How to increase your reading speed?
We have already discussed that with a decent speed of 80-100 words per minute only, RC can be managed for CAT, although importance of improving the reading speed (or for that matter improving anything else too) cannot be denied.
Generally, we read slowly because we believe that if we read slowly we will understand the things better. On the other hand, reading slowly leads to loss of concentration as our mind gets easily distracted, which leads to loss of interest, which further lowers down the reading speed.
It is important to understand how we read. Generally we read one to two words at a glance, pause for a fraction of a second and move to the other chunk of words. If we can train our eyes to read more number of words in a glance, our reading speed can increase manifold. With consistent practice, it may be possible to read the lines of a newspaper column in a single glance.
While reading a piece of text, we have tendency to move back, cross check and re-read the things which we have already read. Generally, this happens because of lack of interest, complex vocabulary, or poor retention of the reader. This is known as regression or skip back. The habit of regression has to be minimized if not eliminated. Pausing once in a while to figure out the contextual meaning of words, however, is not regression.
Regression is a big time killer. It breaks the flow of thought, and leads to poor concentration, which leads to more regressions, which further lowers down the reading speed. Thus regression makes reading a slow and tiresome process. The best way to eliminate regression is to move a pen or pencil smoothly under the text and make your eyes follow the text. This is a great way to train oneself to read faster.
Some of us move our lips while reading. We tend to mumble the words audibly or inaudibly. The habit of sounding out words while reading is known as vocalization. The habit has its roots in our childhood when we were asked by our teachers in school to read aloud. Even at our homes, our mother would ask us to read aloud, when she used to be busy with the house chores. You could focus on the text (as there was no choice!), but how much of that could you understand? The problem with vocalization is it limits our reading speed, although it may help the reader to fix his mind on the subject matter.
Please note that as you experiment with these speed enhancement techniques, your comprehension will dip initially. Your mind may revolt, as many of us have been regressing and vocalizing throughout our school and college life. With a firm faith to improve reading effectiveness, coupled with consistent practice you can increase your reading speed manifold.