How To Read Fast

It is very important to understand the factors that slow down your reading speed. Although they have been listed in the beginning, this portion of the guide will explain them more thoroughly while giving you tips on how to minimize the affects of them. Once you understand these factors, you can concentrate on the ones that are giving you the most problems and increase your reading speed. The most common reading problems are listed below:

Factors Contributing to Slow Reading Speed

There are many factors that can result in slow reading speeds. Although some habits are direct results of improper reading tactics that arise during elementary school, others are solely based on the reader’s attention. Studies show that since the age of 12, most readers do not significantly improve their reading speeds, and thus never reach their full capacity.

Some of the factors that contribute to slower reading speeds include:

  1. Word-by-Word reading that occurs from limited perception span
  2. Vocalization, which is the mental process of sounding out words as you read.
  3. The belief that slow reading leads to better comprehension
  4. Lack of concentration, or lack of sleep
  5. Regression, which is the process of re-reading material already read
  6. Faulty eye movement, inaccuracy in placement of the eye while reading
  7. Poor evaluation regarding the important parts of the material.

While some of the factors cannot be completely removed, this guide helps to minimize those factors and increase your reading speed.

Word-by-Word Reading

The root of this problem exists in elementary school. Often times in elementary school, we are taught to read word-by-word in order to gradually learn how to read. However, many children have had the problem of not advancing from this level of reading. Hence, they continue to read work-by-word throughout elementary school, throughout college, and throughout life. Most people would argue that reading word-by-word helps them grasp the material better; however, this is a false statement. Studies have shown that readers who read multi-word phrases are capable of reading at a faster rate while understanding the material better.

  • Solution: One way to become accustomed to reading multi-word phrases is to change your reading method. You must begin to see words in groups. While reading, you must focus your perception on several words at one time rather than each word separately. Another way to read multi-word phrases is to read out load. The theory behind this method is that people do not talk word-by-word; rather they communicate by speaking multi-phrases at one time.


Similar to Word-by-Word reading, vocalization also originates from the time you were young. Vocalization is the process of sounding out words as you read. For example, at the time you first began to read, you were encouraged to sound-out the words as you read them. For instance, you broke up the word “book” into b-o-o-k. After pronouncing each of the letters separately, you then continued and read the phrase as one word. As you advanced from reading out load to reading by yourself, you kept on using this method. As a result, you began to pronounce words in your head as you read them to yourself. Vocalization helps you understand what you are reading when you are beginning to learn how to read, however, it can become one of the major factors that slows you down when reading in your later years. You do not sound out the word book when you see one on your desk, why would you sound it out when you are reading it in print?

  • Solution: Although vocalization cannot be completely eliminated, a small reduction in it can dramatically increase your reading speed. In order to do this, you have to visualize the words that you are reading. You must read a novel like you are watch a movie.


One problem that many beginners have is regression. It is the process of re-reading material already read. The cause of this is faulty eye movement. For example after you have finished reading a sentence, you began to read another one only to find out that it was the same sentence that you previously read. Hence, your eyes may move back to sentences already read. As a result, at times you will be reading the same sentence, while at other time skipping sentences unintentionally. This can cause you to re-focus on the sentence and re-read the material. This can dramatically slow down your reading speed.

  • Solution: By using a pointer such as your finger or a ruler you can eliminate this program. In addition, there are many programs that train the coordination of the eye and strengthen the muscles that move it. One system that helped many overcome reading issues is the wilson reading program This will make it easier to read from line-to-line by limiting the faulty eye movement.

Lack of Concentration / Poor Evaluation of Important Parts of the Material

At times when you are reading, you do not understand what you have read because you lack the concentration needed to absorb that information. For example, you will finish reading 20 pages but do not know what you have just read. This is not an issue of poor memory. It is caused by a lack of concentration on the material being read. Hence, you cannot evaluate between the jargon that many authors use and the important aspects of what you have just read. Although this can result from a lack of sleep and exercise, it is mainly due to the lack of brain power being used. Studies have shown that we use close to 1/10th of our brain power.

  • Solution: Speed reading uses a larger percentage of your normal brain power because you will be more focused on the material. This will limit your lack of concentration and help you comprehend the information much more easily. Another way to reduce the effects of this problem is to due some light exercise before you begin to read. This may include some very light running or push-ups.

Lack of Adequate Vocabulary

A weak vocabulary can halt your reading speed at times. For many readers, when they come across an unfamiliar word, they have a tendency of skipping it and continuing to read. This can diminish your comprehension of the material.

  • Solution: The only way to reduce this problem is to learn new vocabulary. There are many methods of learning new words. One method which many people have had success with is mnemonics. This method will provide you with a picture that will serve as a visual aid in remembering the vocabulary word. Another powerful method of strengthening your vocabulary is to study the composition of words. This includes studying the common prefixes and suffixes. As your vocabulary increases, you will be able to predict the meaning of new words simply by looking at them and comparing them with words that you already know.