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3 Secret Techniques to Improve Your Reading Speed

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Summary: Speed reading may seem like a superhuman trait. But it’s a skill you can master using these 3 techniques, says Mindvalley’s #1 brain performance coach.

Whether we realize it or not, we read all the time — flipping through a book, browsing an email, reading subtitles while watching your favorite Netflix show, or even glancing over those pop-up texts on TikTok.

But reading text after text after text can be quite time-consuming, mentally exhausting, and not to mention, hard on your eyes.

The good news is you can read faster while still comprehending what you read, explains Mindvalley’s #1 brain performance coach, Jim Kwik. Check out his three secret techniques for super reading.

#1: Read Faster

Stretch yourself. No, not ‘stretch’ your muscle’s elasticity for flexibility. We mean ‘stretch’ by allowing yourself to grow beyond the limits of what you already know, a.k.a get out of your comfort zone.

Jim’s tip is to read faster than you normally do. An average person reads anywhere between 150 to 200 words per minute, as opposed to a super reader whose speeds are about 400 words per minute and above.

When you pick up your pace, your mind looks for shortcuts. It cuts out filler words, like “and”, “there”, “because”, and so on. “You’re not reading for the word,” Jim says. “You’re reading for the idea.”

So, stretch yourself, practice reading quicker, and your brain will intuitively get more efficient at reading.

Woman listening to music while reading a book

#2: Listen to Music

While personal growth, at times, encourages you to listen to your inner voice, this is one time when you shouldn’t.

When you read, the voice in your mind reads along with you. It’s what Jim calls ‘subvocalization.’ For example, when you read the word ‘university,’ your inner voice will say it — yoo-nee-ver-see-tee. But in order for you to understand what it means, does it need to be spoken? No, it doesn’t.

It’s like when you see a stop sign on the road. More than likely, you don’t say to yourself “stop” every single time, but your mind understands what the four-letter words mean. 

So, for you to read faster, why is it important to shut down your inner voice?

If you have to say the words inside your mind in order to understand what you’re reading, you can only read as fast as you can speak.”

Subvocalization allows you to read at the speed you talk, not the speed you think.

So, listening to the sound of the music while reading helps drown out your internal voice. And Jim suggests finding music that resonates with you, preferably those without lyrics.

His personal go-to choice when reading is baroque (think George Frideric Handel or Johann Sebastian Bach). And with good reason.

This type of classical music helps activate your alpha brain waves, which is the ideal state to learn in. Research shows that this type of classical music, especially, has a positive influence on improving your learning efficiency.

#3: Replace the Habit

When you read, do you move your lips or read under your breath? Well, it’s time to switch up that habit.

In order for you to disengage this habit of speaking while you’re reading, you have to give your mouth something else to do while you’re reading.” Jim suggests the following to interrupt your current reading patterns:

  • Hum. You can’t talk and hum at the same time (unless maybe you’re a ventriloquist). The resonance will prevent you from doing so.
  • Chew gum. Who knew that chewing Wrigley’s Doublemint can help your brain? Some studies have shown that it can improve some aspects of your memory, particularly immediate and delayed word recall.
  • Eye fixation. The fewer times your eyes come to rest on a page, the more efficient you can read and the higher you comprehend.

In the beginning, a lot of these practices will be distracting because you don’t normally do that while you read.” However, as you keep practicing this technique, it will override your brain’s nature to read back the words in your head and instead, pay more attention to what you’re reading in front of you.

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Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Picture of Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.

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