Speed Reading Tips and Strategies

There are many things that separate fast readers from slow readers. One of the features that speed readers possess is that they read to gain from the information and enjoy reading frequently. On the other hand, slow readers approach reading with a negative perspective and thus read slow.

Ultimately, a good reader is one that reads an article for a goal of benefiting from it. At times, you may pick up an article at a store and slightly browse though it without paying much attention to what you are reading. During these times, you are not an efficient reader. This is one of the most important factors that enables good readers to get good grades on standardized tests (such as the SAT or GMAT). The makers of these tests know that the articles in the reading sections are tedious and boring. When a bad or inefficient reader starts to read the articles in these tests, they get bored very easily and their mind wonders around for the reminder of the passage—not knowing what they just have read. On the other hand, a good reader will approach these same articles in a different way. He will try to make it seem as though they are interesting and try to absorb as much information as he/she can from reading them. Basically, when you enjoy reading something, you will absorb that information for a longer period of time and be able to answer the questions faster with more accuracy.

Here as some of the questions you should be asking yourself as you are reading:

Before Reading

  • Why am I reading this article? What will I gain from reading it?

Often people read for the sake of reading; for example, a person might be reading and not knowing what he/she is reading just for the sake of doing the homework. There are many answers to this question. Some of which might include to be entertained, to increase your understanding of the material, to obtain new information, to research a topic, etc.

  • Is there anything I have to answer after I finish the reading?

If there are any questions that you have to answer after reading, make a mental note of the questions. This helps you to keep focus while reading and spot an answer to the question.

  • What do I know about the information being read?

If you are reading about a topic that you already know something about, make a metal note of the important aspects. For example, you might be reading an article about the 1920’s; in this case you might want to make a mental note of the changing ideas and the depression of the late 1920s. Also, you might be reading a science article on survival; in this case you might want to know a little about evolution and Darwin’s theories.

During Reading

  • What is the dominate theme here? How has the topic changed?

Understanding the main theme and how it relates to the rest of the passage is very important. For example, if you are reading a topic on weight loss and you get to a passage on dieting, it is important to realize that it is still the same topic just in more details.

  • What is the format of the work, and how is it organized?

Become familiar with the authors writing style. It is important to realize with parts are in the past, present, and future. Some authors switch between these time phases and missing a past-tense word can leave you confused for a while. Also, become familiar with the authors sentence structure. Some sentences can run for several lines.

  • What topics are going to be discussed next?

It is sometimes good to skim a little before reading the entire passage because it prepares you for what you are going to be reading next. This allows you to keep questioning what you are reading. It is important to form conclusion when you are reading; you have to question the material you are reading. In a way, it is like talking to yourself and teaching yourself the material.

After Reading

  • What have a gained for reading this?

After you finish reading, it is best to take a minute or two and think to yourself about what you have finished reading. This will enable you to absorb the information for a longer time. For some people this minute can be the difference between storing the information as short-term memory or long-term memory.

  • Will I need to know this for my work?

If you have a test coming up on this information or you needed to research it for work, it is best to rehearse the material for one or two days after reading it. For instance, you might want to skim the article very quickly to see if you missed some important information.