Techniques for Faster Reading
Preview involves skimming over a reading passage to get a general idea of its content and to help focus the reader’s mind on the topic. It is a very valuable tool in faster reading.
To preview, look at the title and subtitles, then read quickly over the first and last paragraphs and skim through the rest of the passage to get an idea of what the passage will be about.
If there are comprehension questions, read them after the preview to help focus the mind on specific ideas to look for. Then read the passage, looking for answers to the questions.
If there are no comprehension questions, try turning the title and subtitles into questions to help you look for meaning in your reading.
Read through the passage carefully, but not too slowly. Keep in mind the questions you have formed so that you will be able to concentrate and stay focused on the reading material. In reading, try to keep a steady pace and avoid going back over words or phrases.
After reading, skim over the passage again to remember main ideas and subpoints. Think of the answers to the questions or form an outline of the passage in your mind as you review.
It is best to check the meanings of words in the passage, either before or after the reading, not during, as this will slow down your reading pace. Try to guess the what the words mean from the context (surrounding words) and only check the dictionary as a last resort.
It is sometimes useful to check your progress by keeping track of reading time, rate (words per minute) and comprehension (a percentage of correct answers to questions). There are several texts which enable you to do this through exercises. One of the best is a series entitled Timed Readings.