Many people learn how to read by sounding out words and hearing them in their head. This works well for learning words but not for reading faster. Once you have a solid sight vocabulary, you do not need to read every word.
Pure subvocalization, also know as mental whispering or hearing all the words in your head as you read, slows down your reading speed. An average untrained reader has an average reading speed of 250 words per minute; however, mental whisperers average only 100 to 150 words per minute. We CANNOT GET RID OF this talking but we CAN REDUCE it.
While subvocalization is useful when reading things like poetry or plays or while studying or memorizing, it slows you down with your other reading.
Try these 10 ways to REDUCE the talking in your head:
1. Catch yourself doing it!
2. Read faster (you can’t talk as much this way)
3. Put your index fingers to your lips
4. Read key words (3 letters or longer)
5. Mumble or Hum
6. Use your hand or card to speed you up
7. Put toothpaste (or other strange flavor) on your lips
8. Gently bite your tongue
9. Chew gum
10. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth
It is important to try each method for a reasonable period of time in order to evaluate their effectiveness at reducing your talking.
Looking for more ideas on how to be a faster and more effective reader? Check out the Reading Smart Workshop – it is filled with exercises and tips to increase your reading speed and comprehension.
Reading Smart Instructor
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to http://www.thecorporateeducator.com/.