How to improve your reading skills

Improving your reading skills can be one of the most important steps you can take in order to enhance your business life as well as your personal life. No matter what reading level you may be at at the present time, you can improve your skills by increasing your reading speed as well as your level of comprehension.

We were taught to read words starting at the left side of the page and proceeding across to the right. As our eyes move across the written page of words, our eyes tend to make short, jumpy movements. Whenever our eyes stop on a word, that is known as fixation. Some people tend to fixate on one word at a time across the page.

This makes for slow, awkward reading. The best way you can improve your reading speed is to fixate on a larger group of words at a time. Learn to avoid fixating on words like a, an, the, or, etc. These words are insignificant and can usually be scanned over without missing the point of the story, essay, article, etc. The larger the group of words you learn to fixate on, the faster your reading speed will become automatically.

Look at this sentence- The moose ran over the hill and jumped over a fallen log. The keywords are moose, ran, over, hill, jumped, over, fallen log. By concentrating on them, you can understand the message of the sentence. The other words- the, over, the, and, a- can be read over quickly without missing the essential information that the sentence has to offer. The point is not to skip over or omit words in your reading, but to concentrate instead on the important words which make up the essential message of the sentence.

Another hindrance to speed in reading is the practice of moving your lips while you read. Moving your lips is simply a way of concentrating on the material that you are reading. It is a negative practice that tends to slow your eye movement down.

Think about it- what can move faster, your lips, or your mouth? You can put an end to this bad habit by consciously making yourself stop moving your lips. As your reading speed increases, you won’t be able to hold onto this bad habit because your eyes will be moving too fast.

Lack of concentration is another typical problem area in reading. You can conquer this problem by practicing to improve your concentration every day. Set a short amount of time, such as ten to fifteen minutes on your kitchen timer. Have your book or other chosen reading material ready, and start reading. Block out any background noises that you may hear. Make a conscious effort and ignore everything else in the room except the material you are reading.

When the timer goes off, immediately stop reading. Now, test yourself by recalling what you have just read. Check back to the text and see how much information you actually remembered. If your recall wasn’t very good, re-read the text and time your self again, then try to recall the information once more. Practice this reading exercise every day and increase your reading time.

Like everything else that is worth doing, practice makes perfect, and the more you read, the better reader you will become!

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