How to Read Fast

My ability to read fast seems to come from two sources, and it appears to be natural.

First is energy, if I have a sober and sharp head, I can read fast naturally. A sober and sharp head comes from the replenishing of the physical body, thus it’s physical energy.

Second is the technique, it seems that when fast reading appears naturally, I skim through the paragraphs that are not so important and can be digested or retold in a few words/sentences. Basically fillers. It’s more like I can sense what’s important in a chapter and what is not. I would highlight the important parts of a chapter automatically when I come across them, and the unimportant/filler parts would be skimmed through. Not sure how it works but it seems like when you are going through fillers, it’s like 1-1-1-1-A-1-1-1, usually books tell the important information this way. A is the important and 1 is a filler.

Fillers are something that you don’t need to pay much attention to it, like people’s names, locations’ names etc. Usually these terms would reappear later and have much more detailed explanations. Unless you are reading some detective novels, which I don’t usually, these terms can be skipped most of the times. However, it depends on the situation, it’s best to go with the context (or the flow, the flow is important when reading anything) you are reading, and you can determine whether terms or sentences can be skimmed.

And also, rereading is automatic as well. Anything that I am not instantly comprehending, I would go back and reread the passage that I just skimmed past. And rereading is very important as it allows you to understand the context and also actually understand the important parts.

Third is focus. Concentration and focusing are the key to speed reading. If you are concentrating, more information can be gathered and processed while you are skimming through the passages. And concentration requires quite many factors, things I talked about here. Energy, environment etc. Anything that helps concentrate would activate speed reading naturally.

Fourth is the environment. At night, no sound, silent, alone, are the best to provoke my inner peace and activate this fast reading ability.

Fifth would be font, it seems that any font that resembles the look of Arial, can be recognized by me fairly easily and without much energy cost. After all, using English is more energy consuming than my mother tongue Chinese.

But I think it also has something to do with the reading material as well. You have to be familiar with the reading materials, by that, I mean the topics/fields of the reading materials. As humans we can associate fairly easily and naturally, when there is a degree of similarity. By reading more and having more knowledge in a specific field, subsequent readings of that specific field becomes much easier than first time reading it.

Sixth, style and grammar matter. People write in different styles, the easiest one to understand in English is the simple English. Something resembles spoken English and written English all together, having simple and straight to the point characteristics.

Seventh, that my father is gone? Lower pressure seems to help focusing and

Eighth, one thing I can add is the ups and downs of speed reading. It’s a good practice to have some downtimes that you read slow, and some uptimes that you read fast. Keep a dynamic balance of reading fast and slow, instead of reading fast fast fast consistently, that would cost a lot of energy as well. It’s like slow – average – fast – fast – slow – slow – average – fast. Or simpler, slow – fast – slow – fast.  Or 60% slow, 40% fast, or 60% fast, 40% slow, whichever suits the situation.


But the thing about speed reading is that you will, definitely, omit details. Whenever you try to get straight to the point of something, you omit details, sometimes important details. If you go fast, you definitely lose the quality. If you go for the quality, you don’t get to be so fast. It’s a natural law. Then again, it’s a dynamic balance. In terms of efficiency, we want speed and quality. So I would suggest go for the quality first, then speed. After all, digesting something you never really have the time to taste is like wasting quality, and time.

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