Speed Reading: 10 Tips to Improve Reading Speed & Reading Comprehension

by Speed Reading Expert, Richard L. Feldman, Ph.D. (Columbia University)

10. Read Early in the Day

Many people can double their reading speed and improve their concentration by reading the material that’s important to them early in the day.

9. Prioritize Your Reading

Create three piles for your reading materials – important, moderately important, and least important. Then read the material in their order of importance. You’ll improve your reading speed by doing this, and improve your reading comprehension by getting to the important material first, when your mind is clear and sharp.

8. Skim Material First for Main Ideas

Speed read for main ideas in nonfiction works like how-to books and educational texts. Scan the table of contents and first and last sentences of each paragraph. You’ll improve your reading speed and comprehension if you understand a book’s structure first. This will help you know which parts of the book to skim and which parts to read more carefully.

7. Form a Question

Improve your reading comprehension, reading speed, and concentration by turning headings and subheadings in textbooks and other nonfiction books into questions. Then scan the text for the answers. Your reading speed improves by doing this, and you become focused on your material.

6. Read in the Proper Environment

Prop your book or magazine using a bookstand – angling your reading material at 45 degrees improves your reading speed and reduces eyestrain. Avoid reading difficult or important material in bed, where your mind and body tend to relax. You’ll stay alert if you sit at a desk instead.

5. Write a Course of Action on Correspondence

Improve your reading speed and avoid re-reading correspondence by jotting brief notes immediately after reading each piece of correspondence. Simply refer to your notes on each piece when you’re reading to respond some time later.

4. Avoid Highlighting

Although readers believe that highlighting in yellow (or any other color, for that matter) improves their reading speed and comprehension, the reverse is actually true. Highlighting simply means they don’t want to bother learning the material right now. The result: They end up reading the material twice, and possibly not understanding or remembering it either time!

3. Preview Before Reading

Look through material first to get a sense of what’s interesting and important to you, and what you might be able to skip. Then focus on the sections that you need to understand and remember, and skim or skip the rest.

2. Use a Flexible Reading Speed

Some reading material must be read slowly and carefully: legal contracts, mathematical equations, and poetry are a few examples. Other reading material can be read at much faster speeds: newspapers, magazines, and novels. Adjust your reading speed to the type of reading material and your reading purpose.

1. Enroll in a Speed Reading Class

Avoid on-line speed reading courses and do-it-yourself speed reading software. They don’t work. Speed reading is best learned in a speed reading class taught by a knowledgeable, experienced, speed reading expert. If you are in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, I’d love to see you in my speed reading course in New York.

My speed reading course described in Bob Crawford’s blog

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