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The Secret to Reading Faster: How to Increase Your Words Per Minute (WPM)

words per minute wpm

Reading is a fundamental skill that is the gateway to knowledge. However, time is often the limiting factor. We all know the struggle of books piling up on our bedside table, articles that have been saved for later multiplying, and emails flooding in faster than we can blink. But here’s the catch: what if you could read faster? You’d be able to absorb more information, learn more quickly, and use your time more efficiently. 

Buckle up because we’re about to unveil the secrets to reading faster than ever before! This article explores the secrets to increasing your words per minute (WPM) and reading faster through speed reading techniques.

Reading is not just about seeing words on a page. It’s a complex cognitive process involving visual perception, cognitive comprehension, and mental imagery. Yes, you read that right. It’s not just eye gymnastics but also a mental dance! Your brain recognizes patterns in the letters and words, processes their meaning, and then constructs a mental picture of the content.

Most people read at a speed of about 200-300 words per minute (wpm). Skilled readers can often reach speeds of 400 WPM or more while maintaining comprehension and with the help of this article, you can too! The key to accelerating your reading speed lies in understanding how you read and optimizing each step of the process.

Pre-Reading Strategies

Before diving into a text, employ the following techniques to prepare yourself for efficient reading:


With the help of skimming, you won’t be diving straight into the sea of words but taking a dip first! You need to quickly glance over the material to get a sense of the main ideas, headings, and subheadings as this allows you to form an initial mental framework for the text.

skimming to speed read


Read the introduction and conclusion paragraphs and any summaries or abstracts available. This will give you an overview of the content and help you identify the author’s main points.

Chunking: The Key to Faster Reading

One way to increase reading speed is through “chunking,” which involves perceiving and processing multiple words at once. Most of us were taught to read one word at a time, which is a slow and inefficient method. You can significantly improve your reading speed or words per minute by grouping words into meaningful chunks. 

A simple way to practice chunking is to read a sentence and then try to repeat it without looking. You’ll find that it’s easier to remember the sentence as a whole rather than individual words. Over time, this exercise will help your brain become accustomed to chunking and enhance your reading speed.

chunking to read faster

Minimizing Subvocalization

Have you ever caught yourself silently pronouncing each word in your head? That’s Subvocalization, the roadblock to speed reading. This practice can significantly slow down your reading speed because it limits you to the pace at which you can speak. But, fear not! By minimizing subvocalization, you can enhance your reading speed.

Breaking this habit can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use. One such trick is to push yourself to read faster than you can speak consciously. Over time, your brain will adjust to this new speed. You can also use your finger to guide your reading, which can reduce subvocalization by providing a visual guide.

minimize subvocalisation

Improving Eye Movement

Improving eye movement is another key component to faster reading. Our eyes aren’t smooth operators; they jump around in tiny bursts called saccades. Each time they stop, your brain processes the words seen during that fixation.

You can significantly increase your reading speed and smoothen the ride by training your eyes to make fewer fixations and to see more words during each fixation. This technique is often called “widening your eye span.” It can greatly help you increase your words per minute (wpm). 

A practical way to improve eye movement is using a pointer or finger to guide your eyes as you read. This technique, known as pacer reading, can help increase your reading speed by reducing regressions (unnecessary backward glances) and increasing the number of words processed during each eye fixation. Therefore, words per minute (wpm) increases when words are processed quicker.

Maintaining Comprehension

Now comes the million-dollar question: Can you understand what you read at warp speed? One common concern with speed reading is that while you might read faster, you might not understand or remember what you read. However, studies have shown that, with practice, speed readers can maintain or even improve their comprehension levels. Thereby maintaining both words per minute(wpm) and comprehension. 

maintain comprehension




In fact, Howard Berg, Guinness World Record holder for speed reading, follows these strategies to the core! Did you know that his exceptional record is reading 25,000 words per minute? Can you imagine? If you want to learn to read faster who better than to teach you than the world record holder himself? Check out his speed reading genius program.  


 Engaging in active reading is important to maintain comprehension while speed reading. Keep these three words in mind: Question, Summarize, and Visualize. This means questioning what you’re reading, summarizing the content in your own words, and visualizing the information. This deep engagement with the text will help you understand and remember what you’ve read, even as you increase your reading speed. It’s like having a conversation with the book you’re reading!

The Power of Practice

Like any superhero learning a new skill, speed reading takes practice. It’s essential to practice the techniques discussed above regularly and to push your reading speed gradually if you want to improve your words per minute (wpm). Start slow with the easy stuff, and work your way up. It’s true that you won’t go from zero to Flash in a day, but practice makes progress!

read faster


Reading is like a muscle; we’re here to pump it up! It is a fundamental skill, but some people may find their current reading speed slower than desired. Even the average reader often has the potential to become one of the fastest readers with the right guidance.  

A few bad reading habits, such as vocalization, where we hear an inner voice while reading, or failing to engage with the reading material properly, can limit reading speed. Chunking aids in transforming a slow reader into a speedy one by encouraging the brain to process groups of words, or chunks, rather than individual words. Another helpful tip involves controlling the eyes’ movement, or saccade, across the page to allow for a smooth, flowing text comprehension experience.

These speed reading techniques are a game changer for those seeking to enhance their reading abilities or words per minute(wpm). Ditch those bad reading habits, embrace chunking, guide those eyes, and watch your reading speed skyrocket! Adopting these habits and practicing smart reading strategies can significantly improve both normal reading speed and reading comprehension.

Ready to unleash the speed reader within? Try these tips, embrace the chaos of fast-paced words, and soon, you’ll leave your reading list in the dust. Happy reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average reading speed for adults?

The average reading speed for adults is typically around 200-300 words per minute (wpm), give or take a speed bump.

Can anyone learn to speed read?

Absolutely! While some people may naturally read faster than others, anyone can improve their reading speed with the right techniques and consistent practice. It’s not about being born with speed-reading genes; it’s about training those reading muscles. Just remember, the goal is not just speed but also maintaining comprehension.

 How much can I expect to increase my reading speed?

 This can vary greatly from person to person. It could be a steady climb or maybe even a double shot! Some people might double their reading speed, while others could see an increase of 10-20%. The key is consistency and regular practice. Over time, you’ll find a speed that allows you to read quickly while still understanding the material.

How long does it take to see improvements in reading speed?

Most people begin to see some improvement after a few weeks of consistent practice. However, significant improvements often require several months of practice. It’s like they say: it takes a few weeks to develop the taste, but several months for the full meal deal. It’s important to be patient and to keep practicing regularly if you want to watch the magic happen.

How do I maintain comprehension while speed reading?

Engaging in active reading is crucial. Question what you’re reading, summarize the content in your own words, and visualize the information. These practices will help you understand and remember what you’ve read. Also, regularly take breaks to avoid cognitive fatigue and maintain high comprehension levels.

Can I speed-read everything?

While speed reading can be helpful for many texts, it’s not always the best approach. While you can speed read almost everything, some texts are like a fine wine- better savored slowly. You may need to read more slowly to grasp the content of complex or dense material, such as scientific papers, philosophical works, or poetry. Similarly, if you’re reading for pleasure, you might prefer to take your time to enjoy the language and narrative.

How can I measure my reading speed?

One simple method is to time yourself reading a page or a set number of words, then calculate your words per minute (wpm) rate. There are also online tools and apps available that can help you measure and track your reading speed over time.


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