5 Things Holding Your Reading Speed BackThese five habits can be hard to kick, but the pay-off when you do is invaluable.
Reading faster isn’t like flicking a switch that suddenly means you can read at twice the speed when you want! Before moving forward with increasing your reading speed, you need to eliminate some bad habits you may have had since childhood.
1. Re-reading what you’ve just read
Something most of us are guilty of is going back through something we just read because we can’t remember what it said.
Up to 30% of reading time may be spent re-reading, which isn’t consistent with reading faster!
Eliminating this habit can be difficult, but by consciously forcing yourself not to re-read, you will eventually do it less often.
(If you just read this section and thought “wait, what did that say? I’ll read that again.” Then that’s exactly what’s stopping you from reading faster!)
2. Not focusing on what you’re reading
A lack of focus while you’re reading causes your mind to wander, which often means you need to re-read.
Instead of taking in the information, you may start thinking about what’s for lunch, which definitely slows down your reading!
A simple way of increasing focus is actually increasing reading speed.
Your mind has more chance of wandering when reading slowly, whereas reading faster requires your full concentration.
Also known as your constant companion- the voice inside your head.
This voice can hold you back when you try to read quicker as the eyes move faster than talking speed.
When you see a ‘Stop’ sign, you can see the word without hearing it. This is what you should be aiming to do when reading the text.
Trying to read without the voice can be difficult, and the more you try, the more you think about it so the harder it is to switch off!
But with some low-level distractions like tapping on the table or pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, it can be easier for you to focus and read quicker.
4. Too many fixations per line
The average person has 10-12 fixations per line, which means they stop and read every word.
Not only does this slow down reading speed, it also tires the eyes. When reading new words, stopping is understandable.
However, when the words and phrases are familiar, the eyes are capable of reading without stopping so often.
By increasing the efficiency of your eyes, reading speed will also increase.
5. Not utilising peripheral vision
Linked to the above point, if you don’t use your peripheral vision, you can only read one word at a time.
By seeing the words either side of a word, you will only need around three ‘fixations’ per line as you can process more information at a time.
You shouldn’t lose any understanding, rather, it should help you get the bigger picture much quicker.
By addressing these points and working on them regularly, you will find yourself able to read quicker.
Once you have improved these fundamental points, then you can step up and start utilising speed-reading methods to whizz through books even faster!
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