Speed Up Your Reading Ability

In the Information Age, the speed-reader is king. The faster you read, the more information you’ll be able to process and put to use. While skimming has its advantages, you always retain more information if you actually look at every word.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide offers some tips to help you speed up your reading ability.

One technique calls for using your index finger or mouse pointer as a reference point. You can move the point down line by line, letting your eyes whip across the page then move down without accidentally rereading anything you’re past.

Other advice calls for looking at sets of words in chunks, and processing their collective meaning together, almost as one word. You can practice the method until it becomes second nature, shaving time off each sentence.

Blocking out background noise and distractions will also speed up your pace and allow you to concentrate and retain your info more effectively.

How to Speed Read [The Complete Idiot’s Guide]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Coffee says:

    This isn’t a consumer issue…I’ll never get back the 20 minutes it took for me to read this article.

  2. George4478 says:


  3. sir_eccles says:


  4. Cat says:

    I wholeheartedly recommend the Evelyn Woodhead Speed Reading Course.

  5. chizu says:

    The best way to improve your speed is to read a lot. It’s one of those things that you have to keep doing to get better at…

    My ex is an incredible speed-reader. Sometimes I would just watch him read as his eyes just go side to side across the page… It’s really amusing and cute how fast his eyes move………

  6. George4478 says:

    I can read pretty fast when I want to, but I find it to be tiring. I read a lot for pleasure and I find speed-reading and pleasure-reading don’t work well together for me. Newspapers, webpages, textbooks — those I can rip through if I’m pressed for time, but a novel? I want to slow down and enjoy those.

    • Coffee says:

      Agreed…when I read a novel, I actually slow down when reading dialogue because I want it to feel more realistic.

      • George4478 says:

        If it took you 20 minutes to read the 5 paragraphs above, I can only imagine how long you need for a novel if you slow down for dialogue. :-)

        • ironflange says:

          Yeah, Honey Badger had better stay away from War and Peace.

          • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

            I’m listening to War and Peace on audio (Librivox).

            It only takes up 3 CDs.

            MP3 CDs, that is. I’ve been listening on and off since November. I’ll get through it eventually.

          • Coffee says:

            Haven’t started that yet, but I’ll give it a try after I get through the June 2008 Maxim I’ve been working on.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        When I read novels, I always subconsciously hear myself reading it in my head, even though I read pretty quickly.

        • dangerp says:

          From what I’ve read, that slows you down. Your mind will slow your reading down to whatever speed you are reciting it in your head, which usually isn’t much faster than you can talk. If you stop reciting it to yourself in your head, you can become much faster.

          • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

            That’s the thing though – it isn’t really a conscious decision. It just sort of happens.

          • milk says:

            I do the same thing when reading novels, except I purposefully hear it in my mind and act it out in different voices. I see people and environments like a little movie in my head. And yes, it takes forever, about an hour to read 30 pages.

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    when I speed read, they don’t stay in my memory for that long.
    Slow reading, I can remember it for a very very long time.

  8. SerenityDan says:

    I remember in school I was told I read too slow. I read at the speed the story dictates. Like I’m telling myself the story. Yeah I could read faster but then it doesn’t sound interesting to me.

    • framitz says:

      If you enjoy reading and dramatize the story in your head that is a good thing as you should get more enjoyment.

      Take the time to enjoy your reading and don’t worry about the speed or what anyone has said about it.

  9. sirwired says:

    The finger-waving thing is complete crap. Your eye can move a lot faster than you can move your finger back-and-forth across a page. This is doubly true for computer screens… use your mouse to follow along as you read? Seriously? That takes an awful lot of tedious and tiring fine motor control.

    The best way to learn how to read quickly is to read a lot. You’ll soon break any habits of sounding out words, and your mind will “chunk” without you even thinking about it.

  10. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    My issue is that while I can read swiftly, my comprehension SUCKS. I usually must take notes (manually) so that it ‘goes through my brain’ so to speak before I can retain the knowledge.

    Any tips on how to better comprehend and store (i.e. LEARN) when reading quickly?

  11. dorianh49 says:

    So I took a speed reading class. … My speed increased to 43 pages per minute,
    but my comprehension plummeted! – Brian Regan

  12. The Porkchop Express says:

    is it bad that I only read the title as “speed up your ability”? I was actually wondering what ability for a second or two.

  13. Tyanna says:

    Being dyslexic, I gave up on ever being able to read fast long ago. So long as I get what the text is saying, I figure I’m doing well. :)

  14. alisonann says:

    did anyone else try to read this article superfast?

  15. framitz says:

    Lots of nonsense for idiots.

    I took an experimental speed reading program in high school many years ago.
    It worked and it stuck. A projector system was used that started by flashing numbers, and becoming faster and more complex until it was showing paragraphs. About 1/2 the class never got it, but those that did, really GOT it.

    The real issue for most people is they sub-vocalize as they read which means you can never read faster than you can talk. I do this when reading for pleasure, but NOT when it’s work or required reading.
    Once you learn to stop sub-vocalizing it becomes much easier.

    I had to take a reading test some years ago, a long time after high school, my comprehension was around 96% and speed was 600WPM, slow because I knew I would have to answer questions to measure comprehension. Rated at grade 16+ (highest level)

  16. Tyler S. says:

    When I read on the computer, I use the mouse to highlight everything then click and un-highlight over and over. Anyone looking over my shoulder gets annoyed in a hurry, but I don’t even notice.