There are probably a trillion articles out there on how you can read books faster, 300% faster within 20 minutes to be precise. Hard truth is, you won’t read 300% faster within 20 minutes, ever. As everything in life, it takes practice to read books faster.
Why would you want to Read Books Faster?
Well, that depends on each individual. Some people just want to go through material quicker to learn as much as possible. Other people want to fill up their bookshelves and show their friends how educated they are. And of course, there are legitimate bookworms who just love reading and would like to read as many books as possible out of pure curiosity.
Whatever reason you have to read books faster, I have a tip or two for me that actually helped me.
There are so many tips on how to Read Books Faster, I am lost and don’t know where to Start
Well, as always, you have to weed out which articles are click-bait filled with useless information you have heard a hundred times.
Lucky for you, I did this already and give you a summary of the things that I personally found of value. So let’s get right into it.
You probably won’t like the first Tip
The first, and in my opinion the most important tip isn’t something like “simply follow the lines with your finger”. Which is still a valuable tip, but that’s we gonna cover a bit later. The first rule to read books faster is simple: Read more!
Yes, you heard that right, you have to put in more time to get better. Surprised?
If you think of it, it makes sense. Like everything in life reading, faster takes practice. I got so frustrated by following all those Guru tips and just didn’t get better at reading that I stopped reading altogether many times before. And that is just because nobody mentioned the most crucial of all tips, that you have to read more.
The more you do something, the better you get at it. It’s as easy as that. If you spend just 15 minutes of reading every day using all the pro-tips on speed reading, you probably won’t get anywhere.
My reading really went to the next level once I introduced a goal.
Introducing a Daily Reading Goal
I want you to do the following. Think of a realistic amount of pages you would be able to read every single day. Did you come up with a number?
Good. Now cut that number in half. Seriously. You will understand this in a later article I have in the making, don’t think of it just now, just do it.
Then, download a habit app. I use the Loop Habit Tracker on Android because it is free, has no Ads and is as simple as it gets. Every evening the Habit Tracker would ask me: Did you read xx pages today?
Sounds whacky, but it actually keeps you going because your perfectionist’s brain wants to keep that flawless streak.
What also really helps me to stay motivated is GoodReads. On GoodReads, you can connect with friends, create Reading Goals (12 Books a Year, anyone?!) and actually find really, really good books.
You can see what your friends are reading and update progress on the books you currently read.
Why not connect with me?
Make Audiobooks Count
Talking about reading goals and reading 12 books a year, don’t be hard on you. Those 12 books don’t have to be all 600-page or more books. It can be a 100-page book, it can also be an Audiobook!
I made Audiobooks count, it’s not reading per se, but I still count them to my 12 books a year list, because I actually have “read” or, listening to the content.
Where you read is quite important. I know, a lot of people read while commuting, which is great, but it probably isn’t the best environment to focus for most people.
When you are reading, you wan’t to be in a place of comfort. This kind of hints a little bit back at reading more, meaning you should take some time aside just dedicated for reading.
If the only time you dedicate to reading is while youre on your commute, you probably won’t get better at all or just very very slow.
That being said, create a space for reading. A good place is a coffee shop. It sounds counter-intuitive, but coffee shops created the perfect environment for reading and working. They want you to spend time there.
Most of them have nice decorations, delicious bakery goods, and of course, black gold. The passive chatter is also the perfect background noise to concentrate.
Although, coffee shops don’t work for everyone.
Maybe you can dedicate a room or a space at home and make it a good reading spot. A char in a nice corner of your room with a nice lamp, maybe incent sticks, maybe music.
The use of Music to Read Books Faster
Yes, you heard that right. Probably another counter-intuitive method at first, but hear me out.
I personally used music to read for quite a while, but I used random music. I would only use non-vocal music, or simply google “reading music”. That was somewhat successful but didn’t really make me read faster or longer.
Not long ago I have read a Reddit article somebody posted where he stated that he would use Music that would fit the book he reads. As an example he brought up The Martian and that he used Hans Zimmers Interstellar soundtrack to read the books, tuning him in the right mood for the book.
I had to give it a shot. I’m “struggling” through the Epitome which is Musashi since quite a while now. So I went ahead and searched for “Japanese Music”. And see there, putting in some classical Japanese tunes really set me in the mood of the book and kept me not just reading longer, but surprisingly also faster.
Try to combine this themed music with your environment setting and you made a good leap forward to becoming a faster reader.
I know, I know. Most people “love” how paper feels in their hand and they enjoy physical books so much more…
I was one of those people, thinking about reading a book on my phone is pure blasphemy. Oh boy, was I wrong.
I downloaded the Kindle App to my Mobile Phone because I got some free books from Amazon. First I didn’t like it at all. But once I got used to it and found out that I can read in my bed in darkness while laying on my side, holding my phone with just one hand, I kind of started to like it.
I started seeing it as a tool to read on the go or in dark places, ultimately allowing me to introduce more reading time on a daily basis.
Weirdly, I also found that I can read faster on Digital media than in real books.
Fast forward to today, I probably read 50/50 Print and Digital, whereas I tend to be reading even more Digital in the future.
So, definitely give this a try if you haven’t.
Differentiating between Stuff you need to Read and Stuff you want to Read
I think you should make a clear difference hear. A lot of people recommend “skimming”, so basically skipping over parts that are already familiar to your brain, like someone describing a forest.
Whereas this makes sense for me in a book you use to study something, where somebody is describing a principle you have read about a hundred times before, it doesn’t make much sense for books that I actually want to read for enjoyment.
I want to read those descriptions because they describe the atmosphere and add to the story, for me, at least.
And after we have all of that in Place
We can talk about the already well known tipps on how to read books faster.
I will just list a few that I found most helpful, as mentioned before there are millions of tips out there, some more useful, some not at all.
- Stop saying the words in your head while reading
- Keep your mouth busy (Chewing gum!)
- Keep your mobile phone out of the room
- Use your finger to trace lines
Stop saying words in your head and keeping your mouth busy come together. If you chew gum for example, it’s easier to not say the words in your head while reading.
Unfortuantely we learned in sschool to read out loud. This stuck with us until today. So we still think we have to spell out every word we read in our head, it comes natural.
But you can read much, much faster without saying those words, so really actively work on not saying the words. Keep it in mind at all times and remind yourself to stop saying them. This is the one thing holding you back the most from reading much faster. Always focus on this.
Keeping your mobile phone out of the room, or reach, is also a big one. If your phone is next to you and you permanently see something blinking or flashing, you are permanently distracted. Keep that sucker out of your reach, you can answer later.
Use your fingers to trace lines actually helps to read faster by keeping your eyes focused on the line you are reading. I found this somewhat helpful in not saying words in your head too. If you trace the lines with your finger, you are less likely to accidentally skip a line and have to re-read the whole paragraph.
Although using the finger to trace the lines shouldn’t be used too long, once you get used to following the lines better, you can stop.
Combine all of these and follow those rules for a month and you should see great improvement and actually be able to read books faster. I personally struggled for years with this, because all those well-known tips didn’t really do anything for me.
I think the most important factors for me were creating a comfortable environment and setting actual time aside for reading.
Not saying words in your head anymore comes naturally when you read enough.
I set a goal of reading 12 books this year, so far I’m 7 books in and I’m confident I will manage to hit the goal or even surpass it.
All of that being said, the most important part is that you enjoy the books you read. If you struggle through a book because you think you have to read it just because so many people recommended it, it will not get you anywhere. Reading should be a joyful experience and entertaining.
Let me know in the comments below if those tips helped you, I would love to know!
I am interested in a variety of different fields, if you haven’t heard of fasting yet, check out my article on it too!