How to speed read and comprehend | part 3 banner

These advanced speed reading techniques will fundamentally change how you read, and will require practice and perseverance. However, the result of your efforts will be a world-class reading speed.

Table Of Contents

  1. Reduce Sub-vocalization |  Stop internally vocalizing the text.
  2. Imaginative Reading |  Don’t read literally, read interpretively.
  3. Integrated Speed Reading |  Effectively combine all techniques together.
  4. Break Linearity |  Learn to use vertical line previewing.
  5. Practice |  Practice. Practice. Practice.
  6. Download This Article

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1. Reduce Sub-vocalization

The slowest readers vocalize every word, that is, they either speak or whisper the words out loud as they read. If you think about it, this tactic means that their reading speed is limited by their speaking speed. The majority of readers don’t read out loud, but they do so as an inner monologue called sub-vocalization.

The most transformative change in reading speed will come from de-coupling reading from vocalization and sub-vocalization. That is, to transform reading into an activity that less resembles speaking, and more resembles viewing an image. But, be warned – reducing sub-vocalization will require an extensive amount of practise to master. Your comprehension levels will drop significantly when you first begin to practice, and it may feel like you’re learning how to read all over again. It will be a frustrating experience at first, but the returns will be tremendous!

Preventing yourself from sub-vocalizing is surprisingly simple. All you have to do is vocalize something else to block the speaking path in your brain. When reading, continuously say out loud a repetitive sound like “ya-ee-ya-ee-ya-ee.” At first, you will notice that either your reading speed with drop or your comprehension will drop. However, with consistent practice, you will quickly surpass your previous reading speed limits.

2. Imaginative Reading

Question: A good author can paint vivid stories in the minds’ of his readers, but what makes a good reader?

Answer: A good reader is someone that can vividly imagine the intended story.

The past experiences and knowledge, creativity, interests, and engagement level of each reader affects how he or she interprets a story. After all, the more interest and experience you have with biology, the easier it will be for you to read a biology textbook. For this reason, no two people read alike.

Readers who suffer from low comprehension are often literal readers, that is, they don’t engage their other senses and imagination and they try to memorize the text word-for-word. In comparison, imaginative readers convert everything into images and feelings. They read as if they are watching a movie or experiencing it themselves.

This process of converting words into images, feelings and experiences is not only a powerful tool for increasing comprehension, but also retention. This is because humans rely on the visual information more than any other to understand the world around us.

Of course, certain genres make this easier than others. Stories that are linked to human experience are typically the easiest, because they’re written in narrative form, are emotionally engaging, very descriptive and are often relatable to our own life experiences. However, imaginative reading is just as relevant for more abstract material, such as those in the sciences. Here are some ways to do so:

  • When possible, ground concepts in real life experiences
  • Visualize data
  • Visualize concepts by using analogies and simulated real-life examples
  • Relate new concepts to old concepts

At first, this may be a time-consuming process that requires significant effort. However, with enough experience it will become intuitive and natural.

3. Integrated Speed Reading

By successfully combining the techniques introduced in Parts 1, 2 & 3 of this tutorial, you should be able to double, triple or quadruple your average reading speed, while maintaining a high level of comprehension and retention.

Practice With Newspapers

One of the best resources to develop your speed reading skill is your local newspaper. This is because your local paper is already optimized for speed reading.

Newspaper text is structured in conveniently narrow widths, which is perfect for block reading. The topics covered are highly relatable, which make visualization much easier. Lastly, newspapers avoid highly technical language, so it’s perfect for practicing speed reading!

4. Break Linearity

Once you reach a certain point in speed reading, you will naturally begin scanning the words both above and/or below the line you are reading. This will result in non-linear reading, that is, reading that doesn’t follow the natural order of the words. It’s basically an advanced form of block reading that extends vertically. At first, this will work as a form of previewing, rather than reading words, but with enough practice, you may develop the ability to read multiple lines simultaneously.

5. Practice

The most difficult task of all.

I’ve seen people double their reading speed, from 200 wpm to 400 wpm, just by applying these techniques in one session. However, mastery of speed reading, like any skill, requires a combination of technique and practice. 

I have done my best to teach you the most effective speed reading techniques, but now it’s up to you to invest the time in yourself to make it a reality. 

Don’t give up!

The Next Level

If you feel like you need some help to achieve your speed reading goal, considering investing in a speed reading program. A good speed reading program can help immensely by facilitating the development of the various techniques introduced in this tutorial. If you choose to pay for one, make sure to check out reviews and testimonials first to make the most informed decision.

There are many great alternatives in the market, and I can’t speak for all of them, but 7 Speed Reading is one of the most comprehensive and effective that I have tested. As it comes with a full refund and $50 money back policy, it’s a no-risk investment to test it out.

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