Speed reading

📖 IELTS Reading Tips

⏱ Speed Reading

Did you know that your brain does not process words individually? Instead it processes them in groups of 3 to 5 words together. These are sometimes called ‘chunks’. Unfortunately, many of us are taught at school to read each word individually. Also, when reading in another language we often read and think about the meaning of every word.

The answer to this is to practice reading words in groups.

Let’s look at one of the previous paragraph as an example:

Did you know that /your brain does not process/ words individually? Instead it processes them /in groups of 3 to 5 words together. /These are sometimes called ‘chunks’./ Unfortunately, many of us are /taught at school to read /each word individually/. Also, when reading in/ another language we often/ read and think about /the meaning of words individually.

Try reading the paragraph above, not as individual words but as groups of words. We've added slashes in between groups to help you.

This might seem unnatural at first, but with practice you will be able to do it very naturally and increase your reading speed dramatically.

Try spending 10 to 30 minutes a day reading with this method. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every word, just keep going. Don’t let your eyes rest on one word and don’t worry about words you don’t understand.

Make a note of how many words you can read in 5 minutes and after a week or two you will see a significant improvement.

The other big advantage of this is that you will really improve your grammar and vocabulary because you will notice how words and phrases group together. You will begin to see patterns and collocations and this will help you improve, not just reading, but your overall level of English.