How to Read Fast

As a grad student and a teacher, I have a lot of reading to do in any given week. Part of having great time management skills is learning to do things efficiently, so knowing how to read fast is essential.

I love reading for fun. I love curling up on the couch with a good book and savoring every word as it floats through my mind. Unfortunately, we can’t read like this when we have vast amounts of material to get through before a deadline. We have to alter our approach to get through the most information in the least amount of time.

3 Strategies for Reading Efficiently

1) Not Every Word is Important
I’m not suggesting that you sloppily skim over the pages; you just need to quickly filter out what information you need and what you don’t. Think of yourself as a detective looking for important ideas and phrases. Do not get caught up in words and sentences that don’t matter.

2) Read with a Pen
Reading with a pen is far better than reading with a highlighter. When you mark something with a highlighter, all you can do is mark something as “important” but you aren’t able to write why. A pen enables you to jot quick notes to yourself, which keeps you more engaged in whatever you’re reading.

3) Do not Read Where you Sleep
I’m all for being comfortable when you read, but if you take work home with you, don’t take it to bed. You’re far more likely to nod off, lose your focus and have to end up re-reading it anyway. Besides, you should be able to keep at least one area of your home a work-free-zone.

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Photo Credit: Paul on

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