I was recently interviewed by a women’s magazine for an article about speed reading. Her first question was typical of people who have little experience with it: “What’s THE secret of speed reading?” I’ve heard this question many times before, and my reaction is always the same: my face first scrunches up and then my eyebrows raise up giving the impression that they must be kidding. But fortunately, she didn’t see my face! I proceeded to share the MANY secrets of speed reading (that she now has to choose from). I thought you might be interested in them as well:

  • See more words at a glance.
  • Read mindfully, not unconsciously, using varied strategies.
  • Use your hands or a white card to push your eyes down the page.
  • Know WHY you are reading and WHAT you are reading for.
  • Read the first sentences of paragraphs in non-fiction material to locate the writer’s outline.
  • Learn to trust your brain so you don’t re-read as much.
  • Have the foresight to secure a quiet, distraction-free place and period of time to get your important reading done.
  • Make sure you only spend your valuable reading time on material that is important to YOU.
  • Confidently shift your reading speed up or down depending on a myriad of conditions, eg. when familiar material, speed up; when unfamiliar, slow down.
  • Understand that you can read faster than you do now but it is unrealistic to expect to read the book War and Peace in 5 minutes.

There are more ideas (like not moving your lips or getting your eyes checked on a regular basis) but the bullets above are the most important.

So if you ever see me at a party and ask me about “THE secret to speed reading”, be prepared for more than one!

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