The average reader is able to read approximately 2 words per second, or 120 words per minute. But with practice, readers have been able to increase their reading speed to upwards of 1,000 words per minute. The following is a list of 10 ways reading speed can be increased, while not missing any important information.

Skim the whole text first
Take a few minutes to get to know the lay-out of the reading material. If you are reading a book, read through the Table of Contents to learn what the main ideas of the material will be. Think about what you already know about the information you will be reading, so as to make connections with the text as you read. Speed-reading should not reduce your comprehension of the text.

Read the last sentence of the first paragraph
Typically, this sentence is called the “thesis sentence,” which is a one sentence summary of the main point of the paper, or chapter, if reading a book.

Read first sentence of each paragraph
This sentence is called the “topic sentence” and the following sentences in the paragraph will contain supporting material or examples. Reading this sentence will determine if you need to read the rest of the paragraph or if you can skim the content, or skip ahead.

Read the first and last sentences of the last paragraph
Typically, the last paragraph will summarize the whole chapter. It is the “conclusion.” Read the last paragraph to determine if you have noted all the information, or if you need to review content for an important point you may have missed.

Do not speak each word as you read
Eyes can move faster than the mouth, in speed reading the less movement, the better.

Read everything written in Bold Print, ALL CAPS, italics, or underlined
If the author of the article thinks the information is important enough to use some unusual format to make it stand out from the rest of the printed page, then the information is important. Read it. If the information jumps off the page, it will be quick and easy to read.

Read all numbered or bulleted lists
Lists are another technique writers use to convey a lot of information in an easily accessible way. Lists are quick and easy to read since they do not have to follow grammatical rules of sentence structure.

Read all the sidebar information
Here again, is information that is supportive or repetitive of the text. It is also noticeable and easily accessible, and can oftentimes be a replacement for reading the text.

Read graphs and picture captions
Because people learn in many different ways, writers often include graphs or other visual supports of the information they are trying to convey. These are all excellent ways to reinforce the information from the text to ensure comprehension.

Instead of reading each word at a time, practice reading whole sentences at a time
When we learn to read be start by recognizing letters, then syllables, then whole words. Most people do not stop there, but continue to read by seeing phrases, or small groups of words that make up an idea. Draw this technique out to include whole sentences by using peripheral vision and reading speed will increase.

If you are really interested in speed reading, you could go back through this list, read only the bold print (which is also a numbered list). Everything else is supporting information as to WHY reading those particular parts of any text is important.

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