Reading Quickly

Seminary is a great time to increase your reading speed, since you will be doing a lot of reading.  The best way to speed up your reading is to be mindful of what you are doing when you sit down to read. 

If you jump straight into a book or article without spending time glancing through it to identify its major sections and get a sense of the whole, your reading will be inefficient. Spending a few minutes pre-reading difficult material can save more time than you might expect.

Once you have familiarized yourself with a source and decided how deeply to engage the material, following a few speed reading tips can help you move faster.

Speed reading proceeds on the principle that your brain can take in material faster than it can rearticulate it. If, as you are reading, you stop to pronounce every word in your head or under your breath, you are not reading as fast as you can. (For example, your eye can recognize the word “prophetic” and know what it means without your lips pronouncing each of the three syllables.) 

Speed reading forces your eyes to move at a steady pace over words, allowing the meaning of those words to register with your brain naturally.

To get a sense of the right pace for your reading, follow these steps: 

Inspect Before speed-reading, inspect a source to familiarize yourself with the author’s topic and general style. This will help you to get a sense of where the author is going before you get there.
Move To begin speed reading, move your eyes from left to right across each line of the page without stopping.
Guide If necessary, use a pencil or other object to guide the movement of your eyes. Move the pencil steadily from left to right, forcing your eyes to follow its continuous movement.
Summarize Practice the above steps on a paragraph you have not yet read carefully. After you have speed-read through the paragraph,summarize what you understood it to mean.
Check Now, go back and read the paragraph carefully to check your comprehension. Compare your first level of comprehension to the added comprehension gained by reading the paragraph slowly. How much information were you able to retain while reading rapidly?


Don’t worry if you struggle to balance speed and comprehension at first. You will have plenty of opportunities to practice.


Other "Reading Under Pressure" topics:

Reading Under Pressure Home

Staying Focused

Reading with a Goal


 Becoming a Demanding Reader Home

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