- Establish a baseline: Determine your words per minute (WPM) reading rate by counting the average number of words per line and lines per page in a standardized book. Read for one minute and calculate your WPM.
- Use peripheral vision: Instead of reading from the far left to the far right, use your peripheral vision to focus on a narrower portion of the page. Draw lines on either side of the page, indent one word from each edge, and read between the lines.
- Minimize fixation points: The eye doesn’t move smoothly across the page but jumps between fixation points. To minimize these points and reduce reading time, focus on fewer points per line.
- Use a pacer: Use your finger or a pen to trace underneath the lines as you read, keeping your eye on the pacer to prevent back-skipping and maintain forward momentum.
- Read slightly faster than comprehension allows: For five minutes, practice reading at a speed that causes a slight loss in comprehension. This helps reset your comfort set point for reading at full comprehension.
- Retest your WPM: After implementing these techniques, retest your WPM and check for comprehension. Many people will see significant improvements in their reading speed.
These techniques are based on understanding the mechanics of the eye and optimizing optical perception for reading. They can help improve reading speed for various types of texts, from non-fiction to fiction and poetry.