J.D. Meier's Blog

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5 Keys to Improving Your Reading Speed

5 Keys to Improving Your Reading Speed

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How can you read faster while improving your comprehension?  A few of my colleagues who follow my Book Share blog asked me how I read books.  Simply put, I don't focus on reading faster.  I focus on learning faster. 

5 Tips for Reading Faster
Here's the five things that help me read and comprehend faster:

  1.  Skim the book end to end.  This is your dry run.  Your goal is to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land (chapter names, key headings, key concepts).  Think of this as mapping the terrain.
  2. Start with key questions.  I find good questions by reading the back of the book or the cover and the indexes.
  3. Read to answer your questions.  Questions help you focus and they tell you when you're done.  You're done when you've answered your questions.
  4. Use posts as you go.  As I make it through the book, stick post its in pages that have an insight or action.  Write a note or two for any ah-has on the sticky.
  5. Don't slow down for speed bumps.  If there's stuff you want to drill into more, just write it on a sticky and then revisit.  This way you don't slow down for speedbumps and then you can give your speed bumps more focused time.  Sometimes moving past a speed bump will help you understand it once you have more of the book under your belt.

Additional Tips

  • Use Word.  If it's a fairly complicated or complex book, then Word is my friend.  I turn on the document map feature and I use the Heading1 and Heading 2s.  I dump notes as a I go.
  • If you get tired or you're not engaged, stop.  if I get tired or distracted, I just stop.  Otherwise, I read a bunch of pages but miss all the points.  It's better to just take a break and come back when I'm ready.

That's how I read insightful, informational or technical text these days.

Stop and Smell the Roses
If it's pleasure, then I slow down and focus on experiencing the author's story and world.  Savor the moment.

Additional Resources
Here's a couple of relevant posts:

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