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  • Writer's pictureStudent blogger

Speed-up your reading

With the vast amount of information available today, speed reading is a valuable skill that can significantly enhance your learning capacity and personal growth. In fact, according to a study from Yale University, regular reading has been linked to a longer lifespan. Sadly, many people struggle with slow reading speeds. The average person reads around 200 to 300 words per minute (WPM), but with practice and the right techniques, you can significantly improve this speed which is useful during uni times. Also, keep in mind a common habit we often use unconsciously while reading called "Phonetization". It's the mental process of pronouncing words in our head as we read, which can slow us down. Now, let's explore some techniques that can help you focus your reading and increase your speed.

1. Practice Chunking:

Chunking is a technique where you group individual words into larger units. Instead of reading word-by-word, you train your eyes to read groups of words. This reduces the time spent on moving your eyes across the page and also increases comprehension.

2. Minimize Phonetization:

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest culprits slowing your reading speed is the habit of “Phonetization”. Try to minimize this subvocalization by focusing on visual recognition of words and understanding their meaning without 'hearing' them in your head. This might be difficult at first, but with practice, it can significantly increase your reading speed.

3. Use a Pointer or Your Finger:

Using your finger or a pointer to guide your eyes across the line of text can help improve focus and speed. The motion of your finger will encourage your eyes to move more smoothly and quickly across the page.

4. Master the Art of Scanning:

Scanning is another technique that can significantly increase your reading speed. Instead of reading every single word, you quickly move your gaze across the text, looking for specific words or phrases that are relevant to your purpose. This can be particularly useful when you're reading large volumes of text, like research papers or reports.

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5. Skim Strategically:

Like scanning, skimming involves quickly moving your eyes over the text without reading every word. However, skimming is best used to get a general sense of the text before you read it in detail. Look at headings, subheadings, and the first sentence of each paragraph to get an idea of the main points.

6. Practice Speed Reading Exercises:

There are many online tools and exercises designed to help improve your reading speed. These exercises often involve reading a text with a set time limit and then answering comprehension questions to ensure you've understood what you read.

7. Listen and Read Simultaneously:

One unique technique that can help improve reading speed and comprehension is to listen to an audiobook while reading the text simultaneously. This engages multiple senses, helping to reinforce memory and understanding, while also setting a constant pace for reading.

8. Take Care of Your Eyes:

Vision and eye health is essential for speed reading. Regularly rest your eyes, maintain a comfortable reading distance, and ensure adequate lighting. If you wear glasses, make sure your prescription is up to date.

9. Read More:

The best way to become a faster reader is simply to read more. The more you read, the more your speed and comprehension will naturally improve. Start with simpler texts and gradually move on to more complex materials.

Speed reading is not about racing through a book but rather about enhancing your reading efficiency while maintaining comprehension. While it may seem challenging initially, the benefits you gain, more knowledge in less time, improved memory, and even a longer life, make it a skill worth cultivating. So, fellow students, go ahead and start employing these techniques to fast-track your reading journey. You might surprise yourself with how quickly you can absorb and retain information.

Nikodem T.

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