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How to Read Quickly

Updated on November 5, 2012
Too much to read!
Too much to read! | Source

How Can I Read Faster?

When you have a lot of things to read and a short time to read them, it can be overwhelming! Regardless of what you need to read, from documents to books to web sites, there are ways to increase your reading speed and decrease your stress!

This method is simple, but it can provide big payoffs. The more you use it, the better you get at reading quickly and the more you can read in a short time.

Text with Images
Text with Images | Source
Text with a Table
Text with a Table | Source

Reading Fast: It's Easy!

Here are the steps to reading faster. First, pick out one item that you need to read, such as a document or web page. Then follow these steps:

  1. Read all titles and subtitles, but nothing else. You are getting an overview during this pass.
  2. Go back to the top and read all bold and italics words and sentences. If the titles and subtitles are in bold, read those again as well. Do this from the top to the bottom in the second pass.
  3. Now go back and look at the pictures, charts and diagrams. Chances are that you've seen these as you made the first two passes. This time, look them over and read the captions. By now you have a pretty good idea of the material that is covered, and you haven't even read a complete sentence yet! The first three passes should only take a few minutes to complete.
  4. Now go back to the top and read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. That may sound crazy, but you'll get a good idea of what they are about just from that information. If you come across a paragraph that, after reading these two sentences, you don't really know what it was about, go ahead and read the entire paragraph.
  5. Finally, start at the beginning and review the entire document. Skim over the items you reviewed in steps one through three. If there are any lingering questions in your mind, read a few paragraphs in the section that should answer your question.

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Improve Reading Comprehension

Not only does this method help you read information faster, but it also helps you comprehend and remember what you read. Who knew that reading faster would also mean reading better?

This method helps with comprehension because it provides a cyclical pattern to reading. By following these steps, you cycle through the reading material multiple times. By seeing and reviewing or skimming it many times, it becomes more solidified in your mind.

This approach also allows you to gradually step into the information instead of trying to comprehend it all at once. You start with baby steps, like reading titles and subtitles and looking at diagrams. While those aren't the meat of the information, they slowly bring you into it. It's like wading from the beach into the ocean. First you dip your toes in, then your feet, etc., more with each step, until you are comfortable and familiar with the water.

Kindle Book
Kindle Book | Source

Reading Strategies: Varieties of Text

While it is ideal for workplace style documents, this method can be used on any type of text. Most text contains subtitles and a title, and even web content generally has images with captions. If the text you are using is missing any of these components, simply skip that step. It will still work, and you'll still find yourself reading more quickly and comprehending the information faster and better.


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    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Kittyjj - I'm a slow reader too, and this method has helped me. Thanks for the votes!

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Great tips for me, I think. I read slow and will give your tips a try. Hopefully these tips will save me time on reading.

      Voted up and useful!

    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      Marcy - there are many methods out there, but this is the one I like best personally. I like the repetition of moving over the same text multiple times. It doesn't feel like you are reading it over and over, but somehow subliminally it works.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Back when I was a kid, I was given a speed-reading class (not sure why - they picked a few of us to be in the class). It has served me well ever since. Your techniques here are different (I'm thinking 'newer'!) than the ones I was taught, which focused on moving your eyes over a block of information at one time. No matter which way you learn, it really does work, and you can read faster but still enjoy it.

      I plan to check out the methods you've mentioned here to see if I can brush up on it a bit. Thanks!

      Voted up!

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Luckily I always was a fast reader - got no idea why I ended up on the course in the first place. Your way makes lots of sense though - especially because there is so much information about these days there is no way of thoroughly reading it all. This way it seems like you can get out the points you need from something and if it's interesting enough opt for more.

    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      Nettlemere - that course sounds like more pressure than productivity! I hope this method will help. Thanks for reading!

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Interesting and potentially useful technique. I went on a speed reading course when I was 16 which mostly involved a motorized bar running down the page which you had to try and keep up with and then comprehension tests to see what you'd retained.