There is a way for you to read more in less time by eliminating three common mistakes.
An elementary school student reads about 150 words per minute (wpm).
The university student has a rate of 450 wpm and after those scholastic years rates slow to 300 wpm.
Why is reading so important? What caused the rate of reading to slow down after our academic years? How do you improve your reading rate to be more productive?
Reading is a fundamental part of your life. You are doing it this very minute, when you drive, order food, pull money out of the ATM. Everywhere around you there are words. Reading is one of the first life skills you learn as a child. You started by learning how to turn pages, pronounce letters, say words, complete phrases and sentences. You have read almost all of your life. Reading is essential for your quality of life and success.
Reading is a basic tool in living a good life. – Joseph Addison
Which Type of Reader are You?
Knowing which type of reader you are can help identify bad habits and what you can do to make yourself a more productive reader. There are three types of readers – visual, auditory and kinetic, and identifying which reader you are is easy. Do you remember going to the doctor’s office and the nurse asked you how you learn best? Visual learners want to read instructions or manuals. They read at rates of 400 wpm or faster. Auditory learners prefer instruction and lectures. Audio readers want hear the words spoken either physically or internally in their mind. Kinetic learners are the “doers.” Kinetic readers are the easiest to identify. They like to read aloud or move their lips while reading.
We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. – B. F. Skinner
When I set in motion my mission to become more productive, one of the first things I realized was how bad I read. As a child I read all the time. Stuff like the Hardy Boys, White Fang, Huckleberry Finn, and Daniel Boone. Most of these books were fiction or historical fiction, but I enjoyed the adventures. When I advanced in school I was required to read works like Shakespeare, Odyssey, and Tale of Two Cities. This kick started my dislike for reading and the heavy academic load did not leave much time for reading for pleasure. These works might be very significant but they are difficult to read. A few years ago, I came into possession of a self-improvement book called First Things First by Stephen Covey. I thought it was a great book and it ignited my motivation to read again. The problem was my reading was sluggish and painful. I needed to understand how to consume content faster and be more productive. I was setting yearly book goals and struggling to meet them. I wanted to enjoy reading like I did when I was a young boy. During my hunt for a fix, I found out that I was making three blunders.
Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift. – Kate DiCamillo
3 Bad Habits of Reading
Highlighting can be an effective way to mark up a book and take notes, if you do it right. The majority of people are highlighting too much. Your books may have the appearance of a green, yellow, blue and pink rainbow or resemble a bound yellow post-it-note. You develop these bad highlighting habits in school. Do not highlight while you are reading over the text for the first time. This causes you to highlight more than what you need. Attempt to highlight keywords/phrases, not whole sentences only after you have read it first.
Sub-vocalization is how you learned to read and many of you never stopped. It is a difficult habit to curb if you have been doing it all your life. Sounding out words reduces your rate of reading. Your eyes and your mind can process many times faster than you can pronounce the text.
Regression is common and fairly easy to cure with a reading aide. Back-tracking makes reading a painful process and rapidly slows reading. I once read that you do not gain any new knowledge from cracking open a book a second time. Why go back and brush up on a paragraph again when the author is going to summarize later in the chapter or book? Regressing causes you to check for what you think you missed and disrupts your flow.
In the next couple weeks I hope to show you ways to shutdown these bad habits. You will pick up productive tips that will have you doubling and tripling your reading speed with the same pleasure and comprehension, if not more.