How to Improve Your Reading Speed

Reading Using a Tablet
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Sometimes, it can be a pleasure to read slowly, taking the time to pause on an extraordinary sentence or revisiting a passage on a previous page. But this type of reading is a luxury. As we all know, we can often benefit from reading certain documents more quickly.

Average reading speed can range from 200 to 350 words per minute, but that rate can vary depending on the material and your reading experience. It's also important to understand what you are reading—even when you improve your speed. Here are a few tips to help you improve your reading speed.

Reading Speed Tips

  1. Preview the material you're going to read. Look at main headings, chapter divisions, and other relevant material to develop clues about the structure of the work.
  2. Adjust your reading speed as you read the material. Slow down when you need to be sure that you comprehend a section of material. Speed up if you are already familiar with (or don't need to know) other sections.
  3. Readers can dramatically improve their reading speeds by taking in several words in the line of text at one time (instead of sounding out each word or focusing on each letter of the word). Computer programs like Ace Reader or Rapid Reader are designed to help readers improve reading speeds with flashing letters and words. You may also want to learn more about other techniques.
  4. Another way to improve your reading speed is to focus on the keywords in the sentences. A significant amount of reading time is wasted on conjunctions, prepositions, or articles (i.e. a, an, the, but, and, or, nor, but, etc.).
  5. Use a pacer like a pen or your finger—as a focal point to draw your eye across the line or down the page. A pacer can help you increase your speed and reduce re-reading. A pacer can also help you to keep track of what you are reading.
  6. Talk about what you've read. Some readers find that by talking about their reading with friends or fellow students, they are able to effectively synthesize the material.
  7. Determine a reading schedule that works for you. You may find that you can't concentrate on the material for more than an hour (or a half-hour). Also, select a time of the day when you are alert and ready to read.
  8. Find a reading spot where interruptions or distractions will not disturb your reading.
  9. Practice. Practice. Practice. The best way to improve your reading speed is to practice reading. Try out some of these techniques, and then perfect the strategies that work best for you.

Other Things to Consider

  1. Get your eyes checked. Reading glasses may help.
  2. Read everything. Don't miss out on vital information in your pursuit of speed.
  3. Don't re-read right away; it will slow you down. If you absolutely don't understand part of the reading selection, go back and review the material later.
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Your Citation
Lombardi, Esther. "How to Improve Your Reading Speed." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Lombardi, Esther. (2023, April 5). How to Improve Your Reading Speed. Retrieved from Lombardi, Esther. "How to Improve Your Reading Speed." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).