5 Speed Reading Tips + Exercises

Reading a useful book is like getting written advice from a real smart person. Some authors pour entire lives of knowledge into the books that they write. Knowledge that can save us time and money. Through reading we are able to benefit from their life experiences. This post offers 5 speed reading tips + exercises, so you can increase your ability and reap the rewards. Those are pre-read, don’t subvocalize, utilize your peripheral vision, use a pacer & notecard and employ practice exercises to build your skill.

Pre-Reading is One of the Speed Reading Tips

Pre-read what you are about to read. If there is a table of contents, skim it. If it is a textbook, look for summaries and words that are in bold. Read the first and last sentences of paragraphs. Read the front and back covers. By pre-reading, you are setting up the structure for which you can place the information you are about to receive. As a result, you’ll be able to read faster and both your comprehension and recall will improve.

Read at the Speed of Sight

Don’t subvocalize. That’s when you either move you lips or say the line out loud in your mind while reading. The theory is that when you subvocalize, you can only read at speaking speed. You want to recognize the words like you are reading a stop sign. We don’t read a stop sign. We just recognize it. We can listen and recognize faster than we can speak. One way to prevent subvocalizing is to listen to white noise, like traffic or ocean sounds, when reading. Another way is to gently place you tongue on the roof of your mouth and leave it there while reading.

Run Stop Lights with Your Eyes

Use your peripheral vision while reading. When we read from one edge of the line to the other, our eyes don’t pan smoothly. That is, there is not one continual motion from beginning to end. Our eyes actually stop in multiple fixed positions when we glide across a line of text. The longer the line the more fixed points our eyes have to move through to complete it. Instead, divide the page into three columns. Then, place your focus on the center third of the line and use your peripheral vision. It will take some training but with practice you’ll be reading faster. If reading was a car trip, it would the difference between hitting every green light or missing them all.

Get It Right The First Time

Use a pen or your finger to pace your reading. Keep track of how fast you move it and try to improve each time you read. In addition, cover lines that you’ve read with a notecard. Nothing is worst in speed reading than reading a line of text that you’ve already gone through.

Speed Readers are Built through Tips & Exercises Not Born

Like most skills, speed reading can be developed. Before you commence training, get a baseline of your reading speed. One exercise you can do, to increase your pace speed, is to play with the interval length. Start off with a short interval, 3 minutes, then push the pace to the point where you can barely comprehend. Then, increase the interval length. When the new pace & interval become comfortable, increase the pace speed and repeat. Another exercise is, if you have access to both the audio & paper versions, to read while listening to the audio at double speed. This trains you to use your listening speed as opposed to speaking speed.


Good books are golden treasures of knowledge and wisdom condensed into understandable and usable forms. Use these 5 speed reading tips & exercises to your advantage. Imagine having access to all the smartest and successful people in the world. Through books, you do. Through speed reading, you multiply your ability to receive knowledge and can become more productive. To get some quick tips on increasing productivity, check out 7 Life Hacks to Increase Your Productivity.

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