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How to improve speed reading skills in your school kid

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

Reading and understanding fast is an essential skill for students. Here are a few methods to conquer it.

Speed reading is the process of rapidly recognizing and absorbing phrases or sentences, rather than identifying and going word by word.

Some kids can read really quickly while others take much longer. Comprehending and retaining what they read varies even more. How can you lead them towards reading faster, while actually retaining and fully comprehending what they are reading? Explore speed reading with us.  

What is speed reading? 
Speed reading is the process of rapidly recognizing and absorbing phrases or sentences, rather than identifying and going word by word. Emphasis is laid on both speed and comprehension. Most people have an average reading speed of 250 words per minute, though some are naturally quicker than others. The ability to speed read means being able to double this rate, if not go even faster. People also tend to forget what they have read. Successful speed readers also have better retention than others.  

How does speed reading work?  
Speed-reading works through various techniques, all having one thing in common: the reader avoids pronouncing and hearing each word silently while reading, which is a process scientists call sub-vocalization. Instead, the reader skims through lines or groups of words, as chunks of information.   

To stop your kids from sub-vocalizing, get them focus on blocks of words rather than individual ones. Get them to try and glance at the page or screen as a whole, so that they concentrate less on seeing distinct words. Ask them what they read once they are done to check if they actually moved through the pages because that still remains important.  

What are some methods of speed reading?  
Here are some common speed-reading methods to get your kids practicing:  

Pointer method: They place a finger, usually the index under a line and glide it along, getting the eyes to follow what is being pointed out. Some instructors achieve this by holding a scale or card under the lines.  

Tracker-and-pacer method: Here a pen replaces the finger, tracing an unseen line under the sentences that they eyes follow. It’s best not to encourage kids to actually underline books and damage them though.  

Scanning or Previewing method: Scanning works better with older kids above 13, where they move their eyes quickly across a page, often through the centre, picking up key information.