So I’m at a party and someone asks me what I do. If you’re like me, you could say many things! But when I choose to say “I teach speed reading,” the reactions vary though the most common is something like “Wow, I could really use that! Can you tell me how to do it?!” So I’ve gotten pretty good at condensing down the content of my books and 20 years of experience into a very short synopsis. I thought you might have interest, especially if you have always wanted to know a few “secrets” about speed reading.

Your Reading Stick-Shift

I begin by saying that readers really do have a reading stick-shift that consists of five gears with gear one being very slow up through gear five being overdrive. Most readers are stuck in first or second gear because they just don’t know how to get into gears three, four or five. A speed reading course or book will show them how to expand their peripheral vision to see more at a glance – with comprehension – and provide them with simple options they didn’t even know existed!

Probably THE most useful speed strategy is one that you probably never learned to do: read effectively with your hands or a white card. When I was doing research for The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading, I re-read (okay, skimmed thoroughly!) over 30 books on speed reading. To my amazement, every single book talked about the use of one’s hands or a card to read faster. Click here for instructions on one of my favorite methods: The White Card Method. And if you’re interested in others, Chapter Two of The Idiot’s Guide is dedicated to these methods, with pictures.

Avoid Wasting Time on Unnecessary Reading

Speed reading is also being able to get what you need quickly without wasting time. This includes thinking about why you are reading what you are reading and what you need it for. Click here to read about another one of my favorite ideas: Read the best and SKIP the rest!

If you were the person I was talking to at the party and you had interest in learning more, then I would suggest you go to your local library or bookstore and get a copy of one of my books. I would also tell you about my new online course if you wanted more personal guidance and instruction. In the meantime, this tips archive page has lots more ideas on how to read and work smarter, faster and just plain better.

Here’s to getting started on s-p-e-e-d-i-n-g through your reading!


This tip may be reprinted as long as the following byline is included:

Abby Marks Beale is America’s #1 Speed Reading Expert. She has taught speed reading for the past 25 years and is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading and 10 Days to Faster Reading.  She is also the creator of Rev It Up Reading, the online speed reading course. Please visit for more.

Join Our Mailing List

. . .AND get access to Abby’s free resources including 10 Minutes To Faster Reading and her favorite exercise, Discipline Your Eyes. As a bonus you will get a $50 off coupon code to purchase the full version of the Rev it Up Reading Online Speed Reading Course.

Just enter your name and email below

You have Successfully Subscribed!