Speed Reading Explained – How to Improve Your Reading Speed

Reading is one of the most prominent activities we do daily. You may think you don’t like reading or you are not a reader but just wait a minute and think it over – while reading a newspaper, or going through the contracts you’ve got to sign, or checking your mail, you are actually reading! Reading can also be marked as one of the most important work based skills.

Reading is important but also time consuming. If the speed of reading be increased, one can get that extra time he or she craves for to rest a bit more or complete other tasks.  So improving the reading speed is no doubt advantageous. The average reading speed is noted as 250-300 words per minute (wpm) but it really depends on the material and practice.

It is easier to achieve efficient reading that involves a good speed along with comprehension by breaking the faults in your reading habits.

Regression refers to skipping back to words you’ve read or lines you’ve already gone through. Avoid this as it can subsidize your understanding of the material. To avoid regression, pacers are used.

Sub vocalization is the habit of ‘speaking the word’ in your mind. Sometimes people do it sub consciously. It consumes as much time as you take while talking. By erasing this itself, you can speed your reading by a marvelous speed. To do this, just keep telling yourself that you won’t speak the word in your mind! You just won’t!

Other than these, inefficient eye motion, reading word by word and poor concentration can also be reason to your slow reading.

Now about speeding your reading – it is not a piece of cake to do so if you are a day dreamer. But if you are focused enough, it won’t be too difficult for you.

Regarding the things you’d need to get ready with – a timer, a pacer (i.e. a pen or a bookmark, your finger is enough at times) and a book!

Starting with the activity!study_techniques

  1. Get the average words per line: For this, count the number of words in five lines and divide it by five. The resultant will be your number of words per line on an average.
  2. Mark your timer for one minute and read in your normal comprehensive speed. Do not go faster or slower, just maintain your usual speed.
  3. Once you get the number of lines you read in one minute, multiply it by average words per line obtained in step one. This is your wpm rate
  4. Now use your pen or finger or marker as your tracker and pacer and read the lines in no more than one second. Don’t worry about comprehension; just try to read the line in one second.
  5. Now repeat step 4 but this time try to read a line in half a second. Do this for three whole minutes.

Basically, we take time to read as we don’t fully make use of our perceptual vision. For example, if you focus on the centre of the sheet, you can still make out the margins. When we read left to right, taking in the whole word fully, we also tend to read the margins that have nothing at all written over. This wastes about 30% – 50% of our reading time. To avoid that we’ll go on to our next step.

  1. For the subsequent minute, start reading but this time begin one word in from the first word and end at one word in from the last. Remember to take no more than a second per line. Again, do not worry about comprehension.
  2. For the next minute, begin from two words in from the first to two words in from the last word.
  3. Now begin from three words in from the first till three words in from the last. Carry this on for three minutes keeping half a second for each line.
  4. Now comes the final Here, you read for a minute at your fastest comprehension rate. Multiply the number of lines with the number of words per line obtained in step 1 and lo and behold! You have a new and increased speed of reading…congratulations!

Implications to keep in mind!

  • Practice is the name of the game! You can only perfect and maintain your speed by practicing thoroughly.
  • It is suggested that while going through legal contracts and other such stuff, you go slow and thorough. It is something important that demands hole of your attention.
  • Speed reading is a skill that mostly involves breaking poor reading habits like sub vocalization and regression.
  • Once you are over with the activity, remember that you read to understand and not just for speed!

Hope it helps!

Offerings to God – a work of fiction!

Again, I wrote this when I was 14 – for a community magazine! 

Yay! This is my 50th post!

“And this year he bought me this beautiful diamond necklace. Isn’t it stunning? It’s worth five lakhs! And this sari is bought directly from the mill of Kanchi. Isn’t it…..” I tuned out of the conversation as my wife chatted away happily to observe my surroundings. The auspicious statue of goddess Durga was kept on the pedestal and looked as divine as anything. The holy priest was chanting away, there was an announcement that the aarti would begin in a few minutes and all along, in the background, was the general buzz of people chatting, children playing and chairs being pushed. All around there were hundreds of people settling down on the red chairs and waiting for the aarti to begin. The mandap was getting more and more suffocating as devotees piled in. Making my way around the elderly people already settled in the chairs, I got out of there to take a breath of fresh air.

Once outside, I stood below the banyan tree and took in a deep breath. My nostrils tingled, but not because of the air, I realized. It was the whiff of fresh, hot cutlets! I looked around at the numerous stalls of food and other crafts lining the mandap and spotted the source of this aroma. Tucked away in the corner of the line was a little stall with a huge crowd of hungry men. The board on top of the stall announced the sale of various varieties of cutlets and other fried stuff. To be frank, I’m a big foodie. The policy I followed was ‘live to eat’ and now that I had spied the food stall no one could have stopped me from going there. I was on my way when my cell phone beeped, declaring the arrival of a new message. I opened my inbox. A smile played on my lips as my son, Deb’s, face smiled up at me. He was currently posted in the US and sent me a recent snap of himself every week, on demand of his mother. I was going through our fond memories in my head, when I reached the stall. A young boy stood there, serving the people. I ordered a plate of mutton cutlet. As I was waiting for my order to be delivered, the young boy’s face struck me as a familiar one. He was no older than my son, I noticed. Neatly dressed but his clothes looked of a poor quality. As I looked on my iphone screen and once again saw my son’s face, it came to me! This young boy, who now stood here, serving me, was none other than Deb’s childhood best friend! The boy who now sold cutlets was, at one time, a topper in his class.

“Dulal?” I called out and was rewarded as the boy turned round.

“Yes, sir” he saw me and did a double take, “Mr. Chatterjee! Do sit down sir.” He offered me a stool, which I politely declined.

“It’s been a long time son. How are you doing?”

He excused himself as her mother, I assumed, replaced him. Once in a quieter place, he asked jovially about Deb.

“He’s posted in the US. But son, what about you? I mean you are such a talented young man…..anyway, how’s Mr. Sen doing?”

His face took on a sad smile and his eyes had a forlorn look, “Sir, he passed way as soon as you got a transfer to Delhi.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” His father was their family’s soul bread earner. His death explained the poor state they were in.

He nodded his bent head, and then looked up with a new smile, “Now I’m supporting the business!”

“That’s great news! So since when have you being doing this, I mean managing the business?”I still couldn’t believe that this capable boy was making cutlets in a stall!

“Well, I dropped school when I was in 10th so that’s probably from when.”

“Oh!” was all I could say.

“But…” he gave a sigh, “it is tough to keep up with the rising rates. I….we don’t know what will happen now,” suddenly he looked a lot older and wiser than his 25 yrs, “So we had no other options but to do what we can and that’s cooking!” His face brightened a little as he added, “We’ve got our own small dhaba in the outskirts. And it is quite popular now. So we make enough money to keep us going.” He gave a light shrug. “Just a minute sir, I think your order is ready.” He ran out towards his stall.

I sat there in a state of stunned speechlessness. The boy had said all that in perfect English, his manner groomed. The sun shone directly on me as I continued staring at nothing. The aarti had started inside. Loud bells were clanging, the drum beating steadily, rhythmically, through the opening of the flap of the tent, I could see my wife standing amongst her friends, the light rays of the sun shining off her necklace on which I had spent lakhs, but all it did was glitter in the sunshine. I looked down, at my shoes made of pure Italian leather over which I had spent thousands, but all it did was cover my feet which even a few hundred rupees shoe could. My eyes went to my wrist, which had on a limited edition watch worth a few hundred dollars, but it was something that showed me the same time as that displayed by a 100 rupee watch.

I thought of it in a different way now. I could buy all the luxuries of the world with my money, so couldn’t I educate this young man? Only if I would have! My son being an average student was today in the US so it was worth contemplating what this fellow could have done with proper provisions!1231701_467516106680694_842569904_n

I tilted my head up to see the beautiful mandap decorated to look like a castle and I noticed the vigor with which the Durga Pooja was being celebrated. Surely, hundreds of thousands of rupees would have gone over all this. And hundreds of thousands of people would have donated. I took in the large crowd standing in the mandap and realized what a big community we were. Couldn’t we spend a little of the funds for a good cause? Couldn’t we part take in the development of our country, and uplift our community? And I’m sure that this step would cost us nothing more than a few thousands but would bring about happiness on many people’s faces, would brighten a lot of futures.

A new realization dawned upon me. I became a changed person that day. My outlook was different now. And all I wanted to do now was to put this idea into action and bring about a change. To spread this refreshed conscience. And to eat my cutlets before they got cold…….  🙂

Ps: I won’t be blogging for about 10 days from now!! So long! Until then – a hearty cheery smile and stay blessed ❤

Do leave comments!!

SHE – The one who’s amazing!

She’s pretty, undeniably so. Her perfectly silky hair makes you ask her for the secret mantra. Her glowing skin makes her the topic of the day. Her ability to look good in whatever saree she puts on makes her the local fashion icon. Though not slim, she’s the ideal woman.

She’s hardworking, inevitably so. Giving up all she earns to the family funds, she never complains about not being able to buy a lipstick of her choice without permission. Waking up at 4 in the morning, she cooks up the meals, gets ready for work and wakes up the lazy butts lying on their comfy bed. She never lets them get late.

She’s the best cook in town, I bet! You won’t be able to resist the urge to lick your fingers if you eat food cooked by her. Continental or traditional, spicy or sweet, vegetarian or non-vegetarian , name it and she can make it – tastier than the local chef in demand.

She’s the best teacher. Not just at the school she teaches, but at her own home. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, writing, cooking, driving, anything – she’s the one who teaches you the way you never forget.

She’s a wonder woman! Everything she’s been bearing is no joke. You won’t write much about it – and so won’t I, but yeah, she’s a wonder woman.

You can’t describe her in a few words, you can write a whole thesis on her and still you’d feel you’ve missed a few points.

Yeah she get’s angry, she yells, sometimes she gets intolerable, she get’s tired – but she rarely shows it (but when she does, I swear she’s as dangerous as a hungry lion, n i guess I’m not exaggerating, wink wink!). Gosh..I got started again!


That’s My Mummy!

She’s that good – rather great – that you can’t stop wondering how could someone be so great! Maybe I’m meddling up my words, but all I wanna convey is that SHE is unique and the best!

I feel so lucky to have her in my life.

It isn’t just this one day that I’m feeling lucky, I feel so every nano second of my existence! Right from supporting me while writing to editing my work, from bearing my drama to helping me grow up into a better human, she’s been there.

And the name I call her by is:  MUMMY! Sweet? I know!

But she’s sweeter….I wish everybody in the world could get someone as sweet as her in their lives. SHe’s the best and she rocks!

Even now, I ‘m not getting words to describe her – but she’s simply amazing, trust me!!!

Happy mother’s day to all those amazing, beautiful super mommies out there (including mine)! 

Don’t forget to leave a wish in the comments below 😉 !

PS: In India, mother’s day is being celebrated today!