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Speed Reading: Read a Book Per Day, a Blog Per Minute

I’m an avid reader, online and off. I love great blogs and I love good books even more. I may never own a Kindle because I still like to open a book with a spine. There’s a problem with reading though – it takes time, and there are way to many books and articles to read to be wasting so much time reading. What’s the solution? Speed reading.

I know there are books about speed reading, but I have formed my own methods over the years and wanted to share them here in a brief, how-to format. How can I read a book in a day or a blog in a minute? Here are some tips…

  • Pay close attention to titles (especially blogs, articles, and even sermons). If a title doesn’t draw me to the content, I can safely skip it. 
  • Use your fingers to guide your eyes down a page.
  • Zig-zag with your eyes, sweep at an angle looking for keywords. I actually try to read the most important 40% of the words on a page – the rest is just there for proper grammar anyway.
  • Read the first word of each line – if the line matters, continue.
  • Take breaks – refresh your mind by diverting your attention elsewhere momentarily.
  • Underline. This slows you down in the moment, but compensates for any lack of comprehension. Underline that which you hope to record, pass along, or apply in your life.
  • Quit if it bores you, unless you’re reading the Bible, in which case you need to keep going and it will become interesting as a result of your obedience. If a book or article isn’t beneficial, move on to something that is.
  • Set goals – I’m going to read a book per day, per week, or per year. 

If my blog is worth reading, you probably got through it in less than 30 seconds – good job! You’re on your way. Now pass this along or leave your favorite tip in the comments.

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  • http://www.fflbc.org Chris Leingang

    Brandon,
    Great suggestions; these are all “tricks” I taught myself during Seminary. They continue to be a great benefit to me today. There are a few books which have captivated me enough that I read EVERY WORD! I have often said that one of the most important skills I developed in Seminary was “discriminate reading,” learning what needs to be read word-for-word and what can be read for conceptual understanding. The only additon/change I would suggest is that I highlight instead of underline. That way I can easily flip through the book at a later time and review those points.

    • Brandon

      Thanks Chris! I really like that phrase, “discriminating reading.” Great way to put it.

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  • http://churchtechtoday.com Lauren Hunter

    I’m speed reading your blog right now :-)

    • Brandon

      Haha, good one! But you’re only supposed to speed read other people’s stuff!

  • http://www.avidarticles.com/ Richard

    Brandon, like the post! Most enlightened. Like you I have over time read a great deal and continue to do so. There is, however, one problem with reading the printed word which is (and forgive me if this sounds like a truism) you actually have to be able to physically look at the book. I find, for all sorts of reasons, that there are many times when one simply cannot physically look at books. Take for example, when working out, going for a walk on your own or whn you are in a situation where having the light on to read is “not popular”! You may, of course, just want to rest your eyes! There is a great solution however – have the text read to you. This does not just relate to audio books though. Sometimes I will use a speech reader on my PC to read an e-book there and then. Other times I will record the output to listen to later. I have often toyed with the idea of offering this as a service to people visiting my article directory. What do you think? Would it be popular? What do you think about the idea of leveraging your time using audio?

  • http://www.readspeeder.com Dave

    Vocalization is not a bad habit!

    It is a common habit to vocalize, or at least sub-vocalize while reading. This practice will prevent you from reading any faster than you can say the words. But vocalizing isn’t really just a habit. It actually does help you understand what you read. Sentences are usually made of multiple phrases. Each phrase is an idea, or a separate thought. When you hear a sentence spoken, there are sound clues that indicate these phrases. You may not be aware of it because it’s as subconscious as walking, but listen carefully to the previous sentence when it’s divided into phrases…

    When you hear — a sentence spoken, — there are sound clues — that indicate — these phrases.

    If you listen carefully to the spoken words, you will notice that the first word of each phrase is spoken in a lower pitch, like a lower musical note. Lowering our pitch indicates to the listener that this is the next thought being presented and this makes our spoken sentences easier for the listener to understand. This lower pitch tells the listener that a new part of the sentence is coming. But these audio clues are not available in written text, and so we have a tendency to sound out the words to listen for them ourselves.

    There is a free online application which will take any text and convert it into its natural phrases. It will then display these phrases one after the other at your control or automatically with an adjustable speed control. Go to http://www.ReadSpeeder.com and try it out. Although there is often more than one way to break a sentence into phrases, ReadSpeeder’s patent-pending process does a good job of quickly finding the natural, meaningful phrases. When the sentence is presented to you in this way, you no longer need to internally sound out the sentences. You will instantly grasp the meaning of each phrase at a glance, just like you grasp the meaning of words at a glance, without thinking of each letter. Faster understanding will lead to faster reading. This method is really the opposite of most attempts to read faster. The usual advice is to push your reading speed, and try to maintain comprehension, with the hope that, with practice, the comprehension will improve. With ReadSpeeder, you understand faster to begin with. Use ReadSpeeder and no longer will you be restricted to reading at the speed of speech. You will be reading at the speed of thought.

    If you have any questions, you can write me at dbutler@readspeeder.com

  • Jameslarson76

    If you want to read as fast as possible, take a speed reading course. You’ll have concrete lessons and exercises to practice. I did Rev It Up Reading and couldn’t be happier.