Sometimes it seems impossible to focus on reading. Sometimes you want to read a book and you keep reading the same sentence over and over again but you have no idea what you’re actually reading. In today’s article, I’m going to share my top tips for reading super fast and being able to really focus on what you’re reading. Being focused while reading is very important to understand the material better and it’s a good way to prepare yourself for exams.
So the hack that I use is called the pointer method. I’ve been doing it for years but it’s a real thing. It was invented by Evelyn Nielsen Wood who is widely known for creating a system to increase a reader’s speed (source: Wikipedia). The pointer method basically means that you use a finger or ruler to trace lines of text. When doing this you’ll notice you read much faster and you’re also much more focused on what the book is saying.
You can use a finger, pen or ruler that you put under the line of text that you are reading and that you trace along the line as you are reading. I personally love using a ruler when reading, especially when I am feeling tired or unfocused. You can also use a highlighter to highlight important things when reading. This also helps me to concentrate and focus on the most important parts of the text.
Now it’s time to share some extra tips with you to optimize the effect of the pointer method.
1. Avoid distractions: turn off your phone and laptop and make sure you are in a quite and nice environment to read the book that you want to read. It will be easier to focus on your book when you aren’t getting distracted.
2. Cover the parts of text that you’ve read already with a piece of paper: when reading you don’t really read letter by letter but you kind of recognize groups of words (if that makes sense). The less text there is on a page, the easier it is for you to focus on the text that is on the page. That’s why it can be quite helpful to cover the pieces of text that you have read already. I especially do this when learning new vocabulary in a non-native language. By covering the words I’ve read already, there is less text on the page left so it will be easier for me to focus on the words that are left.
3. Keep testing yourself while reading: when you are reading texts for an exam, it is important to understand what you are reading. If you want to read a text more actively, I can definitely advice you to ask yourself questions that you could expect on an exam as well. Questions as are helpful to ask yourself while reading: what are the criteria for this situation? What is the term of this definition? This forces you to read more concentrated.
4. Start with an easier book! It can be advised to start with a non academic book when you start with the pointer method. It may be a bit difficult at first.
And remember, reading faster and faster takes lots of practice. The more you read, the faster you can read. When reading a novel, I read 50 pages per hour on average. When reading an academic book (my law books), I read 10-20 pages per hour, depending on how difficult the material is. I hope to get faster in the future!
I’ve also made a full video on this topic so if you prefer to watch the video you can find it right here:
I hope you enjoyed this article! If you have more tips on how to read faster, be sure to share them in the comments below! Also let me know which tip is your favorite and let me know what you’d like me to write about next!