You have a lot of different courses, and each instructor wants to make sure that you have done the reading for his or her course. How can you manage?

First of all, read strategically. You don’t have to read everything in your textbook. You do have to know what is important for you to read and what you can skip. For more tips on reading skills, follow this link.

However, once you’ve decided to read something, you will still often need to read fairly quickly.   Here are some tips to improve your reading speed.

Tips for Faster Reading

  1. Ignore the words you don’t know (unless they are key to understanding the meaning of the text).
  1. Don’t go back! If you go back and reread earlier parts of the text, it can really slow you down and doesn’t improve comprehension that much. If you really can’t control the urge, come to see us and we will help you.
  1. Don’t move your lips when reading. Similarly, “sub-vocalization” slows you down. If you can “hear” the words inside your head, then you are only reading as fast as you speak. We don’t speak as quickly as we can read.
  1. Try to avoid reading every word separately. Read in “thought groups” of two to three words at a time.
  1. Practice “fast” reading for 3 to 5 minutes at a time. Gradually increase your reading time. Try to read something faster than seems comfortable. You might be surprised at how much you understand and remember.
  1. Why are you reading? What is the task or purpose that you have? If you are reading to answer a question, keep the question in mind as you read. Consciously interpret what you are reading as you read. Think about the overall message rather than the words on the page.