How to Become a Speed Reader

Student reading

Do you feel the need for speed? Does the idea of spending a few hours reading from your textbook make you sad? Well, we have a perfect solution for you - speed reading.

Speed reading is more than just flying through your assigned textbook reading and having more time to catch up with your favorite show on Netflix. The main key to speed reading is being able to assimilate multiple phrases and sentences while you read rather than focusing on each individual word. If you’re willing to put some extra effort and brain power into learning this new skill, you’ll be glad that you did.

Once you’ve become a speed reader, you will spend less time doing homework, score higher on tests, enjoy reading more, and will have learned to concentrate for extended time periods. Our online speed reading class teaches all of the skills and information necessary for developing this skill. There are many different techniques that can be used to help you become a speed reader, but we’ll explain just a few.


We can all relate to a time when we decided to lay in our bed while reading and then woke up the next morning not having read anything. When reading for leisure, your bed is a great location. But if you need to be able to focus and learn new facts and ideas, make sure you can sit upright with your book flat in front of you. Sitting up straight and being actively engaged in what you are reading will not only help you stay awake but also understand and retain more of that knowledge later.

Eliminate Distractions

Making sure that you are in a distraction free environment is very important. Any distractions like TV, music, or conversations will keep you from being able to have the kind of concentration that you need to master speed reading. Some easy ways to eliminate distractions may be to simply go to a room where there are no people talking or other noises. You might even need to go to the library to get the kind of silence that you need to focus. You should also turn off your phone, or at least put it on silent and store it in your bag where you won’t be checking it every few minutes.

Practice Visual Reading

Visual reading is all about being able to let go of the desire to pronounce words as you read and be able to scan the words on the page much more quickly. The opposite of visual reading, vocal or subvocal reading, happens when you take the time to pronounce the words that you read. This happens by actually moving your mouth when you read or sounding out words in your head. Although very common practice, vocal reading actually takes much more time than you would think. Visual reading is a necessary skill to develop in order to become a successful speed reader. Rather than stop to pronounce and understand every word, you must train your mind to relax and scan the text, trusting that the meaning is entering your brain. This may sound easy, but give it a try; you’ll realize that it takes more concentration than you think.

Finger Tracking

Finger tracking, or using your index finger to point to words as you read them is another great tactic for speed reading. This is a technique that is often used when children are learning to read to stay on task. It is effective when learning to speed read because it not only helps to increase focus but also helps to establish a steady pace. You may feel at first as though you are slowing down, but with a few weeks of good practice, your speed and comprehension will increase.

Now take these skills and apply them! Don’t be frustrated if you don’t feel like you are changing overnight - it will take some practice. If you would like to learn more about how to increase your reading speed, check out our online speed reading course (READ 041). Happy reading!