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How to improve speed reading to get better grades

When reading homework piles up and there is little time to read all of it, increasing your reading speed can help with school materials. Speed-reading is used widely in academic schools to help students get better grades and improve reading comprehension. But how can students struggling with schoolwork master this study skill?

Whether it is science or math, accelerating your reading comprehension can increase your understanding of extensive chapters or workbooks. Applying these simple methods of concentration, determination, and consistency, can help students in school.

1.  Use fingers or pen to scan the text for particular keywords

In fact, many textbooks already may have list of important concepts to know, either at the end of the chapter or part of the exercise section. Write these down and have them handy when you read the chapter. Avoid using highlighter as you read. They tend to interfere with your concentration.

2.  Make questions based on title, subtitles and headings

When reading long chapters or heavy amounts of text, it is best to review the content before starting to read it. And formulate questions about the content. Many chapters are written based on an outline. Use it to your advantage to pose questions as you’re reading.

3.  Use sub-vocalization and skip over simple words

When we read to ourselves, we read just the words of interest. For instance, simple words like ‘the, a, an, but, for’ and other sight words are easily glanced through by our brains. So, only focus on the main phrases or specific words.

courtesy of iStockphoto

4.  Avoid regression and concentrate

The old saying: ‘Silence is golden’ is certainly true in this case. The more concentrated you are as you speed-read, the better improvement in your reading comprehension.

  • Avoid cell phone interruptions, set it to silent or put it aside as you study.
  • Avoid loud noises like television or music.
  • Avoid listening to music with your iPod or other device. If you’re reading the text on your computer, iPad, Kindle or other electronic device, simply turn off any distractions momentarily.

5.  Incorporate good eye coordination for better reading

Whether you need eye correction or not, your eyes are the passage to your understanding. As many sportspeople use blinders on horses’ eyes to keep them from distractions and to focus on the path ahead, the same principle is applied to when reading the text. Your eyes need to be focused and determined on the material and no other disruptions should take place. Practice makes perfect. Get your eyes used to scanning the text even before starting speed-reading.

Of course, speed-reading, as a study skill, is not for every student. Like all study skills, it takes time and practice to master it. So don’t give up if it doesn’t work for you the first few chapters. As a final tip, a fresh mind learns better without distractions, daydreaming, and interruptions.

Do you use speed-reading in your study time?

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.


  1. Yissele on at

    I like the speed-reading! Thanks for the tips!


    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      Glad you liked the tips.

  2. NICE Post

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      Thanks 🙂

  3. Uchi on at

    Gracias por tu post ! muy interesante !

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      Me alegra de que te guste el post.

  4. Cristina on at

    Me viene muy bien este articulo, ya que estoy en el proceso de ense~narle a leer a mi hija. De momento vamos muy bien!

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      Que lindo que le ense~nas a leer.

  5. Wow!! Esos son muy buenos tips! En realidad necesito aplicar unos cuantos, sobre todo cuando leo en inglés.

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      Espero que te sean utiles cuando leas.

  6. Ely Aguilera on at

    Hola Barbara, gracias por este excelente post, mi hija esta en segundo grado, asi que imaginate, me cae perfecto ya que en estos momentos es en lo que estamos trabajando con mi hija, ya que lee muy bien pero un poco lento, asi que voy a poner en cuenta tus tips par ayudarla a leer mas rapido y mejor.

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      En realidad, este metodo es mas adecuado para los estudiantes universitarios. Pero me alegra que le lees a tu nena.

  7. Siempre son interesantísimos tus tips. Más ahora que los padres se vuelven locos con tantas asignaciones, es un reto hacer del estudio un placer, como debe ser para los niños.

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      La literatura siempre es una buena parte de la educacion de los chicos.

  8. Coolchillmom on at

    Will be saving lots if time with your tips

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      I hope that you can find them useful.

  9. Teresa Garza on at

    Este método me parece muy interesante y útil. En alguna ocasión un maestro de inglés hace mucho tiempo, nos hablo sobre este sistema. A mi me ha ayudado mucho en cualquiera de los dos idiomas… Como siempre me encantó la info.

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      La verdad, que lo podes aplicar a cualquier lenguaje o literatura.

  10. Sounds like some great tips. My kids are much younger but am book marking this for in a few years!

    • Barbara Mascareno on at

      So glad to read you can find these tips useful. You can also apply these tips for future reference.

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