Barriers to speed reading
There is more reading material in today’s world than we could have imagined 50 years ago. New things are added every day and we keep wondering if we will ever be able to read them all. It may not be practical to read them all in one lifetime, but we can hope to read all our favorites by mastering the technique of speed reading. The average reading speed is about 200-400 words per minute. Speed readers can read at much higher speeds. If you go by theory, one can read as fast as one thinks. There are people who claim to read at 25,000 words per minute!
Many studies and research have been done to find out what makes some people read faster. Speed reading is simply a technique that combines different 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 around 400 words per minute, and if you happen to read aloud, chances are your reading speed will be determined by your baud rate. To improve your reading speed, the first step is to break this habit.
Subvocalization is a phenomenon you absorb when you start learning to read as a child. The best way to break this habit is to be aware of it while reading. Try not to read the words out loud. Out loud doesn’t have to be the literal meaning here, you might as well read it in your head. Even this can slow down the reading speed.
Train yourself to read as fast as you think. Reading should be like watching a video where you don’t repeat the words. You just see and understand what the video is trying to communicate. Reading should be like seeing and understanding, not hearing the words and understanding. It will take some time and practice on your part to completely break this habit. But once you get into the habit of sight reading, your reading speed will increase tremendously.
Another habit that slows down reading speed is rereading. Many times we tend to go back to the text we have already read. This may be due to limited vocabulary or limited concentration. Try to stop rereading. Vocabulary will increase over time as you read more and more. To improve concentration, start by reading in a secluded place. Slowly continue to improve your concentration by using some aid such as earplugs. When you engage in reading, your concentration will automatically improve. It is not always necessary to read all the words to understand the meaning of the sentence. There will be certain keywords that will convey the full meaning.
Speed reading techniques are very simple and can be mastered with some practice and self-discipline.
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