Barriers to Speed Reading

There is more reading material in today’s world than what we could have imagined say 50 years back. Every day new things keep adding and we keep wondering if we will ever be able to read all of them. It may not be practical to read all of them in one life time but we can hope to read all our favorites by mastering speed reading technique.  The average reading speed is about 200-400 words a minute. Speed readers can read at much higher speeds. If you go by theory, a person can read as fast as he thinks. There are people who claim to read at 25,000 words a minute!

Lot of study and research has been done to identify what makes some people read faster. Speed reading is just a technique which combines various methods to help you read faster. There are various reasons why one cannot read faster than a certain speed. The most common reason is that people tend to read aloud. The speed at which speech can be delivered is about 400 words per minute and if you happen to be reading out aloud chances are that you reading speed is determined by your speed delivery speed. In order that you reading speed improve, as a first step you need to break away from this habit.

Sub-vocalization is a phenomenon which you imbibe when you start learning to read as a child. The best away to eliminate this habit is to be conscious about it while you read. Put an effort to ensure that you do not read out the words aloud. Aloud does not necessarily have the literal meaning here, it could also be that you are reading it out in your mind. Even that can slow down the reading speed.

Train yourself to read as fast as you think. Reading should be like watching a video where you do not repeat the words. You just see and understand what the video is trying to communicate. Reading should be like seeing and understanding rather than hearing the words and understanding. It will take some time and practice from your part to completely eliminate this habit. But once you are successful in acquiring the habit of reading by seeing, your reading speed will increase tremendously.

Another habit which slows your reading speed is rereading. Many a times we tend to go back to the text that is already read. This could be because of limited vocabulary or limited concentration. Make an effort to stop rereading. Vocabulary will increase over a period of time as you read more and more. To improve concentration, start off with reading in a solitary place. Slowly keep improving your concentration by using some help like an earplug. As you get involved in the reading, your concentration will automatically improve. It is not always necessary that you read all words to grasp the meaning of the sentence. There will be certain keywords which will convey the complete meaning.

Speed reading techniques are very simple and can be mastered with some practice and self discipline.