As our eyes move across the page they make a series of jerky movements. Whenever they come to rest on a word that is called a fixation. Most people fixate once on each word across a line of print.
In order to make our speed increase we must take in more words with each fixation, rather than make our eyes move faster.
- Try to avoid focusing on every word, but rather look at groups of 2 to 3 words. For instance, this sentence could be grouped in this manner:
For instance/this sentence/could be grouped/in this manner
- Work on vocabulary improvement. Familiarize yourself with new words so you don’t get stuck on them when you read them again.
- If you find yourself moving your lips when reading, force yourself to read faster by following (1.) above so that you can no longer move your lips.
- Read more! 15 minutes a day of reading an average size novel equals 18 books a year at an average reading speed.
- Determine your purpose before reading. If you only need main ideas, then allow yourself to skim the material. Don’t feel you must read every word.
- Spend a few minutes a day reading at a faster than comfortable rate (about 2 to 3 times faster than you normal speed). Use you hand or an index card to guide your eyes down the page. Then time yourself reading a few pages at your normal speed. You’ll find that often your normal reading speed will increase after your skimming practice.
- If you have poor concentration when reading, practice reading for only 5 – 10 minutes at a time and gradually increase this time.