The first step for reading a text is seeing the words. But how many words can you see in a page while reading? Before 1920s, researchers believed that human beings can only see one word at a moment and comprehend it. According to this hypothesis, speed-readers were those who could recognize and comprehend words faster. However, today this hypothesis has lost its validity meaning that everyone even the beginners have the potential to see more than one word in a glance. There are 7 effective ways we need to improve reading speed and comprehension.
1- Word reading
We have already learned how to combine letters and read the words. Now it is time to learn how to combine a group of words and read sentences (block reading). We have always been told to read a text word by word and move forward. But this makes us slow and lowers our reading speed, and soon we will get tired and give up reading our favorite books or articles.
In speed reading technique we should do sentence reading instead of word reading. You may think that those who read a text word by word comprehend it in a better way. However, we must say that this belief is not correct. Human’s brain only deals with the concept and the meaning of the sentences, not with the meaning of the words alone because the words can only have meanings when they are used in a sentence. For instance, when you are listening to someone talking, you don’t listen to their words, you understand the meaning of the sentences they have said.
2- Reading loudly
One of the wrong habits while reading is reading the text with a loud voice. This slows down the transmission of the information to the brain. This way, first we see the words, then we hear them, and finally the information finds its way to the brain. Of course, doing so while trying to memorize things is all right, but this should not be done while reading. This results in a slow speed of reading and low comprehension. The best approach for reading texts is to see them by the eyes and then transmit the information to the brain.
Removing voicing is one of the most important techniques in improving the reading speed and comprehension. Voicing means murmuring the words in your mind. Most people do voicing, and want to hear the sound of the words in their minds to fully understand the sentences they are reading. While, this wrong habit has no place in speed reading and should be removed as much as possible. Voicing reduces your concentration and reading speed. You just need to trust your eyes and indoctrinate yourself that there is no need for hearing the sound of the words while reading and you can comprehend them completely by just looking at them.
4- Involuntary return of eyes
Avoid going back and reading the words and sentences again. You must have experienced this before, when you constantly go back to read what you have just read for another time. This can be done both voluntarily and involuntarily. In order to remove this bad habit, you should practice line reading. This exercise will be explained in the next lessons.
5- Wandering of eyes among lines
It has probably happened to you when you lose the line you were reading and start searching for it, and somehow wander among the lines. Practicing line reading is also beneficial for eliminating this pointless wandering.
6- Long pauses on words
Naturally human’s eyes pause on every word for one quarter of a second while reading. Therefore, we should see 4 words per second or 240 per minute. However, for many people the speed of reading is lower than this number (240 wpm) due to the wrong habits mentioned above. This pause cannot be totally eliminated, but by practicing line reading, it can be reduced to a minimum amount.
7- Field of view
Field of view in speed reading means the number of the words you can see in a look. Naturally, the wider your field of view, the faster you can see the words and read the content of the book. There are various exercises for enhancing this factor. You should practice enough to achieve the result you desire in enhancing your field of view.
From now on keep in mind all of the factors mentioned above whenever you read a book. Just by remembering them and trying to avoid them your reading speed will improve significantly.