Speed reading is a valuable skill to pick up; just imagine being able to read more books, improve your study skills and just generally have more time in your day. It’s a skill that almost anyone can pick up, despite what you may think. While it may seem a difficult thing, the technique speed reading is not only simple, but something than can be learned and used in very little time. A few hints on learning to speed read will follow.
Speed reading requires thinking a little differently about the act of reading. While there are some (your English teachers/professors, for instance) who would have a quarrel with this, roughly half of what appears on the printed page are irrelevant to grasping the meaning of the text. Training your mind and your eyes to search for the most important words, you’ll find yourself scanning through pages faster in a matter of days.
One way to train yourself is to obscure the text above the line you are trying to read. Your eyes will try to keep ahead of the blocked text (a notecard works well for this). Try making a game of it and increasing the pace of the card. Your eyes will move faster and faster to keep up, this is one of the better techniques to train yourself in speed reading.
When you really want to move, think of your eyes as zig-zagging across the page. Essentially, this combines the two techniques listed above. Move your hand across the page in a zig-zag pattern across the page, encompassing about three lines apiece when you do. While your eye is following your hand, search out the words that seem the most pertinent. This is not a method you want to utilize when you are doing a close reading, but as a pre-reading technique, to understand what you are going to be looking at, and as practice, this is an excellent exercise.
All skills take practice; speed reading is no different in this regard. Work your way up, bot in the speed you are attempting to read at, but also in the complexity of the text you are practicing with. As long as you continually increase in difficulty and speed, you’ll continue to build your skills and confidence. If you keep at it, you’ll become a speed reading expert in no time.