Rapid and Effective Reading

How many times have you had to reread the last page or so to catch what you didn’t take in? The best way to learn the skills and to practise them in timed sessions is on our very successful half-day course. You will see amazing results!

In the meantime, and so you don’t just go through the motions", here are ten tips to help you read more quickly and effectively.

  1. Before you begin, sit comfortably and remove all other distractions. Get rid of lists or piles of things to do, PDAs, telephones, noisy children, or electronic noises, for example.
  2. Sit back from the page. The ideal reading distance from the page is 50cm (20"). If you are hunched over your reading material, your body will be tense and your concentration will be diverted away from the reading.
  3. Estimate how long it will take you to read and be prepared to focus for that amount of time.  If this is likely to be more than an hour, break the time into smaller chunks of reading time whenever possible.
  4. Read actively. Be interested in what you are reading and concentrate on it. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the content or not, or anticipate the outcomes correctly or not, just so long as you feel something rather than paying no particular attention to what you’re reading!
  5. Trust your eyes to read four or five words at a time. This will reduce the number of fixations on each line.
  6. Make yourself read more quickly. Trust that you’ve taken in the information, and so avoid regression, which will slow you down. To start with, consciously force yourself to get to the end of the reading matter without going back to check a word or phrase. The more you do this, the more you will trust what you have read.
  7. Highlight key points quickly as you read. Look for signposts that often indicate key points: italics, ‘quotation marks’ and words like firstly, secondly, etc. Do this consciously, as this will make it more likely that you’ll retain the information.
  8. Avoid sub-vocalising (silently saying the words). Instead, try to recognise the shape of the word or phrase.
  9. Use a four-step plan when reading: Preview (looking for signposts), Read (quickly!) Summarise (the key points or questions you still have) and Review (to reinforce points or clarify difficult passages).
  10. Finally, and importantly, make sure you have your eyes tested regularly!