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Why Would People Want To Read Faster?

Aug 17, 2007
A question often asked is why people would want to read faster? Without wishing to be flippant, the answer to this question is essentially two-fold:

(a) because they want to; and

(b) because they need to.

Below we will examine some of the reasons why someone may want to read faster and, more pertinently, why they may need to read faster. To conclude, we'll also look at some of the practices that can be adopted so that you can actually read faster.

(a) Why you would want to read faster

When we are children, adults try to relay to us that reading is a pleasure that we should take care and time over. We might also be told that in order to fully understand what we are reading, we need to take time over the written word - save we may misconstrue what the author intended. When we reach adolescence, however, we find we're in for a rude awakening!

Reading is for educational purposes: and if we want to improve our minds, we had better be prepared to do a lot of it!

The need to read lots of information and data is probably the biggest reason why we want to have the skills to read faster. There are simply not enough hours in a day for us to have the luxury of reading everything at a leisurely pace; we must push the frontiers of our reading speed and ever increase this as we get older. To do otherwise means that we have to spend copious amounts of time reading text that could have been utilized in ways (possibly) more enjoyable than reading - such as spending time with the family, or watching television.

(b) Why people need to read faster

The reason why people need to read faster is actually tied-up with the reason why people want to read faster - the sheer amount of information that we need to read these days.

Although sales of novels have fallen year-on-year for over a generation now, the various different mediums we have for reading have increased. Indeed, the Internet alone provides us with a reading medium that we would unlikely be able to complete even if we spend the rest of our life trying to do it!

Moreover, today, more and more of us are required to read very in-depth, complex, reports as part of our day-to-day work: for which we simply do not have the luxury of a couple of days. Work related reading material generally means having to turnaround the reading time as quickly as possible. It is usually for this reason that those of us who have not undertaken a speed reading course by the time we enter the workforce rush out shortly thereafter to do so.

(c) Methods of reading faster

If you find that you are one of those people who would like to be able to read faster, the following are some useful tips that you can adopt in your pursuit of speed reading:

(i) Preparation:

A large part of being able to read faster lies on your preparation. Here, before you start to read that thick business report, give it the once over (i.e., skim read it), see how long the report is, try to grasp the main points being conveyed in the report - you can usually do this by looking at the headings, subheadings and index - then take a deep breath and plunge into your speed reading mode. When you adopt some of the other methods listed below, you'll usually find that knowing a little of what to expect next will greatly enhance your ability to read faster.

(ii) Avoid any distraction:

A lot of us can read in rooms with loud music. Some of us can read on busy trains. However, if you want to read anything quickly and accurately, try to approximate how long it will take you to read it, find and appropriate a period in your day when you'll have such time, then go to a quiet room/place and put up the "do not disturb sign". You'll find reading in an atmosphere of silence will greatly enhance your ability to read faster. Of course, this is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you have a family with young children. If this applies to you, see if you can postpone reading the material until such time as you can devote 100% of your time to your reading.

(iii) Try to read in daylight hours:

Although many of us enjoy reading the odd novel in bed, for the purposes of reading fast, research has shown that we are much more likely (biologically) to read fast during daylight hours.

(iv) Take a break:

No one can read continuously for hours on end. Then again, each of us has different thresholds when we have been reading too long. Finding equilibrium between spending too long reading, which will slow down your reading pace, and taking too many breaks from reading, which will likewise slow down your reading pace, is very important. In most cases, the medium time for fast reading is a period of 1 hour reading followed by a 10 to 15 minute break.

(v) Motivation:

Finally, one of the most important aspects of reading fast is being able to motivate yourself to read the material in the first place! If you enjoy reading something, you'll want to take your time over it. Reading fast, therefore, usually needs to be adopted with reading material we are not overly enthusiastic about reading in the first place! But you should not look at it this way; otherwise your reading speed is going to deteriorate. You need to motivate yourself.

Here, prudent practice is to set yourself goals - like you would with anything else in life: "I want to read Chapter 1 in 5 minutes", etc.

So, whatever the reason may be as to why you want or need to read faster, if you utilize some of the above practices in your reading, in no time at all you'll be reading much faster!
About the Author
Melvin Ng teaches speed reading through his 16-Minute Speed Reading Audio Program
which Guarantees to Double your reading speed in just 16 minutes! http://www.best-speed-reading-course.com
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