Speed Reading

As a college student you will need to read lots of textbooks, novels, notes, and other material to help you through your classes. This can be exhausting for almost any student. However, if you can perfect the art of speed reading you can sail through almost any assignment and still learn and retain the information.

Speed reading is the process of reading faster than your normal rate and still being able to comprehend what you read. Speed reading can be done by almost anyone willing to take the time to learn some simple techniques and tricks.


The most popular form of speed reading is skimming the material. The problem with skimming is readers will sometimes have trouble retaining the information. The trick is to learn what to skim and to actually remember the information. If you are speed reading a textbook, then skim through terms and their definitions as well as the first few sentences of each paragraph. This is where the important information is usually located. Also, read the summary at the end of each chapter. Doing this will decrease the amount of reading time while still learning everything that you need from the text.

Don't Read Every Word

Believe it or not, your brain is programmed to be able to understand words without actually reading the whole word. For example, your brain will easily transform misspelled words and missing letters from words correctly. While reading try to skip over basic words such as: the, as, it, be, etc. Although these are words that tie sentences together, if you skip over them you will still understand the main idea of the sentence you are reading.

Assess Your Method

Some people retain information better when they read out loud whereas others learn when reading silently. Determine which reading method suits your learning style and apply it to your studies. Although studies show that reading out loud reduces your reading speed, there are students who prefer this method to silent reading.

Ask Questions

The best way to determine if you are actually learning what you read is to ask yourself questions. Speed read a few pages and then stop and question yourself on the material. Grab a few terms and see if you can define them, or go back and really make sure you understand the main ideas of the chapter. If you are not grasping the information, then speed reading is not doing you any favors.

Finally, when you finish reading your material, write down the main ideas you just read. This will not only test if you actually comprehend the information, but it will also provide you with quick notes that you can refer to later. The average college student reads about 300 words per minute, but if you can learn to speed read you may be able to increase that to about 700-1000 words per minute. Don't stress if it's something you can't achieve, but learning to speed read can become a very valuable tool to use in your college career.