How to Improve your Reading Speed and Retention.

Reading skills and Improved Comprehension

Sharing this simple and age old technique will increase your basic reading skill, speed and comprehension.

We must remember that people are short of time. A few minutes working on your reading now, could save hours in the future.

How many times have you read a page, yet cannot remember a single word that you have read. We need to focus and what better way than to use a finger or a pointer.

When we were children this is how we learned to read. It worked but for some reason this simple methods gets lost as we grow up.

Reading is such a wonderful skill and we sometimes take it for granted.

We even sometimes forget that it is a learned skill. It becomes so much a part of us.

Basic Reading Starts Early

Reading is fun
Reading is fun | Source

Reading is an aquired Skill

It is however a truly amazing skill to have, and by no means always a simple thing to master.

Even today, there are millions of people around the world, that cannot read. So we should cherish our reading skill, a little more.

When we think of the advantages basic reading brings. Think about how you learned to read.

The way that you followed the words with your finger. You may have actually been reprimanded, for doing this intuitive thing.

In fact, it is a very successful method for focusing the eyes, and rapidly improving your reading speed and understanding.

Kings College Chapel Universary of Cambridge

Kings College Chapel University of Cambridge When you attend a university your primary role is to 'read' to conduct your research.
Kings College Chapel University of Cambridge When you attend a university your primary role is to 'read' to conduct your research. | Source

Reading and retention

When you can read. You can literally become whatever you want to be.

If you are, or have been lucky enough to go to university. You will know that whatever the subject is that you study. You will be reading.

For example you may read Science, Technology or Art. Whatever the subject.

You are relying on basic reading skills. You can read your way to becoming a Doctor, a Dentist, a Businessman or Woman, or the Head of Finance for some huge corporation or even a Teacher.

All this from just basic reading. Think about this for a minute.

How to read faster and better

The Practical Method

How many times have you been reading a book, a magazine, a safety leaflet on a plane, while waiting to take off on holiday. Or some instructions on, how to put that self-assembly book shelf together. That is still sitting in the hall.

The thing you are reading just won't go into your head. You have to constantly go back and re-read the same thing. Repetition helps.

When you realise that often you have to repeat something, a few times, to retain it.

Then you will understand this simple strategy. You have read it once, but may have forgotten already. It happens to just about everyone.

Reading skill helps in everyday life

Reading a menu couldn't be easier when you have mastered your reading skill
Reading a menu couldn't be easier when you have mastered your reading skill | Source

Reading can fire your imagination

Why is the book always better than the movie. Our imaginations fills in the blanks with visuals that can rarely be matched by a movie.

The fact is, that when we are reading there is an awful lot going on, that you may not be fully conscious of.

The images on the side. Some noise in the distance. All distract you from reading. You are reading this article. Did you think, when you read the line above, about re-reading things... yeah.

This happens to everyone at some stage. You may have started thinking about, when it last happened to you. If you did, don’t worry.

It is perfectly normal. Words act as triggers that send us off in all directions. Any good poet, novelist, playwright or lyric writer, depends on you filling in the blanks on the page, with your imagination.

How many times have you watched a movie and said. ‘The book was so much better’ Because you filled out the book's story from your mind.

So how do you reduce these departures or ‘time outs’, when you are reading.

We need to know how our eyes work with our brains. Firstly we are pretty much still cave men and women.

Our instinctual default view of the world, is to gather as much information about the world; as quickly as possible.

It is only after we have perceived a ‘no-threat’ environment, that our developed rational and logical functions come into play.

Victorian Samplers were used to practice reading and writing

Victorian children had to make these samplers for 'entertainment'
Victorian children had to make these samplers for 'entertainment' | Source

Problem Solved

What has this to do with basic reading.

When you pick up a book on any reading material your eyes flit around and scan the page from top to bottom right to left, left to right and diagonally.

In fact we look just about everywhere except top left where the sentence begins.

What we are doing is ‘hunting’ for important information on the page that we can quickly assess and determine its usefulness to us. Our primary reading skill then, is to focus.

It is only after this process that we can get down to reading proper. As mentioned above, add to this the ‘time outs’ that key words and phrases cause. It’s little wonder that we have to re-read things so often.

The solution thankfully is quiet simple and effective.

Remember when you were a child and you would follow the words on the page with your finger. Well it turns out that this is a really smart thing to do.

It focuses’ our attention to that one spot.

Many professionals and teachers use this method all the time in class, when they are pointing out things on the blackboard or on the interactive white board.

So next time you read something. Follow the words with a pen, pencil a mouse or your finger and you will be impressed at how quickly it improves you reading.

After practising this method for a while your reading skill and speed will increase dramatically, as well as your comprehension and retention.

Remember to practice these ideas daily and they will stick.

Cambridge University

A markerCambridge Univesity UK -
University of Cambridge, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE, UK
[get directions]

More by this Author

Comments 81 comments

molometer profile image

molometer 2 years ago Author

It is a simple method and like most simple things. It works a treat Lizolivia. Glad you liked it.

Lizolivia profile image

Lizolivia 2 years ago from Central USA

Your hub is easy to follow and flows well. I'm glad I'm not the only one to use a pointer while reading. I've occasionally wondered if it was helpful or a hindrance for faster reading. Thanks

mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

I've always been grateful my parents and teachers taught me to read at an early age. It amazes me when I hear of all the adults who cannot read!

Very informative and interesting Hub.

Voted UP, and shared.

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago Author

I was just thinking about it today.

How lucky we are to be able to read.

It opens so many possibilities.

Hope this simple but effective information on reading strategies helps.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

Such as simple solution -- I'm going to try this out. Voting this Up and Useful.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello Krishnan,

I am so happy, that you liked my simple method to improve your reading speed. Sometimes simple is best.

Krishnan 5 years ago

Simple method..Amazing results. Thanks for the article.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello moodle,

I do too. When I am going for speed, I use a pen or pencil and it really helps to focus.

moodle profile image

moodle 5 years ago

I always follow with my finger - it helps a LOT!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

How To Improve Your Reading Speed And Comprehension

For Free

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi klanguedoc,

It certainly does, sometimes we have to just keep things in perspective. Simple solutions often work best.

There are thousands of ways to skin a cat but they all have the same objective. Cat skinning, but in our case helping people to read more efficiently.

klanguedoc profile image

klanguedoc 5 years ago from Canada

And it stimulates great topics of conversation around the dinner table.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Vapid Maven, glad to have you back in the reading community. Good for you.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi klanguedoc,

You are absolutely right, we get good at what we practice. The more we do the better we get.

More power to your children.

If I were asked to name the most important thing we can learn. It is reading, everything else flows from this first principle.

Well done

Vapid Maven profile image

Vapid Maven 5 years ago from California

Nice hub! I have recently gotten back in to reading and yes my eyes are wandering!

klanguedoc profile image

klanguedoc 5 years ago from Canada

It is the three R principle: Read - Read - Read. My kids are avid readers, well my son more so than my daughter until this pass year. She has become virtual bookworm, and as a result, her reading comprehension and vocabulary has greatly and noticeably increased.

Abstract Wallpaper 5 years ago

Thanks it's a perfect hub

nice job :)

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello sam-eg, glad you found it helpful and thanks for leaving a comment.

sam-eg profile image

sam-eg 5 years ago from Happy Land

Thanks for sharing those great tips, very useful hub

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

We have been scratching marks on things for 1,000's of years so we are virtually hard wired to write with pen or pencil and paper, your preference to write hand written notes makes perfect sense as you also develop a muscle memory associated with the writing event. Which reinforces your memory of the ideas you wrote.

whoisbid profile image

whoisbid 5 years ago

I have found that I need to be connected somehow to words to really absorb them and your finger thing was interesting. At the moment I am using a book to write notes in. I know there are tons of computer apps that I could use to do this but for some reason I feel I need to use old fashioned things because it is clearer to me somehow

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thanks missolive,

Your hubs are brilliant and to add my little effort to yours is an honour indeed.

Thank you very much.

missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas

Very happy to include a link to this hub from my latest Reading Comprehension hub - glad to collaborate. Continued best wishes :)

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello Stacey,

It is really a very common difficulty that many people face.

Sometimes the simplest answers are the correct ones.

Glad to be of assistance.

Stacey 5 years ago

How strange, my 5 year old is just starting independent reading, tonight he seemed to be a little way laid and to pull his consentration back i sat with him and pointed to the words. There was i thinking he had regressed, Nice his not the only one that loses the concentration.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello uniquearticlesbuz,

Thank you for coming over and having a read, I am happy that you enjoyed it.

uniquearticlesbuz profile image

uniquearticlesbuz 5 years ago from USA

Thanks molometer for this useful hub and u have use nice pics for your hub.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello Arusho,

Thank you for dropping in and having a read. I hope it helps you as it has helped me.

Thanks for the lovely comment too.

arusho profile image

arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

That was great, I often wonder how I can improve my reading skills. I will definitely try this. Good hub!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thanks studentart.

studentart profile image

studentart 5 years ago

thanks for your basic informative and also useful hub.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Your welcome.

SoliloquistLocket profile image

SoliloquistLocket 5 years ago

Thank you very much for posting this.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Cindy, it?

How would one find out such a thing. Is there a post or something?


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Congrats on being one of the hottest hubs of the day with this one!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello missolive,

Your welcome, it was the best answer. I am not playing favorites:)

I'll keep my eye out for your new hub.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello provobluetango,

Thanks for dropping in.

There are so many techniques that work.

Some more effective than others and in addition they work for some people and not for others.

For example. There is a wide variety of problems that affect people with dyslexia from word blindness to inability to focus on the page at all.

In answer to your subsequent question.

There is a huge amount of ongoing research and scholarly articles available online; on the topic of eye tracking.

If you are really interested here is something that may interest you. An in depth discussion on eye tracking as a stand alone subject.

Enjoy and thanks for dropping in.

missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas

molometer - day off? what is that? lol

Thanks for the "Award" cool!

I will certainly let you know when I post the hub - Our hubs will definitely complement each other. Hope to have it up within the next 24 hours - thanks again!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi missolive,

Let me know when you post your hub and I will link it in to the above.

I have seen your comprehensive answer other at the other place and it has been awarded to you.

Congratulations on your first.

What are we like hey? just cannot stop teaching lol even on a day off.

profile image

provobluetango 5 years ago

I was hoping for a bit more information on speed reading and memory techniques. Interesting hub though. You also mentioned that our eyes scan a paper top to bottom side to side to asses for useful information. Do you know of any research that follows eye tracking?

missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas

Glad to have read this. Nice hub - good strategies and thoughts! Reading comprehension and increasing speed is right up my alley. I've been working on a similar hub, but different strategies - I will have to refer my readers to you when I'm done ;)

voted up!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thanks DeBorrah,

Sometimes getting back to basics is the only way forward.

Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a helpful comment

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello Adrienne2,

I hope it helps to know how this thing works and affects our attention and focus.

It is remarkable how we notice things once they are illuminated.

Hope you can utilize the method.

Pains of love part 1 is amazing.BTW

Thanks for reading my hub, it is much appreciated especially from my fellow hubbers with such talent.

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Molometer, This was GREAT! Sometimes things are so simple we overlook them! I do a lot of reading and see how returning to the basic reading method that was learned decades ago can be most helpful!

Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 5 years ago from Atlanta

Hi molometer, I felt like I was reading about myself while reading this hub. I do exactly what you spoke of my eyeballs are roaming all over the page, sometimes looking at the cover of the magazine, and yes I must scan the back cover. I'll scan over the magazine as if someone told me there was a $100 bill stuck in it somewhere. Before you know of course I have to start all over again with reading the article I was so in tune with before my search for that $100. Great job! Voted up!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Jenny,

How interesting, just goes to show you that the method works. I have also heard of the Mozart idea but in pregnant women. Apparently if the pregnant woman listens to Mozart the child will have an advantage educationally. I am not sure of the details but interesting that it is used in language teaching as well with the whole left brain thing. I have heard something of that too.

Looks like there are another few hubs here? What do you think.

Thanks for dropping in and leaving such an interesting comment.

Jenny Gardner profile image

Jenny Gardner 5 years ago from UK

I learned a language as an older person. Well I say old, I was 34, seems young now. Anyway, we were taught that same technique to follow the writing with you finger. We were also encouraged to listen to Mozart as it had an effect on the side of our brain that was doing all the learning. When you learn a language along with your mother tongue as a baby, its all on one side, but as an adult we actually use the opposite side of our brain.

Voted UP on this hub - thank you.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello tebo,

That simple change can have a huge effect on your reading speed. Well done and keep it up. Even if it seems silly. You will be the one laughing when you see your speed increasing.

Let me know how you get on and thanks for the read and comments.

tebo profile image

tebo 5 years ago from New Zealand

A nice and easy to read hub! I tried the mouse for the rest of the hub once you mentioned it and it does help to keep on track.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello NatalieMK,

It's nice to 'get stuck into a good book' in a nice peaceful place.

Good on you and remember to eat and drink occasionally, even if it is through a straw lol

Thanks for the visit, comments and vote.

Nataliemk 5 years ago

I have realize I need silence and calm to really get stuck into a book - I can sit for hourswothout even thinking about my basic human needs!

I think everyone should make time to find there happy place in their home - to get lost in their imagination. Joy!

Great hub - voted up

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Lord de cross,

Thanks for your comments. Your right one system doesn't work for everyone but knowing something usually helps someone somewhere.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thanks oriental pearl

@ justateacher. Enjoy.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Well sligobay,

like the man in orthopedic shoes, I stand corrected :)

You are more than welcome to elucidate further. Or do you want me to do it and complicate matters? lol

justateacher profile image

justateacher 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

haven't even read the hub yet-I will - but had to laugh at the picture that is included! It captures my everyday feelings! lol Now off to read the hub!

oriental pearl profile image

oriental pearl 5 years ago from Philippines - the Pearl of the Orient Seas

hahaha, sometimes, it happens to me... :)

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Good morning from the other side of the Pond!

Certainly you have a point in this useful hub. I agree completely, but is there room in here for Genetics? I mean, some are better readers than writers, and what we call our background plays an important pivotant role in our writing skills; well is just our sincere opinion. Thanks for the Important Hub!


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Good topic but hoping for more instructive content. Not even an honorable mention of the double dot line system was found. I'm always seeking.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Buddy,

I really like your writing.

Thanks for popping over to visit and leaving a comment.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

8? wow

I have bookshelves heaving with books too.

I just love them and couldn't think of anything worse than a world without books.

Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

Thanks for dropping it

buddyporter96 profile image

buddyporter96 5 years ago from Mid-South, United States

Hello, Mr. molometer, thanks a million for following me. That was a grand surprise as I am so 'green' at writing. I wish you my best. Buddy

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

I bet my husband still wouldn't like it. And we already have about 8 bookshelves of books. We are both readers. We even have boxes of books not on shelves! But he still wouldn't like it! Darn!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi homesteadbound,

I'm sure with enough spanners and some dodgy instructions you could make that bookcase

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thank you Dexter,

For you kind words. My efforts pale in comparison but we all have out contributions to make. Thank you again for coming over.

You are an inspiration to me. Thank you most sincerely.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Apparently Eclipse has gone viral whatever that means. He's not rabid I hope lol.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi peps, now you know the secret to success with reading fast and efficiently. You go son.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Interesting article. I bet reading out loud is beneficial to keeping a person on task. I am often guilty of moving my lips while I read... hummm... I wonder what that means?

A couple things about your pics. I loved the saying on the top baby pic ... I am totally confused at this point!1

And I really would like to have that bookshelf. It is so cool. I don't think my husband would like it... but I would love it.

Really nice article all the way around.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Molometer! You have provided a masterpiece for those of us looking to improve our reading speed. You are to be commended for the time, effort and knowledge you put into this exceptional hub.

I have no doubt that this hub will be useful to many as it has to me. Bookmarked and voted up, up and away!

Pepskaram 5 years ago

yes, I very often find I have read pages and pages and pages and pages and then think to myself what have I just read,then have to go back and read it all again! In my case I believe its because my mind wonders and I start thinking of other things instead of the subject at hand!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Thanks Dallas I totally agree with you, When faced with a mountain of text, speed reading is essential. Hunting for the relevant, amongst the mass of text one can get the gist and then homes in on the 'piece' or phrase that will form the quote in ones essay.

The funny side to this story is; the book was titled 'how to improve you memory' By Tony Buzan.

I had lent it from the library amongst several other books.

When I returned the books to the packed library, the librarian asked for the memory book.?

To my shame I couldn't remember where I had left it.

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

As you know reading involves comprehension... One can decode, but not understand what they read...

Speed reading is a compromise bewteen skimming and comprehension.

Again, I enjoyed your article!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Samson1,

Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one.

Occam's razor, also known as Ockham's razor, and sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae (the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness) Wikipedia.

It worked for me and has worked for countless millions of school children... even today with all our high tech. We still have to read 'stuff'

It always amazes me that when you give a kid a book sometimes they will not even attempt to read it. Put it on a computer screen and they will read all day? Bizarre hey?

I'm glad it gave you something to think about and hope it helps you too. Let me know how you get on. It takes a little while but you will notice the difference PDQ.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi dallas93444,

I wrote a long response to your comments and it has vanished into the digital abyss. Short version follows.

I read a book many years ago by Tony Buzan whilst at college as I had tons of books to read.

The technique helped speed up my reading and retention. I can now read a page of text in just a few seconds.

Like any skill. The more one practices the better one gets.

Focusing on the task in hand by using a pointer will have a dramatic impact on speed.

The aspects that you refer to are of course useful and accurate and are a valuable contribution to this hub and I thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

In fact I think you have another hub there already.

Thanks again

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hello Jen,

I am having such a laugh today and when I read your comments I just really cracked up.

It's just like that isn't it... What was I saying? O yeah er! ha ha

Thanks for the rib tickling comment. You made my day.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Good morning Hubert lol,

Glad you popped in and had a read. Did you have any 'time outs' while reading the hub?

It's the simple things that matter hey!

speak soon

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

Well written and enticing. Masterfully descriptive. You made it so simple. I've always wanted to improve my reading ability, I think you have given me the 'shot in the arm' needed. Voted up and useful...

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great article. Perhaps some of us are linear thinkers and others are intuitive thinkers. Linear thinkers think best... one-thing-after-the-other.

Intuitive thinkers, jump around putting the pieces of the puzzel together. One is not better than the other. To know your style of thinking empowers you to effectively utilize the process that is suited to you.

Another element in the reading process is our primary source of learning/assesing information.

We have at least five different modes of learning/assessing:

verbal, Visual, Tactile, Kinesthetic, and Aural.

Our reading style reflects our empasis in which modality we use the most. We all blend the various modalities of learniong, but generally one is dominant.

Reading for the visuall strong learners would be jumping to the pictures first.

As you know, we read by looking at the complete word first.. skimming along and bouncing back to not comprehended words or phrases...

Flag up!

profile image

jenubouka 5 years ago

Great information a lot of things I do but didn't even realize. I can read an entire page and not even know what I read, I tend to drift off into my mind. So this was great to know how to....Wait I did it again...I'm kidding.

Very insightful,

profile image

Hubertsvoice 5 years ago

That is very helpful information. Grandma sucking eggs?

I always read at the speed of 'huh?' That almost always keeps me on the mark, unless I fall asleep. The pointer may help me.

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago Author

Hi Sunshine thanks for the read. The method works so well. That's why we still use it in schools

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

THANK YOU molometer! I will try this simple, easy, childhood technique once again and I hope it helps me pay better attention! Useful hub:)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article