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Speed Reading: How To Get Faster

Aug 11, 2008
You probably fall into 2 categories, you hate to read, so the faster you can get through it the better, or you love to read, so the faster you can read, the quicker you can get to more reading! Either way, improved reading skills can help you get through the words quicker, so you can either move on to something else, or move on to another book.

In a previous article we discusses the idea that to improve your reading retention, you should read in a non linear fashion, and take the time to get a framework of the reading, so you have a good map of where you are going. In this article, we are going to discuss how to start to improve your reading rate.

Most people read a book as if it were given to them as a speech. They listen to the author and follow along with what he is saying in a purely sequential manner. In order to reach faster rates of comprehension you have to learn to abandon this tactic. You can start this by not subvocalizing.

Think back to when you were younger. As a child or in your elementary school classes, you probably had to do alot of reading out loud. After you mastered this skill, you were told to simply say the words inside your head and read quietly. This is where most reading education and skill levels end. And, that is what subvocalizing is. It is the act of reading inside your head quietly. The reason it slows you down is that it takes time to form the words to say, even if you don't say them.

To move to a new level you need to stop sounding the words inside your head or subvocalizing. Again, subvocalizing takes time, more time than is necessary to comprehend the words you are reading. It is almost impossible to go much beyond 400 or 500 words while subvocalizing. Instead you need to train yourself to read without hearing the words in your head.

You are probably thinking that it going to be tough, and yes it can be challening at the beginning. What you need to do is remove the formulation of words with your mouth. If I read at around a thousand words per minute, there is no way I could hear the words in my head while trying to process them. Train yourself to see the word, reconstruct it in your brain, and bypass the word construction. You need to have your brain get the understaning. When you get this down, you will take one second to gain understanding than the 5 seconds it would have taken to subvocalize.

Since most people currently can't separate the subvocalization from comprehension, they are locked in at a rate of about 400-500 words. Moving beyond that rate requires that you practice reading faster than you can actually read aloud.

This may sound a little confusing, but what you need to practice is seeing the words and gaining the meaning in your head. Start with small words and phrases, and grow into sentences. Eventually you will get the hang of seeing and understanding, instead of seeing, forming the words in your head, and then understanding.
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