What makes an avid reader? What makes us bookworms? For Inkish Kingdoms, that is easy: if your TBR (to be read) pile is out of control and you have more books than the ones you can read, then you are a bookworm, and if you are here, that is already a self-premonition that you need help.
Sometimes we spend so long reading one book, and we understand that we wish we could read all books in one day, but between work, housework, commuting, shopping, cooking, walking the dog, and more, when we get to read, we only read ten pages and then fall asleep.
If you have been following us on Instagram and Twitter, you know that we have been reading The Handmaid’s Tale for almost a month. Inkish Kingdoms’ editors understand the need to read books faster while still enjoying and understanding them.
Inkish Kingdoms has researched how to read faster and has some answers!
Tips on How to Read Faster
According to studies, a skilled reader reads from 250 to 300 words per minute, but that changes depending on your reading style:
- A good-oral reading speed is around 150 words per minute.
- A good careful silent reading speed is 250 words per minute.
- A good skimming phase is 500 words per minute.
As avid readers, we read silently and in the solitude of hour reading nooks, so for that purpose, we will focus more on silent reading.
- Do not read word by word. Following that reading pattern, you make stops between words, and if we add app all those seconds at the end of the novel, you will be wasting a lot of time. Group the words in phrases and read them as a whole. For example, instead of reading this “I+am+not+pretty.+I+am+not+beautiful.+I+am+as+radiant+as+the+sun.” read it as a whole “I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” (The Hunger Games)
- Stop reading and rereading the same paragraph. Regressing when reading will only slow you down. Just going over and over the same lines will not improve your comprehension. Sometimes you have to move on and get the overall idea of the paragraph or the text.
- Read more efficiently. Poor readers tend to always read at the same time. You can mix different reading techniques to move faster in certain parts of your novel. You can skim through an irrelevant conversation or a monologue that does not add value to your experience as a reader. You can also scan the text to gain the overall description or feelings of the character.
- Read books or novels below your reading grade. To start reading faster, we need to understand on the spot. So pick books below your reading grade to struggle less with words, grammar, sentence structure, and even background knowledge.
- Read books for pleasure. Studies proved that reading for pleasure makes you enjoy reading, and the body and mind will not resist the process.
Keep in mind that the speed in which you read is affected by the complexity of the text in matters of vocabulary, grammatical constructions, discourse, and background knowledge, and reading is a habit. Reading our article about how books improve your life can help you understand how reading will make you a better, brighter, and happier person.
Learn How to Read Faster
We mentioned that we would focus only on silent reading. Some people might not know, and this is something I learned some time ago, is that we should stop talking to ourselves when reading. There are two ways to talk to ourselves when we read:
- Vocalizing: Moving your lips when reading either out loud or not.
- Subvocalizing: Talking to yourself in your head when silently reading
Why will this slow you down? We talk at a certain speed, and we cannot read faster than we can talk. Specialists say that people can only speak around 250 words per minute, so we would be limiting ourselves to 250 per minute when reading.
Remember that reading should be only the eyes and brain, not the mouth. The brain and the eyes already work for us to see the words and understand them without vocalizing or subvocalizing them. Let us try proving this theory.
If you see the word BOOK, you know that it says book without having to vocalize the word. Another example. Do you have to say that a color is that color to understand the color? Do you look at the sky and think the clouds are white? No, and this is the same concept.
How to Read Faster and Retain More
We already went over some tips and examples that can help to read faster, but what do we need to do to retain or understand more?
Reading rate is pure practice, and for you to retain and understand, you need to:
- Pay attention when reading: do not read superficially. Read as it matters. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, turn off your partner, feed the cat, and close your reading nook door.
- Concentrate and block the outside world: do not let a million sounds that might distract you. Look for music special for reading and concentration, and that boosts creativity.
- Take written notes in a notepad. Writing down stuff will help you learn, remember, and understand, and later on, you can go over them and invest sometimes putting them together.
Comprehension is primordial when developing fluency in reading. There is no point in reading faster if little is understood. So to understand and read faster, there are two techniques, skimming, and scanning, but for novels and entertainment reading, we will focus only on skimming:
When readers skim, they go through a text quickly, not noting every word but trying to get the main idea of what the text is about and the overall idea. The reader might realize that they did not notice some details in the text; however, the more background knowledge the reader brings into the skimming, the faster the process will become.
Mixing techniques when going over a novel will help read it faster. The reader has the background knowledge of the characters, the setting, the motif, the goal, and the world, so skimming certain parts of the novel, the reader will still comprehend what happened even if they missed some superficial details.
Remember that you should never sacrifice enjoyment and happiness over reading speed. The goal is to read books faster while still understanding their message and learning from them. Do not read just to read. Do not read 500 books for your reading challenge if you are the same person and remember none of the books you read.
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