It all started during Walk the Dragon program, when I found it difficult to read the book recommendations given by sSwamiji every week. 

I started researching for techniques on how to read faster. I would like to share one simple technique that has improved my reading speed. 

First, let’s understand this:

How does eye move while reading? 

Most people think their eyes moves like this while reading:

Read faster, understand better 1

That’s not correct.

Eyes have to pause on words to see them clearly. Which means, the eye movement is in series of jumps and stops. Something like this:

Read faster, understand better 2

This is called Eye Fixation. 

So how can this understanding improve our reading speed? 

Most people read just one word per fixation. But, by practice you can read 6 words per fixation. 

Read the above line again. 👆👆

We can read 6 words per fixation and make 4 fixations per second. This equals to 24 words per second or 1440 words per minute! 

OK, but how to read 6 words per fixation? 

By improving your peripheral vision. Peripheral vision, also called the indirect vision, is vision as it occurs outside the point of fixation, i.e. away from the center of gaze or in the corner of one’s eye.

Here’s a simple exercise to understand how peripheral vision works. Try reading all the words in lines marked 1 and 2 in a single glance, by looking at the blank space in between those lines.(Do NOT look at the words directly ) 

 1                     If you are 

 2               able to read this

 1                   By looking at

 2             the space in between

 1             you now understand 

 2                 the concept of

 1               peripheral vision. 

 2                 Now apply this

 1             concept while reading

 2                     Try reading 

 1                  your magazines

 2              or newspaper colums

 1                by just one glance

 2                    on each line. 

 1                This will improve

 2               your concentration. 

From now on, while reading a post on os.me, try reading a complete line in one glance, by focusing on the word in middle and let your peripheral vision do the magic. If you are reading a book, maybe two glances per line. 

Be mindful while reading. The goal is not only to read faster but also to understand what you read. 

Having said that, reading faster should increase your understanding capacity, because you are not just reading a single word but rather meaningful concepts. Also mind needs to process a lot of information, giving it no time to get distracted. This improves your concentration.

The more you practice, the more your peripheral vision improves. And since reading is something one does throughout life, by mastering this technique you will be rewarding yourself for a lifetime. 

Thank you. 🙏

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Shashank Sharma

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