Conquer slow reading before speed reading

Ayoola Sosan Written by Ayoola Sosan · 1 min read >

Reading is a very good habit that one needs to develop in life. With lots of knowledge that needs to be acquired, there is a need to learn how to read more efficiently and effectively. For someone who has a flair for books, reading better and faster is a technique I need. Imagine how much more time one could save by reading five times faster than usual. 

The challenge people are faced with is reading slowly. In class, we were taught the art of speed reading and the obvious mistakes we are all making. Research says slow reading is the intentional reduction in the speed of reading. It is sometimes referred to as “close reading” or “deep reading.”

The art of speed reading is all about absorbing information quickly and effectively. There are techniques for reading fast, but in order to develop them, one has to know what causes slow reading and how to conquer it.

Factors Contributing to Slow Reading

1. Fixations

The eye is essentially the major tool for reading and the way we control it is what determines our reading speed. Readers who make more eye fixations read slower because they take in more words with each fixation. To read faster, it is very important to widen your vision span. Acquiring the ability to see many words at a time is essential for speed reading.

2. Back-skipping

In slow reading, there are involuntary back-skipping movements of the eyes and repeated reading of the same text. Usually, when a person is reading a text, he or she will make 10 to 15 back-skipping motions for every 100 words. Without realizing it, people read every section of text twice just to make sure they comprehend it. However, repeated review of each portion of text noticeably reduces the speed of reading. To avoid back skipping, don’t reread the same phrases from the text. Avoid regressing (rereading).

3. Wandering

Mind wandering is a phenomenon in which attention drifts away from the primary task to task-unrelated thoughts. If you notice you have this challenge, it is important to pay attention to your focus level and improve on it.

4. Word length

Slow readers demonstrated a strong sensitivity to word length. Word length is one of the main determinants of eye movements during reading and has been shown to influence slow readers more strongly than typical readers.

How to conquer slow reading

To overcome slow reading, your goal should be to practise the following:

  1. Be aware of your reading speed and assess yourself accordingly.
  2. Break the habit of reading and rereading a particular section or word.
  3. Make your fixations shorter.
  4. Avoid backtracking by only moving forward.
  5. Stay on the page, don’t wonder.
  6. Read groups of words, don’t focus too much on individual words.

Food for thought

Keep in mind that our minds can go much faster, and they want to go faster, but our slow reading habits are preventing us from going faster. 

In my next post, I will be sharing the speed reading techniques taught in class.


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