JD Students Reading Study Skills

Learning to Speed Read

If you are under time pressure, or just want an overview of the case, speed reading can be a great way to approach the first read-through of a case. Bear in mind, however, that speed reading will significantly reduce your reading comprehension. If you choose to speed read a case or article, always make sure that you read it again later.

In essence, speed reading simply requires you to stop vocalising words as you read. Most readers are unable to read faster than they are able to talk, as they never truly give up the habit of reading aloud. For most people, this simply means that they say each word in their head as they see it on the page. Speed readers do not vocalise, and are thus able to read many times faster than others. The simplest way to begin to speed read is to try to read faster than you normally would be able to – move your finger along the page as you read – try to do it slightly faster than you think you are able to, and assess your understanding of the text at the end to ensure that you aren’t missing too much.

Another useful technique is to try to read ‘chunks’ of 3-5 words at a time. Try to ‘bounce’ your eyes across the page, taking in chunks of text in each glance.

If you continue to vocalise as you read (it can be hard to give up!), chewing gum or counting to 10 repeatedly as you read can be helpful.

Speed Reading Apps

  • Readsy allows you to view web pages or upload pdfs and read them at a speed of your choosing. If you are serious about learning to speed read, apps like this are one of the easiest ways to increase your reading speed.
  • Spreeder is a free web app that allows you to paste text into a box and then plays it back to you. It is useful for practicing and developing your speed reading ability
  • Spritz offers a range of apps for Chrome, Android and iPhone.
  • Squirt is a bookmarklet which allows you to easily speed-read web pages.
  • This website features a list of many of the speed-reading apps available