Benefits and techniques for speed reading

Benefits and techniques for speed reading

It is estimated that a regular person reads about 250 words per minute. If speed reading techniques are used, our reading speed can be increased up to a potential 400 or 700 words per minute. The difference is remarkable, but it is also paramount to make sure we understand what we read.



Fast reading has multiple benefits besides using less time: sharper focus on reading, learning more and being able to recognize words and key ideas and internalizing them. Thanks to fast reading we can also improve our knowledge by learning new concepts.

Our reading speed helps us read a novel or newspaper in less time, but especially helps us to study and analyze any type of documentation.


There are different techniques to learn to read faster. The most common advice is trying to achieve greater concentration, not vocalizing what is being read, not saying the words out loud, not reading without understanding what is being read, using different speeds depending on the type of text or paragraph and changing techniques as time goes by.

Improving reading speed is a matter of practice and technique. Keep in mind that it is a combination of physical elements (eye movement) and mental elements (the ability to understand). Here we describe some techniques that can be useful to get a quick read.

Follow the line. Use your finger or a pencil to mark the line where you are in order to continue reading more easily. Your eyes will be fixed on the pointer and it will prevent missing a line.

Zigzag motion. This technique is recommended when we do rehearsals or analyze the general lines of a document. When you move your finger in a zigzag motion on the text, you are looking for those terms that will allow you to make a general picture of the text or, in the case of revisions, to remember the most important concepts.

Search key concepts. Is also called diagonal reading, we examine a text looking for key concepts. It is similar to zigzag reading, but with this technique moves from paragraph to paragraph focusing on the information that seems more interesting. This way we get a general picture of the whole document.

Disorganized reading. It is like scanning a document quickly with your eyes and going over all the elements that help you define what is discussed in the text. For example, in the case of a book, we read the cover, index, subtitles, chapter headings or all those elements that capture our attention at first glance. This way, we get a fairly clear idea about what we will find if we do a more detailed reading without having to read the text comprehensively .