentrated on the reading and try to capture the information in the book. Of course, you won’t be able (that is the point) but you have to try. Is this exercise of trying what makes the brain learn that it doesn’t have to pronounce to get the information.
You will need a lot of practise to reduce subvocalization. So take it easy and keep practising.
I recommend using the Quickreader program for iPad for training your speed reading. I use it for my daily training because it is very easy to configure and it is the program which takes the adjustment of the speeds. In case you do not have an iPad, you can use your computer and train using the freely available Spreeder web program. It offers similar options.
If you don’t like neither of the options, you can always use a book and a metronome. Read this post to learn how to use the metronome for speed reading.
Reducing subvocalization is a difficult issue. Usually people get stuck at reading speeds below 600 WPM because of subvocalization. When people goes at speeds above 700 WPM, they have a minimal subvocalization and usually people sees the concepts in their mind, instead of hearing the words. Is this seeing that is wanted for high reading speeds, and your only option to reach that point is by reducing subvocalization.