7 Quick Tips On How To Read Faster And Understand With Less Effort
Reading is important.
Especially in the world we live in now.
I know that the world’s most successful people read and finish many books in a year.
And they all encourage the habit of reading.
Yes, I want to be successful.
Not only that, but I also want to be successful in my academics.
But how am I going to do it with less effort?
They are many reasons why you need to read faster and understand.
Your reasons might be the same as mine.
Whatever the reasons are, I am happy to share with you how to read faster and understand more and retain more information.
Tip 1: Be Aware of Your Purpose
Many people are lost just at the beginning of their reading process.
Because they don’t really know why they read.
The first step to reading and understanding is knowing WHY YOU READ what you are reading.
The purpose of your reading is what will justify whether you achieve your aim of picking up the book in the first place.
You are reading this document because you want to know how to read faster and understand.
That is your purpose and that is what you will be looking for as you read the page.
Your mind will be looking for any info that answers the purpose.
And when the mind founds it, it will store the info temporarily.
You will learn how to store information for a long term in the subsequent tips.
For now, keep it at the back of your mind that the first step to good reading is asking yourself “WHY AM I READING THIS”.
Tip 2: Be Active in Your Reading
You are guilty of being mindless while you read.
You need concentration if you want to get the most out of what you read.
Concentration will also make the whole process less boring.
This mistake is common and the faster you stop it, the faster you will be able to read and understand.
When I read a material without concentration, I will miss some points and because of that, I will like to read again.
This repetitive reading caused by lack of concentration will obviously slow the reading process.
And this kind of repetition caused by mindlessness will not assist you in retaining the information that much.
Stay active at what you read. Don’t allow your mind to take you places other than what you read.
A simple technique I use is to see what the author is saying in my head.
You have to be careful though because your mind can take the imagination outside what the author is saying.
Imagine what the author is saying in a sentence then quickly move to the next sentence.
Tip 3: Draw Boundaries On the Page
This is a technique to increase your reading speed without sacrificing comprehension.
How do you do it?
You will draw a vertical boundary line on the left-hand side of the page and right-hand side of the page.
The distance between the two boundaries will indicate the part of the page you are going to read.
You should not leave more than two words outside the boundaries when you are starting out.
When you are comfortable with leaving two words out then, you raise the number.
Using this page again.
Your first boundary line just after the first two words on the first sentence all the way down to the last sentence.
You repeat the same for the right.
If you are reading this on a screen or you are reading a page you can’t draw on, you should do:
1, condition your mind to start reading from the third word on each line and stop on the third last word to the right.
2, you can use your hand as a pointer when you read. You will jump to the third word on each line and leave the last two words.
This tip is will make you read faster than before and you will retain more when you add the other tips.
Tip 4: Increase Your Fixation
What is a fixation in reading?
Fixation is the stop you make when you read.
Most people are taught to read word after word, thereby stopping at each word.
In other words, fixating at each word.
Fixation is also called “Jump & Start” because the reader jumps to a word on the line and reads the word before jumping to the next.
We don’t need to stop at each word before we read it.
The side view of our eyes can read the words before and after our fixation thereby making this technique a good way to increase reading speed.
Fixation stops you from focusing on each word on the page without losing focus and comprehension.
Since most people fixate at each word, you can start at two words.
You read every second word on a line.
It is different from tip 3 where you create boundaries.
Using tip 3, you will only read words that are between the boundaries.
And while reading in the boundaries, you implement tip 4 by reading every second word in the boundary.
You should work on raising the number of words you read at each fixation.
Tip 5: Skim and Scan the Material
Skimming and Scanning are two ways of introducing what we are about to read to our brain.
The two helps to make the reading process easy.
You can do the two at once but I like to separate them.
How to Skim a Page
You read the heading and the bolded text on the page.
You shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds on a 300 words page.
How to Scan a Page
Scanning is a bit deep than skimming.
When scanning, you read the headings on the page, first and last paragraph and the first and last sentence in each paragraph.
Don’t spend more than 30 seconds on a 300 words page when you scan.
Using this page, your skim will include the title of the page, all the tips, and all the bold/italic text.
You scan this page by reading the title, first paragraph, the tips and their first and last paragraphs, and the last paragraph of this page, which will most likely be the conclusion.
You will do all of that as quickly as you can.
Don’t worry if you don’t remember most of what you skim/scan, it isn’t important.
This stage is just to introduce the content to your brain.
How to Read Faster and Retain Information
You have learned how to read faster, now comes how you can retain the information for a long period of time.
Tip 6: Highlight The Key points
Tip 1 explains why you need to read with a purpose.
While you read, you will find points that answer the purpose why you read.
Highlight the points as you read.
It is this points that will serve as a pillar to hold the information contained in the page in your memory.
Each tip on this page has a paragraph, an example paragraph, and last paragraph.
You will find in any of the paragraphs how to do the tip explained that section.
you can use a marker to highlight the ‘how to’ of each tip.
A highlight is useful because it is not all the text on the page you will want to remember as it is.
The highlight will make it easy for you to spot the important part of each section of the page.
Tip 7: Think In Pictures
Images are easier to memorize than words.
Now that you have highlighted a point on the page, you should use a picture to store the point in your brain.
This is of the important tricks in the arsenal of memory champions.
How can you do it?
In the previous tip, you read that a way to retain what you read is to highlight key points.
You might want to remember ‘highlight key points’ as the main point in that tip.
So to use ‘think in pictures’ for this, you can visualize a light bulb high above a key pointing to the ground.
The light coming from the bulb is so hot that the key starts to melt.
This tip is important and very simple to do.
You just have to involve your imagination to the point you want to remember.
As the number of points begins to increase, you will have to link the points together.
Your imagination is also a tool to use.
The first tip explains why you should have a purpose for whatever you read.
Your key point there could be ‘purpose’.
Note that ‘purpose’ is an abstract word, unlike ‘highlight key points’ used in the first example.
What you should do is to turn the abstract word, ‘purpose’, into what you can see.
For me, ‘purpose’ in that context means something at the back of your mind that you watch out or.
For that reason, I can use the heart (from mind) to represent ‘purpose’.
So to link the image to tip 2, I will have to turn tip 2 to image first.
Tip 2 is about being active while you read.
My key point can be ‘active’.
I can link it to the ‘heart’ from tip 1 by making the heart active.
An active heart will be pumping blood.
Now I can see a heart shrinking and expanding with blood gushing out of it.
All of that happens at the speed at which your imagination works – very fast than how I explained it.
I’ve got 3 bonus tips for you.
Tip 8: Rehearse the Key Points
Rehearsal is the way to make the scenes stick
You just formed a mental movie by linking pictures together.
As easy as remembering images are to the brain, you still need to revise if you want to remember the info for a long term.
This tip is not just for mental movies.
Rehearsal is good for any information you which to put in the long-term memory.
After reading tip 1…
Before moving to the next tip and before forming a mental picture, ask yourself questions like:
Why did the author make that point?
Do I really understand the point?
What makes me know I understand the point?
If you understand the point, why?
If you don’t understand, why?
How does the point fits what you already know?
What else do you need to know?
These questions will improve your understanding and widen your perspective on the topic.
Tip 9: How to Stop Subvocalization
Subvocalization is the voice you hear in your head when you read.
Quite often, you hear a voice pronouncing each word in your head when read.
This voice can slow down one’s reading time.
Many articles and books have been written on how to stop subvocalization.
But I don’t believe stopping it will be the solution.
Because it helps us to understand the content better.
Instead of stopping it, you can work on hearing the voice faster.
As you speed read externally, you’ll also speed read internally.
The last tip also talks about speed reading. Check it out.
Tip 10: How to Increase Reading Speed
There is a simple trick that speed reading experts use that does not affect their comprehension over time.
You can implement the trick without worry much about the tips above.
Especially if you just want to increase your reading speed.
Speed reading trick:
Pick up a common piece of writing and get a timer.
Set up the timer and see how long it takes you to read a page as you normally do.
Make sure you comprehend the content of the page.
You can repeat the process for 4 more pages and note the time you spend on each page.
Now, calculate the average of all the pages.
The next thing, open another page and read as fast as you can.
Don’t worry about your comprehension here.
This kind of reading will reduce your comprehension by 10 to 20 percent.
If you stick with this new reading speed, your comprehension level will return and your reading speed would have increased.