One thing you learn quickly when speed reading is that not everything needs to be read. Learning how to pre-read or get the general gist of the material you’ll be reading before you begin your speed read is an essential part of not only increasing your reading speed but also your comprehension.
When you’re reading you’ll notice that certain things jump out at you. That is, when you’re reading a book, or an article, or something else, there are concepts, or key ideas, and specific details that will stand out to you. Usually, the writer intends for these concepts to stand out. You might think when you speed read that you will miss these important concepts, but if you learn to do a quick pre-read, you’re less likely to miss these important concepts and ideas.
Some argue that learning to pre-read is not a necessary component of speed reading. While you could certainly ignore this important step, we believe that learning to do a quick pre-read before you speed read a passage is an essential component to making sure that your comprehension is as high as it should be.
Follow these tips to do your pre-read:
- Before you begin reading a passage or chapter of a book, consider what the material is about.
- Now quickly skim the document you’re reading for important concepts, key ideas, and specific words you should make note of. Depending on what you’re reading, some of these key ideas or specific concepts might be bulleted, highlighted, or bolded. Pay attention to anything that is highlighted for you in this manner.
- The reality is there is a lot of filler in the things we read, and learning to identify what is filler and what is essential is an important part of pre-reading. When you go through your document and pay attention to these key concepts and highlighted words or ideas, you’re learning to separate, literally, the wheat from the chaff when it comes to reading.
- When you’re first learning to speed read, the best method is to do this quick overall read and then read through your document quickly, slowing down when you see these important concepts, ideas, or words appear. Once you become a more in-depth speed reader, you’ll learn to continue speeding over these key concepts and ideas while still comprehending them well.
- Now that you understand one concept of pre-reading, try it out while using one of the online reading speed testers. Before you begin your test take 5 seconds to run your eyes over the document making note of any repeated words, specific content ideas, or important words.
- Take the speed reading test. Did your speed increase? If your speed didn’t increase do you feel your comprehension level increased from the last time you tested yourself?