After checking out this article, the intention is not for you or your child to read a book each day for a month, which some people claim is possible. However, there are some tricks and tips here which will help you read more books in less time.
But, Why Should We Try to Read Faster Anyway?
Reading speed helps children with their comprehension and subjects them to new words, and thus, they gain a wider vocabulary.
Learning to read faster can also:
- Improve memory skills
- Help them retain more knowledge
- Improve focus and concentration
Why Do Some People Read Slow?
Adults and children may read slowly, which is completely fine if you want to enjoy a novel or story at your own speed. Nevertheless, there are benefits to fast reading. And the reasons above will help your child develop.The main reason why people read slowly is because of a common thing we all do called subvocalization. This is when we say the words to ourselves in our head while we read them from the page or screen.
So, How to Read Faster…
One way of reading faster is cutting out subvocalization is by catching yourself reading the words to yourself and trying to mitigate the number of times that happens.
There are other ways too, such as using one of the many tools that that can train you to read faster, also known as Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP). The best tools available right now include:
- SuperBrain – an online course claiming to increase reading speed by up to three times your child’s current speed. They offer a taster session for free too!
- Spreeder – this is a product that works like a game to help your child increase their reading speed, but they also offer courses too!
- AccelaReader – a tool where your child adds their text to the product and tries to read in time with the technology. If they struggle the speed can be adapted for gradual improvements.
Other Ways to Prepare for Exams
At 11 Plus Success, reading faster is one way of making the most of exam time and developing English skills. There are many other ways to prepare for the exam, many of which are discussed and free to access on our blog.
You may also be interested in our online 11 plus course which is already proven to get results for children and their parents!
How Chewing Gum Will Improve Reading Speed
In our recent post, we discussed reading speed and how saying the words to ourselves slows us down, technically known as subvocalization.
Sorry, What Is Subvocalization Again?
Subvocalization is where we say the words to ourselves in our head (not out loud) while we read. It means that our reading speed is limited by the speed at which we can speak the words.
It is estimated that subvocalization can slow reading speed down considerably, and up to as many as 150-250 words each minute. This means your child may be half a page slower at reading than other children hoping for a grammar school place because of subvocalization.
The Best Ways to Reduce Subvocalization
The solution then is to mitigate your child’s subvocalization and increase the time they have to answer questions in the 11 plus exam. Here are some ways that are known to reduce subvocalization and hit the turbo button on reading:
#1: Chewing Gum!
Yes, that’s right! Chewing gum can actually increase reading speed. This works by tricking the brain into thinking the mouth is busy so they cannot say the words. Even though we don’t tend to say the words out loud, by using our mouth while reading it reduces subvocalization.
#2: Use Your Finger
Following the sentence with your finger, and then gradually increasing the speed can help speed up reading. This works because it forces us to keep moving and doesn’t give us a chance to read the words to ourselves at the same time.
#3: Set Reading Challenges
Another technique is to set yourself a reading challenge for your child. You can even do it together for some fun. Making it achievable, but also make sure it is a challenge, so you really do have to read quickly. This will train yourself to forget subvocalization.
#4: Kick Fear to the Kerb
Start to tell yourself that it is okay if you read something and don’t retain every bit of information. Sometimes in an exam your child may need to quickly score points and need to read fast. In these situations, they won't need to know everything only some things to help score points.
Therefore, not understanding everything when reading fast is perfectly okay. Reading fast is a skill that can be utilised by children only when needed. In other times, they may take things slower.
#5: Avoid Re-Reading when Possible
Re-reading text for no good reason is a way to fall back into the habits of subvocalization. Try to teach your child that they only need to read the text once if they already picked out the important information.
Note, this is not the same as only reading the question once in an exam!
More Study and Exam Tips Are Here!
To learn more interesting ways to maximise 11 plus success, keep tabs on our blog. We have already posted a wealth of information from what colour pen to use when studying and much more.
And even more helpful 11 plus content is coming soon – so stay tuned!
Why Subvocalization Is Making Your Child Read Slow
The brain has the capacity to read up to 1000 words each minute, but many of us – young and old – are only able to read around 200 to 250 words per minute. This is because most of us will read at the speed we talk.
This is not really a problem, unless you are preparing for a competitive exam, such as the 11 plus exam.
These figures mean our brains are reading at a speed that is only 25% of our capabilities. So, why are we so lazy at reading, or is something else going on here?
Why Do We Read So Slow?
In fact, the reason we read so slowly compared to what we are capable of is due to something called subvocalization. Scientists consider subvocalization to not be an affliction, but more like a bad habit. It is when we say words to ourselves in our head as we read them. It means our reading speed is hampered by the speed at which we would talk – which is a lot slower.
This habit has been drilled into most of us by teachers in primary schools. They get classrooms of children to say the words out loud as a group when learning to read for the first time. This then develops to saying the words in our head to ourselves.
When our eyes read words, we connect these visual signs to what they mean, but our brain seeks auditory reassurances. Ultimately, we have trained ourselves to be slow readers.
Why It Is Not All Bad News
Saying words to ourselves mentally is not always bad news. It can help us comprehend difficult material, especially when there are terms or words that we have not seen before. The real problem is not subvocalizing itself, but more so, when we should embrace it and when we should try to avoid it.
Nobody can completely eliminate instances of subvocalization, but there are ways that we can mitigate its effects and help young children avoid it for better exam experiences. Learn more about these in our other blog posts!
Want to Know More?
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