How to improve speed reading to get better grades

When reading homework piles up and there is little time to read all of it, increasing your reading speed can help with school materials. Speed-reading is used widely in academic schools to help students get better grades and improve reading comprehension. But how can students struggling with schoolwork master this study skill?

Whether it is science or math, accelerating your reading comprehension can increase your understanding of extensive chapters or workbooks. Applying these simple methods of concentration, determination, and consistency, can help students in school.

1.  Use fingers or pen to scan the text for particular keywords

In fact, many textbooks already may have list of important concepts to know, either at the end of the chapter or part of the exercise section. Write these down and have them handy when you read the chapter. Avoid using highlighter as you read. They tend to interfere with your concentration.

2.  Make questions based on title, subtitles and headings

When reading long chapters or heavy amounts of text, it is best to review the content before starting to read it. And formulate questions about the content. Many chapters are written based on an outline. Use it to your advantage to pose questions as you’re reading.

3.  Use sub-vocalization and skip over simple words

When we read to ourselves, we read just the words of interest. For instance, simple words like ‘the, a, an, but, for’ and other sight words are easily glanced through by our brains. So, only focus on the main phrases or specific words.

courtesy of iStockphoto

4.  Avoid regression and concentrate

The old saying: ‘Silence is golden’ is certainly true in this case. The more concentrated you are as you speed-read, the better improvement in your reading comprehension.

  • Avoid cell phone interruptions, set it to silent or put it aside as you study.
  • Avoid loud noises like television or music.
  • Avoid listening to music with your iPod or other device. If you’re reading the text on your computer, iPad, Kindle or other electronic device, simply turn off any distractions momentarily.

5.  Incorporate good eye coordination for better reading

Whether you need eye correction or not, your eyes are the passage to your understanding. As many sportspeople use blinders on horses’ eyes to keep them from distractions and to focus on the path ahead, the same principle is applied to when reading the text. Your eyes need to be focused and determined on the material and no other disruptions should take place. Practice makes perfect. Get your eyes used to scanning the text even before starting speed-reading.

Of course, speed-reading, as a study skill, is not for every student. Like all study skills, it takes time and practice to master it. So don’t give up if it doesn’t work for you the first few chapters. As a final tip, a fresh mind learns better without distractions, daydreaming, and interruptions.

Do you use speed-reading in your study time?

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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