Why Reading Rate Matters
As a college student you may find yourself overwhelmed by the large amount of material that you are required to read. It’s easy to fall behind in course reading and feel like you can’t catch up. It can often feel like simply too many pages to get through in time! This is why an increased reading rate so essential.
Doesn’t Mean Remembering Less
You may think that pushing yourself to read faster, you will end up understanding and remembering less of what you read. However, this is only the case when you are initially learning to read at a higher rate. The truth is, once you’ve mastered your new reading speed you will likely find yourself reading with increased attentiveness and, therefore, increased comprehension.
How Fast Should You Read?
A good rate to strive for is between 250-350 words per minute. By contrast, the average college student only reads 230-250 words per minute. To find out your reading rate, choose and article and read for 30 seconds. Then stop and count the number of words you’ve read and then double that amount. The result is your reading rate in words per minute.
How to Improve Your Reading Rate
Consider these suggestions for increasing your reading rate:
- Don’t start with practicing on textbooks. When you are first learning to increase your reading rate, it is better to start with a newspaper or magazine article instead.
- Don’t move your lips when you read. In other words, don’t “vocalize” each word (either aloud or silently). Practice reading groups of words at a time, rather than single words.
- Use a “pacer” to help increase your reading speed. Pacers are designed to help keep your attention focused while you read and to help drive your eyes along more quickly. Force your eyes to move only when your “pacer” moves.
- The Card Method. – Place a blank white card directly above the first line of text. Read a line and then slide the card down over each line as you go.
- The Pen & Column Method – Use the pen to divide the reading material on the page into three columns. As you read, tap the pen under the line of text you’re reading only once per column. Read the group of words within the column as a group, rather than individually. With time and practice, you will eventually be able to read word groups without having to draw the lines.
- Other suggestions:
- Increase your vocabulary related to the topic you’re reading about.
- Avoid re-reading sentences over and over
- Replace your “vocalizing” with “visualizing.” It greatly aids in reading speed and comprehension.