Speed Reading Video

Video Transcript

Learn how to speed read, with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.

James Manktelow: Hello, I'm James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free, career-boosting tools and resources.

Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools.

Just for a moment, think about how much reading you do every day.

You might have dozens of emails to get through, project proposals to consider, and trade publications to read.

Not to mention the magazines, books, and newspapers that you read for your own enjoyment.

Most of us probably spend a good portion of our day reading something.

However, many people don't ever think about improving their reading skills. But becoming a better reader enables us to read faster, while still retaining crucial information.

JM: The first step in reading more effectively is to break your current poor reading habits.

For instance, many people read word by word. But this can often cause you to miss the overall concept of what's being said.

Instead, try chunking words together. You can practice by expanding the number of words that you read at a time.

To do this, try holding the text a little further from your eyes. Then, instead of reading word by word, look at four or five words at a time.

AC: Another bad reading habit is sub-vocalization. This is when you pronounce each word in your head as you read it.

To combat this, you first need to acknowledge that you do it. And, this isn't as easy as it sounds!

Practice stifling that voice in your head by reading large chunks of words.

JM: Regression is another bad habit. This is when you go back and re-read words and sentences just to make sure you read them right.

Skipping back like this causes you to lose the flow of what you're reading, and it takes up valuable time.

To overcome this, don't allow yourself to re-read material. Run a pointer, such as a pen or your finger, along the line as you're reading.

Your eyes will follow the pointer, which will help smooth your reading and keep you moving forward.

Many people find it difficult to concentrate when they read. But often, they're reading with the TV or radio on, or they're reading an email while they're on the phone.

It's important to read when there are minimal distractions. Speed reading especially, needs to be done in a quiet, focused environment.

JA: Keep in mind that learning to read faster and more effectively will take time. So, it's important to practice as much as possible so you can get better at it.

You didn't learn to read in a day, and you won't get better in a day either!

When you do sit down to practice, start with something easy, like an entertaining article or a favorite novel.

Again, you can also use a pointer, or your finger, to increase your speed.

As you read, gradually move your pointer across the line faster and faster. Your eyes, and your brain, will want to keep up. This is an easy way to increase your reading speed.

You can find out more about Speed Reading in the article that accompanies this video.

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Comments (27)
  • Over a month ago Midgie wrote
    Hi PalomaG2,
    Welcome to the club.

    Speed reading is indeed a practiced skill, and the more you practice, the easier it gets!

    I believe it is a good idea to practice speed reading in your first language, Spanish, before trying in English. That way, you will develop the skill / habit and then transfer it over to when you read in another language!

    Good luck and please keep us posted on how things go.

    If there is anything you are looking for or wanting help with, just let us know and we'll be glad to help.
  • Over a month ago PalomaG2 wrote
    I find the same problem: English is not my mother tongue, and I'm finding it difficult not to sub-vocalise. But I'll keep on trying and report. I just thought of trying speed-reading in Spanish (my mother tongue) and then see what happens when I do it in English.
  • Over a month ago Rachel wrote
    Hi All,

    Reading is a skill that most of us use every day.

    Learn strategies for reading more, in less time, in this week's Featured Favorite.

    Best wishes
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