The Importance of Speed reading in high school & how to improve it
Updated: May 8, 2019
When a student transitions from primary school to high school, it’s a moment of happiness and pride both for the parent and the child. Once in high school, reality kicks in. The amount of information a high school student has to absorb increases tremendously as compared to primary school education. There is a lot to learn from each subject. This increases the pressure and stress on the child. The more a child has to learn, the more they have to read. The more they read, the more they prepare their brain to absorb information.
Just reading randomly isn’t enough.
In high school, there is quite a good amount of books to read and learn; the child would be required to be introduced to speed reading to cope up with the classroom studies and competition from fellow students.
What is speed reading?
Speed reading is reading much faster than your normal pace of reading, without missing out on any crucial information and comprehending the right information.
On average, a person can read around 200 to 250 words per minute. Some are gifted speed readers, whereas, others have to practice every day to acquire this skill.
Why do you need to read faster?
There is a vast amount of information in the world today. A slow reader will gather lesser information than someone who can read faster. When you read with speed, you’re training your brain to store more information at a faster rate. So don’t forget to test yourself by trying to remember what you have read.
A high school student has so many books to read and information to absorb. This would be the best time to train your brain to gather and process information faster.
How to acquire the skill of speed reading?
Time your reading
On the first day when you start training yourself to read faster, check the number of pages that you can read in a day. On the next day, keep a target to increase the number of pages that you read and gradually keep increasing the speed every day and you will realize that you’re getting better at this skill.
You would not only just get better at the skill of speed reading but you will also start to enjoy reading and soon it will be part of your hobby. You can also read our 7 speed reading review on how it can help you to read faster.
Some of us have difficulty following a sentence from the first line to the second. At the end of the first line, we stumble and skip to the third line or we end up reading the same line again. This impacts concentration and also distracts the pace of reading.
Keep your finger or pen below the word that you’re reading and move the finger or pen as you read the sentence. This method will help you concentrate on what you’re reading and you will not end up reading the same thing again or missing out on information. This method is also known as Meta guiding.
Read important information
Once you enjoy and understand the activity of reading, you will also understand skimming through a book. Skimming is reading what’s important and skipping out what is irrelevant.
Our brain has a way of telling us what is important and what’s irrelevant. As you practice to speed read you will understand that you have acquired the skill without you realizing about it.
Though skimming is one of the techniques of speed reading, I would advise you to avoid skimming when you’re reading your notes for the first time.
Once you’re confident with your reading and your brain has absorbed the relevant information, then you can skim through your notes while revising. You can practice skimming while reading a newspaper or magazine to just glance or scan through information that is important and avoid reading that is not important.
Comprehension and Vocabulary
If you’re unable to comprehend what you’re reading, your reading pace will decrease. We read faster when we understand the words that we’re reading.
To overcome this problem, write down the words you’re unable to understand. Check the words in the dictionary and hear how it’s pronounced. Once the meaning and pronunciation are understood, it’s easy on the eyes to read those difficult words.
This method will help you in the long term as a reader and will also enrich your vocabulary. Keep adding more words to your vocabulary it will eventually strengthen your language skills and confidence while speaking in public or classroom.
Sub-Vocalizing is another technique of pronouncing and hearing every word in your head while reading. Readers who want to speed read avoid reading word by word. They skim through the line and take in only the important information from each sentence.
Although this is a good practice, it is not easy to stop our vocal cords from reading every word and our eyes to stop seeing every word. It takes a lot of practice.
I would personally recommend reading every word in your head, especially the words that are difficult to pronounce. When you read difficult words in your head, you’re familiarising yourself with those words. Eventually, you will be able to maintain a good pace with words that are difficult to pronounce. I can read every word in my head and maintain my speed, I am sure you too can with practice. Also, you will not mispronounce a word if you practice pronouncing them correctly in your head.
Don’t be pushy or hard on yourself - Speed reading is a skill that can be acquired through practice. Read, read and read as much as you can. But don’t be too hard on yourself. This skill can be acquired slowly and gradually.
If you are being way too hard on yourself, you may miss out on important information and most importantly you will give up and not enjoy the joy of reading. Speed reading is effective if you can comprehend correctly without missing out on important information. Take your time to practice and have patience.
Controlling your pace of reading – Always balance your pace of reading. Read slowly,
Where you find it difficult to understand the information,
If what you’re reading is extremely important to memorize and
What you’re reading is complex.
There is no point in reading at a faster pace if you can’t remember them later. Slow down your pace, where you feel you have to.
Distractions – When you’re reading stay away from any kind of distractions like,
Buzzing of the phone,
Loud TV and music or
People around you are talking to each other.
Whether your reading pace is slow or fast, with distractions around, it will be difficult to absorb the information you’re reading.
Test yourself – After reading for a while, go back and see how much you remember from what you have read. Train your brain to remember what you’re reading.
Lastly, never stop practicing. Read as much as you can to take in all the information.
Reading is one of the best exercises you can give to your brain. If you don’t achieve the goal of speed reading don’t panic or stress, just give yourself some time. Stress can lead to nothing but wear you down.
Along with reading and studying:
1. Do relax and take adequate rest 2. Exercise regularly and keep yourself fit 3. Remember to eat healthily 4. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water and 5. Get a good night’s sleep
These are important for your physical and mental growth. Do not compromise on these. Stay fit and healthy and keep yourself up to date with your studies to avoid studying everything at the last minute.