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How to boost your reading and comprehension skills

How to boost your reading and comprehension skills

Written by Mutahar Iftikhar

In the age of excess information, it is not possible to read slow and cover all that we must; therefore, speed reading becomes essential for the sake of efficacy. On average, most humans usually read-only 284 words per minute, and for non-natives of the language, words intake declines further. 

Sean Adams, the world record holder in speed reading, read a dazzling 4450 words per minute. To add to that, it is said that J.F. Kennedy read a thousand words per minute.

 Is that possible to read that fast? Science provides us with an experimental pragmatic figure of Five hundred words per minute with 100% comprehension.

These extreme speeds can only be understood by the dissection of speed reading; it involves two processes: words intake per minute and the adaptability of the brain. The later is natural efficacy of brain to comprehend a task. Although the brain’s adaptability power of everyone is not equal, a person can increase it by keeping the mind fresh and healthy, however. The former, words intake per minute could be increased by extensive reading practice, and a few practical tips explained hereunder.

1- Read in phrases rather than words

Whenever you are reading a paragraph, do not try to comprehend every word on its own. In other words, try to mouth a few words at a time. Here is an illustration.

There is an old wise man with black beard living in a house on the bank of the river Ravi. 

In this case, you spend time on each word to comprehend each word individually; consequently, you lose focus and, in turn, comprehension.

There is an old wise man with black beard living in a house on the bank of the river Ravi.

 Here, instead of reading a word, you spend the same amount of time on the phrase communicating complete sense. By practising reading in phrases, you can increase reading speed.

2- Don’t let yourself get trapped in regression or back-skipping

It means to return to a sentence or word that you have just read; it happens when you lose focus while reading or come across a word alien to you. So, you stop to decipher the meaning of it to understand the context. Regression or back-skipping is an interest killing habit; the reader loses his desire to read the text.  

To counter this habit, set a clock to read a line or a paragraph that will keep you in check and prevent you from going back while reading. Extensive practise of this exercise will help you develop more focused reading habit.

3- Try to read in short lines

It is comfortable and better to read in narrower lines than to read in wider lines. Try to limit the width of the text to 8-10 word a line; that will help build maintain concentration and continue the flow of transition from one line to another.

The narrower the width of the page, the more comprehendible it is for you.

4- Always use a reading guide

It is difficult for new readers to roam around the whole page; it has negative effects on your reading speed and comprehension of the subject matter. Therefore, to use a ruler, pencil, or mouse cursor, if you are reading on screen, it is necessary to help you create a reading rhythm.

5- Learn language skills

Language skill is vital for good reading speed. The talent includes vocabulary, structures, basic grammar of the language you are reading. It will go a long way helping to increase your reading speed.

Bottom line

The only way to be good at a skill is to keep practising it as much as you can. It gets easier and easier as you practice more. 

About the writer:

Mutahar Iftikhar, an engineer and an ardent CSS aspirant, writes on a range of topics pertaining to competitive examinations and has also completed his creative writing course from Sir Syed Kazim Ali.

Name of the Student: Mr Mutahar Iftikhar
Qualifications: Petroleum Engineering
Total Articles/Blogs: 3
English Coach: Sir Syed Kazim Ali
Course Taken: Creative English Writing & Article Writing

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