How to Read a Novel Fast

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Reading novels can sometimes take a long time. However, if you find you are in a crunch before that next book club meeting or need to buzz through a novel before your literature exam, learning to speed read novels can have some benefits. Keep in mind that speed reading isn't usually much fun, but with a few pointers and some practice, anyone can get through a novel in no time. Mostly it's about breaking some of the habits we gained when learning to read, such as focusing on each word or taking our time to think about the material as we come across it.

  • Find a comfortable chair and some good lighting. Your eyes will be working hard to speed read through your novel, so remaining comfortable and keeping your reading area well lit is important.

  • Choose a time to read when you won't be interrupted. It's much easier to speed read when you do it all in one, uninterrupted block. If you are constantly interrupted, you will waste time finding your place and re-reading material to find where you left off. Similarly, find a reading area that is free of distractions such as a computer or television. The fewer distractions present, the faster your novel reading will go.

  • Avoid reading during a time when you are tired or groggy. Try to pick out a time when you are most alert. You will need to concentrate to absorb a lot of material in a short amount of time.

  • Create a specific reading goal. It's easier to pick up on content directly related to a goal than trying to take in all aspects of a novel while speed reading. If you are looking for a simple plot line or a particular character development, try to reflect on that before reading the novel to get yourself into the right frame of mind.

  • Use sticky notes or flags to identify any important areas you want to return to or think about later. Use your reading time to read as much as possible. Work out everything else, including revisiting important passages, afterward.

  • Get rid of your "Readers Voice," or the voice you "hear" pronouncing each of the words in your head when you're reading. This voice will slow you down. Instead, simply try to process the words for what they are: information. Avoid using your mouth to form the words you're reading for the same reason.

  • Read words in groups, not as individual entities. You will be surprised that your brain can process groups of words if you deliberately attempt to do so. Start with small groups of words (two or three) and work your way up to larger groupings. Holding the book a little farther from your face may help your eyes pick up bigger groups of words at one time.

  • Use a device such as a note card or your hand to help push your reading speed. Steadily draw your hand or the note card down the page, covering the text you've already read. Try to read as many words as possible while trying to stay ahead of the hand or note card. You will force your brain and eyes to keep pace.

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