Learn how to speed read

Boost your reading speed with simple practice drills.

Whether you want to ace your next test or simply retain information better (at work or at home), good study habits are essential. Paul Nowak offers tips for improving your reading speed and comprehension, creating detailed notes, committing the learning to memory, and even taking tests.

Boosting your reading speed with simple practice drills Selecting transcript lines in this section will navigate to timestamp in the video - Let's talk about how you can start improving your reading speed. In this video we'll cover a very basic speed reading drill that will help you boost your reading rate. This exercise can be done on paper or digitally. It's completely up to you. I suggest using material that you normally have to read, whether it's for school, work, or personal reading. For this drill you'll be reading for 20 minutes so make sure you have enough reading material for that amount of time. Here's how the drill works. First, read at your typical pace for 20 minutes, trying to comprehend as much as you can. When the 20 minutes it up, mark your ending spot. Then, go back to where you started reading initially, and now you have to make it to your ending spot within 10 minutes. The goal of this drill is to purposely go faster than we would normally read. How are we going to read that? Well, we're simply going to re-read the material we just went through, but we're going to do it at double the speed. So on the first step you read for 20 minutes, and then the next step, you'll need to get through that same material in 10 minutes or less. The whole point of this drill is to get you used to seeing words at a faster rate. Don't worry if your comprehension isn't perfect during this exercise. We're essentially skimming material we previously read at a speed that's at least double our regular reading speed. Why does this drill work? If you get used to practicing a drill where you're purposely going faster than you would normally read and you're double your normal reading speed, then later when you drop your reading speed down to a more reasonable rate, it won't feel as fast. For example, let's say you're reading at 200 words per minute, which is an average reading speed. When you practice a drill like the one we just mentioned you're forcing yourself to go through the material at a speed of 400 words per minute or more. After practicing the drill, when you go back to normal reading for strong comprehension you'll notice that that the lower speed of something like 250 words per minute won't feel as fast and that you can maintain your comprehension at that higher rate. Once you start reading comfortably with comprehension at 250 words per minute, that means you should be practicing your drills at 500 words per minute so that later on, 300 words per minute won't feel as fast. And by the way, this drill has a dual benefit. Because you're speeding through material you've already read you're getting a second exposure to the information. So you'll remember it better over the long term. You'll want to practice this kind of drill repetitively, over time, for the best results. Ideally I'd recommend practicing this drill every day for two weeks. Here's how you can practice. Read for 20 minutes, and then speed through that material that you just read, in 10 minutes. And then repeat. Read for another 20 minutes, and then speed through that material in 10 minutes. At this point you will have gotten 20 minutes of practice doing the drill, and about 40 minutes of regular reading done. So doing this kind of exercise would require about an hour of your time. Doing these drills will help you make gradual and consistent increases in your reading speed. To keep track of your results I recommend measuring your reading speed on a daily basis to track your progress over time. To test your reading speed, just read for one minute and count how many words you read during that time to figure out your words per minute reading rate. We'll cover a number of other reading exercises and techniques in this course, but this is a fundamental speed reading drill that you can practice now to start increasing your reading rate immediately. For more tips on speed reading check out my specialized course, Speed Reading Fundamentals, here on lynda.com.