There are a variety of different Speed Reading Techniques (also known as “Speed Reading Strategies”) that can be employed to read more efficiently and increase comprehension rates. The techniques provide readers with different methodologies (based on specific causes of slow reading and preferences) to move through passages of text in a way that speeds up visual/mental coordination, which is cornerstone of speed reading.
Let’s explore them!
Skimming involves rapidly moving your eyes over text for key information and main ideas. In an effort to capture summaries of the text, one may skim the table of contents, chapter summaries, titles/sub-titles, bulleted lists, and passages of text.
Pacing is perhaps the most common Speed Reading technique. Pacing involves using an object to move over passages as you read. Common objects used include a card, pen/pencil, cards, or finger. The goal of this technique is to allow the reader time to process text and passages before continuing to the next words. It also provides a focal point for the reader which minimizes random eye movement to other areas of the reading material.
The Keyword Reading strategy involves visually sifting through passages of texts looking for keywords that will convey the meaning of the text. Keyword reading increases reading speed by bypassing connecting or “transition” words and scanning for words that summarize each sentence. See the examples below.
Example 1: The children tossed the ball back and forth in the crowded playground
Example 2: When Larry went to the store he forgot his wallet at the counter.
Example 3: The passengers ran to catch the elevator doors before they closed completely.
Keywords: Passengers/ran/elevator doors/before/closed
Chunking involves reading several words at a time to break them down into shorter, more manageable passages. “Chunked” words are grouped together in phrases and sentences which helps the reader to more easily identify key words and summarize ideas. Take a look at the example of Chunking below.
Passage from ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ (by Ernest Hemingway):
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week.
He was an old man who fished alone/in a skiff in the Gulf Stream/and he had gone eighty-four days now/without taking a fish/In the first forty days/a boy had been with him/But after forty days without a fish/the boy’s parents had told him/that the old man was now definitely and finally salao/which is the worst form of unlucky/and the boy had gone at their orders/in another boat/which caught three good fish the first week
Speed Reading techniques can increase reading speed by 2-3x’s, and aide in higher levels of comprehension.
Most, if not all of these techniques are taught in Speed Reading Classes and can be learned and mastered in a matter of weeks. The important thing to remember when focusing on reading improvement is that the key is to ensure adequate comprehension of the subject matter-if you can remember it, then you’ve got it!