Speed Reading Tips

Read and apply one speed reading tip a day and watch your reading speed up.
This page is updated regularly with new speed reading tips. Each tip will speed up your reading. The more tips you implement, the more efficient and effective reader you will be.

The expert speed reading tips are taken from our book: Spd Rdng – 37-speed reading habits (which is available to buy from our speed reading online shop).

1. Read more and read better quality material. Reading better quality material is actually more important than reading more.

2. Read a (factual) book as you would read a newspaper. Skim through headlines/titles, get an idea of what different sections are about, read more thoroughly the bits that are of particular interest to you – and then put it down. Notice how you feel absolutely fine about not having read it from cover to cover. Notice how you are confident that you have taken from it the information you need or want. Notice how you don’t feel guilty about not having read whole sections which don’t interest you.

3. Learn speed reading from the top speed reading coaches and from others. Check our resource page (useful links) for free ebooks downloads and top personal development websites

4. Read faster – it will increase your happiness, creativity, power and energy. Do you want to feel better or change your mood? Do you want to feel more energetic? Read faster! PhotoReading and speed reading is the answer. Research done in Princeton University (Emily Pronin) suggests that people who speed up their thinking with timed activities such as reading fast a piece of text that scrolled quickly – felt happier and more powerful, creative and energetic. Read more on this research in our speed reading blog

5. Get the overview before the details. When learning a new subject, make sure you understand the overview, the big picture, before you look at the details. Since most books are written sequentially (ie detail following detail), this usually means looking at chapter and section headings for a general understanding, before looking for more detailed information. Syntopic processing is excellent for getting an overview of a new subject.

6. Download FREE  Spd Rdng eBook (PDF summary of 37-speed reading techniques). You’ll learn the top speed reading strategies and techniques in minutes.

7. Talk about the books you read. Ask a friend to recommend a couple of books for you to read before the end of the year. Then you can talk about them. Talking about what you read is one of the 37-speed reading skills. It helps to remember the material and also it clarifies your understanding of the book.

8. Learn how the novels are structured to speed read themThe top (six or seven or three) basic plots of fiction in the literature that can help to speed read novels

9. How can I possibly improve and build up a better reading habit again? 
So the first things you need to check are the following:
– Do you always preview whatever you’re reading before you start?
To read (anything) faster
– Do you get into a good state before you start? (breathe, smile, focus on your concentration point)
– Do you do super-duper reading to speed up your brain?
– Do you think about what it is you want to get from your reading before you start (message or specific information)
– Are you happy to accept getting 80% of the information?
When you’re working to get information (as well as the above):
– Do you set a clear purpose?
– Do you have 20-minute work sessions?
– Do you take notes (preferably using a mindmap or rhizomap)?
If your answer to all those is YES – then please send us the titles of the last three books you worked with and tell us (a) what you were hoping to get from them (b) what you actually got from them (c) the specific purpose you wrote down for working with them
If you haven’t already got it, then you might also consider buying our Spd Rdng book which will help you with speed reading.

10. How to build memories of what you read?

  1. working with factual books in 20-minute sessions – each with a clear purpose. The purpose is crucial to helping your brain remember, so perhaps you can give us a couple of examples of purposes you’ve used recently so we can check that they’re specific and measurable enough (remember SMART?)
  2. making notes as you go – preferably as mindmaps or rhizomaps. Both the act of deciding what to write and then the writing itself helps form memories.
  3. reviewing the information after 1 day, I week, 1 month. Reviewing only takes a few mins, but it brings the information back to conscious awareness – and helps form memories. This is the one many people forget to do.

A couple of other things which may be helpful.
1   if your purpose was to get the message of the book, then you might like to keep the mindmap you made inside the book – helps with revision
2   if your purpose was to get specific information, then when you remember it, you’ll remember the information, not necessarily where you got it from, so it doesn’t necessarily feel as if you’ve remembered what you read
3   There is one additional thing that I don’t think we went into in detail on your course, but which might interest you. It’s called LINKING.

Memory is reconstruction, so if you want to form strong memories, you need to construct them well. The basis of forming memories is LINKING – you make links between a new item of information and something you already know (how the brain works naturally), or,  you can artificially use the natural power of the memory by making a link between a new thing and a sequence you have created and learnt ( sometimes called ‘pegging’), or between one new thing and the next  (chaining). (This is the basis of any memory course you might go on.)

The one which makes the most sense when reading is the sequential chaining one. The way to do it is:
•   note the first fact/thing you want to remember (ie something you’ve just read in the book, or something from your mindmap)
•   make it concrete, something you can easily imagine (so an abstract word like ‘love’ might be represented by a heart)
•   do the same with the next fact/thing you want to remember (eg dustbins)
•   make a strong link between the first thing and the second – make it more memorable by making it visual, larger than life, in colour, unusual, if possible add emotion, and a sound (imagine a huge dustbin with a big throbbing heart on it going ‘boom boom, boom boom’)
•   imagine the next thing you want to remember (eg the mayor) and link it to the first two in the same way (the dustbin with the throbbing heart is chasing after the mayor – who is weighed down with his chains of office – because it is in love with him. He looks terrified.)
Keep going till you have a (ridiculous) sequential story linking all the facts together. Make sure that as well as making each fact memorable in its own right, you also have strong sequential links between the different facts so that one leads naturally to the next.
It might take a little bit of practice initially, but you’ll find it’s well worth the effort to train your memory in this way.


Slow down your email
Set your email program to fetch new messages every 15 min. or every hour, rather than every minute, so you’re interrupted less often.

Use a ‘dash’ to beat procrastination
Putting something off? Devote 5 min., (measured with a kitchen timer), to working on it. It will make the task seem more approachable.

Park on a downhill slope
When wrapping up work on a task, make a note of what needs to be done next. This makes it easier to get started when you resume work on the task.

Links to ideas that make life easier

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