6 Tips To Help You Become A Faster Reader

Do you have a whole list of books that are waiting to be read, but that it just seems impossible to get to with work, family, and other obligations? Maybe you’re a student dealing with having to read required books instead of those that you actually want to read. Either way, it seems like both problems could easily be solved if only you were a faster reader, right? Well the good news is, you can be a faster reader!

The key to being able to read faster is all about analytical reading: absorbing what’s important, and leaving behind what’s not. You don’t have to read every single word of a book to understand what the author, or character(s) are talking about, or what’s going on in the story. All you have to be able to do is decipher important words, or phrases, describing important events that drive the story. To break it down a little further for you, follow these six steps to help you become a faster, and more productive reader today. 

1. Read the first sentence.

Every paragraph that you read is composed with an opening sentence. This sentence usually tells you, the reader, directly what the body of the paragraph will be about and whether or not the information is really important enough for you to have to read it. Obviously the body of the paragraph does contain information that will help to develop the story, but if you just want cold facts related to the plot, you can probably do without it.

2. Read the last sentence.

If you read the first sentence of the paragraph and determine the information most likely isn’t of the utmost importance, you should at least be sure to read the last sentence. The opening and closing sentences of each paragraph usually do a great job of summarizing the information that was just discussed in more detail. Closing sentences also attempt to link the current paragraph to the next, so the bulk of the important information will be summarized here. If you feel both the opening and closing sentences indicate that there is important information in the body of the paragraph, by all means go back and read the whole paragraph.

3. Skim for phrases/key points.

If you determine that the whole paragraph is worth reading, feel free to read it word-for-word, but this might also be unnecessary if your goal is to finish reading the material quickly. Instead of reading every single word, you can skim through the paragraph and look for key words, or phrases. If important characters, locations, dates, or other such information related to the story are mentioned, mark them down and consider reading the whole sentence. This will help you absorb the important information without spending too much time on each individual sentence in the paragraph. 

4. Ignore supporting words.

Like it or not, language is filled with a lot of place-filler words like and, it, the, a, be, but – you get the idea. Feel free to skip over these words when reading, or skimming the body of a paragraph. Your brain is so used to seeing these words that it doesn’t require conscientious acknowledgement in order for you to grasp what is being discussed, or described.

5. Mark important text.

Even though your school teachers (and probably your grandparents too) told you that you should never write in a book, doing so is a perfectly acceptable, and in all honestly, suggested way to really read a book. If you are using a copy from the library, or a book provided by your university, obviously marking it up with notes and such is not a good idea. Consider investing in your own copy and take notes down as you go, highlighting key characters, locations, and events.

6. Read with good posture.

Good posture does more for your health than people like to think about. Having good posture promotes healthy circulation of blood through your veins and arteries, which means more oxygen is supplied to your brain and muscles. It also means your lungs and other muscles don’t have to work extra hard to help you breathe. This allows you to better absorb the information you are reading, and feel more energized and engaged as you go along. So whenever you find yourself slumped over, make a point to sit up straight and do your body a favor.