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Everything in life today is fast and very few people have time for a slow, leisurely read. Moreover, being successful depends on assimilating lots of information, about all kinds of things and from numerous directions. We are what we know. So it makes sense to take in as much information as we can in as short a time as possible. Here are a few techniques to help you do just that:

  1. Many people read the same piece of text several times, jumping back to certain words and rereading specific portions. Ask someone to watch your eyes while you are reading and notice whether you do this and how often. Make a conscious effort to stop the habit. Ironically, this can usually be done by slowing down the reading process by taking time to read everything once only, then slowly building up speed.
  2. Use a visual guide to focus your attention. Many people find their eyes literally dot around from line to line. This can be overcome by using a pencil or ruler as a guide under the line you are reading and moving it down for each new line.
  3. Try not to move your lips as you read. Children do this when they are learning to read but as an adult it proves a hindrance and actually slows you down.
  4. Practice reading faster. Try to read a little faster every day. Pace yourself with a piece of card about 1 inch deep at the side of the page you are reading. Read the section measured the card. Move the card down as you read, consciously making the movement faster than your reading speed. Do this exercise as often as you can.
  5. Consult the contents list and index of every book before you start reading. Only pick up on important chapters and refer to the index for anything you are not certain about. This way you will only read the highlights.
  6. Learn to widen your span of recognition by increasing the number of words you see at each fixation. Train yourself to read the second words of each line, omitting the first. Later, make it the third word, then the fourth. In time you will find yourself missing out huge chunks of unnecessary information while still retaining what is important.
  7. Always skip-read an article or report before you sit down to read it in earnest. Skimming through section headings and taking in the roughest details of what follows lets you judge whether the document is worth reading at all. If it is worth reading, you will already have a good idea as to what sections to read in depth and which to omit.
  8. Learn to skip over irrelevant parts. With practice, most people find they can skim across a page in seconds, omitting irrelevant parts and assimilating important sections. Try doing this yourself, make a note of what each page contains and read the page in full, noticing whether you have missed anything of importance. Efficient skimming depends on knowing, in advance, what you are looking for in the text: facts, quotes, dates, significant phrases, and so on.
  9. Get to know documents you read most often, like regular reports, your favourite newspapers, and so on. Study the layout. Notice where unimportant (to you) matters feature and where features of interest to you can be found. Skip the former, concentrate on the latter.
  10. Be critical about the writing style. If the writing is sloppy, this can slow you down. Ask yourself whether the contents can be relied on for accuracy or whether the whole document is flawed and best avoided. Look for sharper writers on similar topics for the information you need.
  11. Look for comprehensive reports to explain a subject instead of long, complicated books. Research indicates that most books can be condensed into report form without cutting down on essential information.
  12. Where you refer to the same text on numerous occasions, use a coloured pen to highlight the most important parts. Do this on your first reading and miss any untouched parts on subsequent readings.
  13. Improve your concentration. Keep distractions to a minimum. Look for a quiet spot to read from, without children, pets, radio and television playing in the background. If you have something important on your mind, don't force yourself to read if the other matter distracts you. Where this happens, put the reading to one side until a more appropriate time.                                                                                               
  14. Be choosy about what you read. If the subject bores you, ask whether you really need to read it anyway. If it's hard to understand, see whether a good dictionary or encyclopaedia can give you some useful insight first. Be selective about the kind of newspapers you read. Avoid junk news and concentrate on one good newspaper that includes most of the kind of things you want to know, while avoiding those you don't.
  15. Expand your vocabulary. This saves time spent looking up what words mean. Add seven or eight new words to your vocabulary every day. Choose the first unfamiliar words you come to and write these down, with meaning, in your pocket book. Make these the words you will learn today.
  16. Look for other ways to read while you are doing something else, like driving, commuting, ironing, jogging, relaxing. e.g. Audiobooks on CDs or Mp3 players are invaluable for letting you make more effective use of your time.
  17. Make your reading environment as comfortable as possible. This way you will enjoy reading and retain more. A comfortable chair and good lighting are vital. Ideally your chair should support your back in an upright, not slouched, position, with your thighs parallel to the ground. Try not to cross your legs for long periods. Reading material should be approximately 18 inches from your eyes with the light coming from behind. Light coming from the front is distracting and can lead to eyestrain. Reading directly from a computer screen is inadvisable, but frequently essential. Anyone who must read for long periods from a computer screen should take frequent rests and use eye drops to restore natural fluids the screen draws from the eyes. A screen net is a good idea for reducing glare. A small amount of water close to the computer, in a vase or plant pot, will help replace moisture in the air.
  18. Determine when your best reading time is and make the most of it. For some people this is first thing in the morning, for others late at night. Make a point of reading when you are at your best and doing something else when you find reading or concentration difficult. If you normally have children around you, try to read while they are sleeping or otherwise preoccupied.
  19. Learn to value your time. Time management books include lots of useful information about speed reading.
  20. Click Here Now To Triple Your Reading Speed In Under 1 Hour - Or Claim $100 In Gifts!    

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