Speed Reading Technique



  1. Human information bandwidth capacity VS bandwidth for reading
    1. Human information bandwidth is large, think like 10Mbps
      1. You can ride a bike using sight, hearing, balancing your body, pedaling using your foot, balancing your hand, and hit the brake when you see the red light. The five senses are all information and our brain can process them and react based on those five senses, the brain is a quite powerful processing engine and can receive a lot of data.
    2. Sleepy when reading? It’s like opening internet with 24 Kbps, you get sleepy, bored, and disinterested. Bandwidth of normal or slow reading speed is like 24 Kbps while you brain have more capacity than that.
    3. Speed reading is just a technique to enlarge the bandwidth of taking information from reading, you have the processing capacity in the brain but you just don’t use the right skill to enlarge the bandwidth
    4. Reading is just an information feed, like sound, sight, pressure on your skin, heat or cold, balancing your body
  2. I have gathered techniques acquired from 3 speed reading books and training
    1. There are also some exercise below that can be used to measure your speed and immediately show your progress within 1 hour.
    2. My experience in teaching this skill for a teenager, his speed was 98 Words Per Minutes, after practicing for 5 pages, his speed can reach up to 250 Words Per Minutes (2,5 times faster)
  3. Normal reading speed around 100-150 Words Per Minute
  4. Here I will explain the following skills
    1. Speed Reading Level 1 will increase your speed up to 500 Words Per Minute (3 times faster)
    2. Speed Reading Level 2 will increase your speed up to > 500 Words Per Minute, even more than 1000 WPM
    3. Book Reading Technique and Mind Map, how to study a book comprehensively
  5. Our objective in work environment is to complete Level 1 and Book Reading Technique, Level 2 is nice to have but require rigorous training.
  6. These are skills and like other skills it gets better when you train routinely, but if you don’t train then expect your speed to came back to normal. I am talking from experience. I had reached Level 2 and can grasp concept faster but when I didn’t train it came back to 300 – 500 WPM

Speed Reading Level 1 – Focus and Techniques

  1. Use Finger Index to read
    1. read by moving  finger with constant speed
    2. finger lead the eyes, not eyes lead the finger
    3. try to maintain fast enough speed at your limit while maintain understanding, remember constant speed, don’t slow down or getting faster, CONSTANT and AT YOUR LIMIT
  2. Don’t regress, to go back to previous sentence because you don’t understand them but keep reading forward
    1. The cause of not understanding what you’ve read is lack of focus, your mind wasn’t there when you read it.
    2. The solution is not to reread or regress but to really focus on what you currently read
    3. Focus on now, current, by regressing you make a habit of not paying attention
    4. If You will feel “I missed/don’t understand that part”  then you should think “I can’t go back, I need to be focusing on what I am currently reading, so I can understand“. This will discipline your mind to focus on what at hand, on now, not the past or the future (Hmm, sound like some Zen philosophy)
    5. Don’t worry, if there are important issues then they will repeated and explained on other parts of the reading materials
  3. Hanging Eyes: Read the top half part of the letter,
    1. Rather than read the full font/letter (top to down), read the top half part
    2. Example: put a piece of paper to cover the bottom half of the text and try to read them
  4. Consciously avoid sub vocal
    1. Sub vocal reading is saying the words you read on your mind, your mouth doesn’t speak the words but your mind speak it
    2. Remember reading is just information feed like sound, light and so on, you don’t need to sub vocal to understand the meaning.
    3. The maximum speed for if you are sub vocal reading is 500 Words per Minutes which is the limit of Level 1.
    4. In level 1 you’re expected to minimize the sub vocal reading but not totally eliminate them, because eliminating sub vocal reading is done in Level 2

When you use this technique especially CONSTANT speed and Don’t REGRESS, you will find that your focus increase, even if your surrounding is noisy, you won’t notice them and it become enjoyable because your mind is focused and engaged.

Book Reading Technique

This technique can be used for studying, with the goal of understanding the concept and having a easy to remember note using mind map / fishbone diagram.

  1. Critical thinking is the baseline of this technique, not just accepting, but argue, criticize, summarize, conclude, think of implication
    1. ask what does the author want to say
    2. how is the author want to explain the ideas
    3. why do the author explain it that way
    4. so what is this all about
    5. what is the important issue
    6. make assumptions of what the book is all about and disprove them
  2. Read the table of content using Level 1 
    1. After finish reading the table of content, try to create assumption what are the content of this book and how might the author try to explain them.
  3. Read each page with limit of 1 second per page, from the start to the end of book
    1. 360 page = 360 seconds = 6 minutes
    2. see the bold textmarked texttablespictures, chart
    3. after reading, summarize and try to understand:
      1. the structure of the book,
      2. the method of explanation (a lot of picture, with exercises, with examples),
      3. the outline of the book
      4. review your first assumptions from reading the table of content 
      5. This part is important don’t continue to next step until you have a summary or assumptions of the book
  4. Read each chapter with limit of 2 second per page and Create Mind Map for that Chapter
    1. After getting an overview, now try to get more detail
    2. Stop after finishing a chapter  and create a note using Mind Map diagram or fishbone Diagram
      1. What are the important keywords, topics, sub title, bold texts, charts that caught your eyes? Noted them in the Mind Map diagram
      2. Do this without opening the book try to get them from your memory
      3. Review your assumptions
      4. This part is also important and provide at least 2 minutes to really get all important keywords
      5. Based on my experiences around 80% of the concept was grasped in process
  5. Read each chapter with speed reading technique – Level 1
    1. Stop at the end of each chapter and complete the Mind Map / Fishbone diagram that you have made
    2. Review your assumption

By the end of this technique you have

  1. read the book 3 times (1 second, 2 second, read wholly)
  2. Create assumptions and review them 3 times (table of content, 1 second, and 2 second)
    1. This is the learning process when you make mistakes and then correct them, you learn more than just read to understand.
    2. In traveling what do you remember the most? The bad experiences or the good ones, most will answer the bad experiences like: the bathroom is not clean, they didn’t get me the towel, the traffic was so bad. You can remember and imagine bad experience clearly. So when you’re wrong and get corrected you remember them better.
    3. This make you review what you know or expect against what really inside of the books (learning).
    4. Why in the class, after the lecturer finish explaining and ask for questions, there usually very few that raised questions?
      1. You just got the concept and use your faculty to understand, you haven’t got the chance to rethink about it using critical thinking (which one is not clear, how this relate with other parts, so on).
      2. If you had understanding about the concept before and then you find some discrepancy between what you know and what the lecturer explain, then you can ask something.
  3. Using this technique, we can read a book of 300 pages in 3,5 hours and with more than 70% understanding 
    1. 1 minutes for table of content
    2. 5 minutes for 1 second reading
    3. 10 minutes for 2 second reading
    4. 10 minutes for creating mind map from the 2 second reading (assuming 5 chapters)
    5. 2,5 hours for reading with Level 1 – i f your speed is 500 WPM
    6. 15 minutes for creating mind map from the reading with Level 1
  4. Imagine if  you’re a student, you can devour all your study books in one month
    1. 1 books = 2 days (allocate 2 hours per day)
    2. 1 month = 15 books
    3. It won’t get boring because if you have learn Level 1 your focus will increase and you can enjoy reading book

Speed Reading Level 2 – Beyond Sub Vocal – Peripheral Vision

Level 1 and Book Reading Technique is very easy to do and can immediately show result in just a couple of hours, but Level 2 require more effort and time, so I didn’t recommend them so much, but if you want to try and experience some brain smashing experience here goes.

  1. Eliminate sub vocal reading, by increasing your peripheral vision  for reading
    1. What 1000 Words per Minute look like? Reading per page for 2 seconds just like flipping the page
    2. Is it attainable? It is really harder than level 1 and need routine training
  2. Read per phrase not per word
    1. instead of: [word]  [by]   [word]
    2. better: [word by] [word]
    3. even better: [word by word]
  3. Read backward
    1. After you successfully use the Read per phrase, you have increase your peripheral vision, you can stop them and use this technique to eliminate completely Sub Vocal reading.
    2. Read Backward: from right to left  
    3. You won’t be able to sub vocal if you read from right to left 
    4. This will force your brain to find meaning of the words and try to construct the concept
    5. Remember, reading is information feed
    6. You’ll get a headache at first but persist for at least 20 pages and you’ll see how your brain can actually make sense of the words
    7. Another variation is by zig zag
      1. first line: left to right,
      2. second line: right to left,
      3. third line: left to right
  4. Read by block
    1. Do this after you can read backward comfortably
    2. Use newspaper that use text with small column 
    3. Instead of reading by line, you read by chunk
    4. Focus your peripheral focus 5 to 8 lines at once
    5. So if the column has 20 lines, your focus is only 4 spots (20 lines / 5 lines = 4 spots)


Exercise 1 – Measuring your Normal Speed

  1. Pick a book and prepare a timer
  2. Start the timer and read one page (full of text, avoid page with pictures) with your normal speed
  3. When finish reading the page, note down the time you take for reading that page, example: 1 minutes 30 second = 1.5 minutes
  4. Count the number of words in one line, ex: 8 words
  5. Count the number of lines in that page, ex: 30 lines
  6. Count the number of words in one page = number of words in one line x number of lines , ex: 240 words = 8 x 30
  7. Divide words per page with your time : 240 / 1.5 = 160 Words Per Minutes
  8. Your Speed = (average word per line x average line per page x Number of Page ) / (How many minutes)

Normal Speed is around 100 – 150 Words Per Minutes

Exercise 2 – Practice Level 1 for 5 pages

  1. Still using the same book from exercise 1
  2. Use the Level 1  Speed Reading
  3. Record your time and count your speed for EACH PAGE
    1. Page 1: 1.4 minutes = 171
    2. Page 2: 1.3 minutes = 184
    3. Page 3
    4. Page 4
    5. Page 5
  4. Compare Speed of exercise 1 with exercise 2

You should see that your speed increase at least 2 times, example: Normal speed = 100 WPM, Level 1 speed = 200 WPM

Exercise 3 – Practice Book Reading Technique

  1. Pick a book
  2. Record your time
  3. Read with Book Reading Technique + Level 1 Speed Reading
  4. Measure your speed: Time for Book Reading Technique + Level 1 speed reading
  5. Submit your mindmap / fishbone diagram + speed

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s