How can you Get the Most out of What you Read when you Need to Read Faster?

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Answered by: Heidi, An Expert in the Literature and Book Basics Category
What do you do when you need to read faster, but the book or article you're reading is for something important? There are ways you can speed up your reading-pace while still getting the most out of the material. These are things you can do right now, so take a glance at the tips below and get reading!

Mine for the Important Parts

First thing's first. Give yourself more time to read by reading less. Approach your reading material with a question in mind, and focus on the parts of the text that answer that question. Flip through the material and skim for titles that clue you in on your question or topic of choice.

Set a Timer

How much do you need to read? How dense is the material? Set a timer for the least possible amount of time you think you need to finish that segment of the text, and try to beat your timer to the end. Not sure how much time to use? A good rule of thumb is to give yourself 1-3 minutes per page, depending on the density of the subject matter and the number of words per page.

Pay Attention to Eye-Movement

When you're reading, pay attention to what your eyes are doing. How fast are they moving? Do they linger on each word, or do they scan effortlessly across the page? Keeping a close eye on your eyes can prevent you from too much stopping and starting, which can in turn shave minutes off your reading time.

Use a Pointer

If you forget to pay attention to your eye-movements when you're writing, you can always use your pointer-finger or a pen. Move the pointer steadily across the page, and make sure you follow it. Your pen wouldn't randomly stop on a word, so why should your brain? This technique can keep your mind awake when you're reading. You'll subconsciously tell yourself that you can't stop whenever you're hung up on a word. Unless you're struggling with multiple words in the entire section, missing a couple of definitions won't hurt you, especially when you reach the end of the material and have the whole picture.

If you Hear Voices in your Head, you're Doing it Wrong

If you read words in your mind like you read them out loud, then you're reading way too slow. The beauty of your mind is that it doesn't have to pronounce the sounds that your mouth does when you read something out loud. When reading silently, you should aim to take in the words without physically hearing them in your subconscious. Don't even pause long enough to pronounce the words in your mind.

When on a Time-Crunch, Skim

These tips may have seemed like "skimming" tips so far, but that isn't the case. When speed reading, you should still be reading a text in full-- just much faster. Skimming, however, is popping your eyes around the page, looking specifically for names, dates, and information that you need right now. In this instance, put reading comprehension on the back burner and skim away.

Keep Going

Have you ever found yourself reading the same sentence over and over again? There's a word for that, it's called regression. If you're being mindful and keeping your brain alert, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. But if you find yourself slipping into regression, remember to just keep going. If a section is really bothering you, you can always come back to it later, and try and read it more carefully. If your regression persists, then it's probably time for a break.

Make Sure you Understood what you Read

It's easy to convince yourself in your mind that you understood what you read, but to be extra sure, try writing down a synopsis of what you just read. Alternatively, you could say a couple sentences out loud, or tell a friend or pet. Did you answer the questions you needed, or did you just get a general overview of the text?

Use these tips whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to read faster, right now. Go on and speed through that monster text for class or stay on top things with your latest business novel. And remember, practice makes perfect!

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