How to read Faster

Everyone will agree that, reading and comprehension are the two most important skills required for everyone, starting from students, scientists to philosophers. And, books are your greatest source of knowledge, strength, building your confidence, character and so many things. We will come back to what to read later but let’s continue with our main topic. Faster reading I think is a habit, a good habit that anyone can develop by practice. Ever since, I can remember, I was avid reader of books. When, I am about 8 years or so, my Dad took me to a book stall (like a Newsagent), which used to have number of small pocket books — mythology fiction about, Kings, Princes and demons and adventure tales. I used to go every alternate day to borrow a book and return the read one. Then, my reading career went places. I used to read any and every book I found. In my very young age, I have finished lots of books written by Enid Blyton like, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew etc. Then, I went during my teens and college days to Agatha Christie and during graduation and initial work years, all the Fiction Novels like Godfather, books by Sidney Sheldon, Irving Wallace, Frederick Forsyth etc. along with spiritual books, especially Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavatham. Then, a number of books on personality development, career, Money like, Think and Grow Rich, Books on NLP — Neuro Linguistic programming.

1. The main problem is actually reading itself. Some people cannot read more than 2 pages and they stop reading and move on to something. Why does it happen? To become a good reader, one needs to develop bit of good habits like, discipline and determination. Firstly, think about why you want to read something, what do you get from it, when you want to finish it. If you have no idea, don’t worry, still give a date. For example, if you are the slowest reader, set up an initial deadline of 20 days for a 100 pages book. It actually helps to have a start and finish date.

2. How do you read?

I saw some people, when they read, they read word by word. And, then they even stop after few words or a line or two. Instead try reading multiple words at a time. Imagine your eyes are like a camera and you are taking photos. Instead of going through each alphabet one by one, grab multiple words. Again, it’s all about practice. Start with a single word and go on to multiple words and if there are any coma or colons, don’t stop, keep going. To get to this habit of reading multiple words, try reading small pocket books or in a computer — word document, divide and split the text into two or three columns.

3. One more thing that I noticed is that, some people read out loud or within their mind, word by word. This is where you loose lot of time, energy and patience. No wonder people get tired and give up after 2 or three pages. This is called vocalization and if you can avoid this, you can improve your speed to a great degree. Initially, like any habit (Old habits die hard) this initially becomes cumbersome and sometimes makes you loose your head and sense of what you are reading. But, practice and patience will give you results. Again, remember — you are not trying to give up your old habit, you are actually replacing the old one with a new one.

4. Another useful technique called skimming is a useful one. Here, what you are doing is actually not even reading all the words but, skipping the words or read only few words per line. Again, this needs practice and will come handy to quickly get a feel of what the content is. For, students this is useful to read the textbooks, so that to figure out the important topics, that needs a re-reading. There are two ways, you can use this technique. One is before the start of reading a Novel or something to get a feel of the topic or after normal reading, to make sure you got the gist of what is going on.

(..To be continued)

Originally published at on May 5, 2017.