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Speed Reading Lesson #02: Three Old Reading Habits That Slows Your Reading Speed

Hey, Guys welcome back to this Speed Reading Learning Series.

In this lesson, we are talking about the Three Old old reading habits that are slowing you down. Lets talk about these Habits in Detail.

#01 Fixation

To understand Fixation we need to go back in time, when we started learning reading. The method which was taught to us is to go word by word which means we need to fix our eyes in every word.

The reason for Fixation: We had to fixate on each word because we had to break it down syllable by syllable and it was absolutely necessary because we were learning. But eventually, as we become fluent in any language, we don’t have to follow the rule of fixation because now we are fully capable of reading groups of words. And the fact is we Actually already read groups of words sometimes without realizing it.

Related: Measure your Reading Speed

For example, while driving a car and see a sign that says “School Ahead.” Now just think about how your eyes would react. First of all, your focus was on road and eyes are fixated on the road. But as you come closer to the sign, with one fixation on the sign your eyes will read those words without any problem in one fixation. However, if those same words were in the middle of some paragraph, most people would fixate on every word and that’s an old reading habit we need to change if we’re going to start reading faster. 

As we move along in these series of articles, we’ll discuss a number of techniques and exercises which will help you to read groups of words more effectively.

#02 Regression

The second old reading habit we need to change is called regression. Regression is the most common habit which slows us down because we all have done this thing at some point in time and that is going back to re-read the material.

Let me share an incident when I was preparing for my finals and I had a whole page of text and then I stopped to think to myself, “I have no clue what I just read.” And believe me, all of us have had this happen to us and we are very much aware that it’s an issue with concentration.

Reasons for Regression:

Sometimes our mind starts wandering off while reading especially if the material is dry and out of your interest. So in these series of Articles, we’ll work on helping you improve your focus so you don’t go back to re-read as much as you currently do

#03 Subvocalization

 Subvocalization is again one of the old reading habits that slow us down the most. Subvocalization can simply be defined as the voice you hear in your head while you’re reading. But hearing voices in your head doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It’s your voice after all, but this habit of subvocalization is common among all readers. You’ve probably noticed yourself saying each and every word in your head as you read through your material but there’s a reason we need to change this habit.

So the question which we need to answer is, “Do I have to say a word “in my head to understand what it means?” and the answer is no.  You don’t have to say a word in your head to know what it means. 

For example, when you’re driving a car and you see a stop sign, do you say “stop” in your head? Probably not. You don’t have to say the word “stop” in your head to know what the word means. But if the word “stop” was in the middle of some paragraph you were reading, you probably would say “stop” in your head and that’s part of the issue with subvocalization.

The main reason we need to change this old reading habit is because it slows us down. Think about it. If you’re saying every word in your head, doesn’t that mean you’ll only read as fast as you talk? And there’s a limit to how fast you can talk.

The average reading speed is 150 to 250 words a minute. Guess what the average talking speed is? It turns out it’s exactly the same, 150 to 250 words a minute. Why is the average reading speed the same as the average talking speed? It’s because of this habit subvocalization. If you say every word in your head while reading, then you’ll only read as fast as you talk, and that’s a problem. Subvocalization limits our reading speed. But I want you to know that you’re fully capable of reading faster than you can talk because you can think a lot faster than you can talk.

So as we go along through this course, we’ll do a number of exercises that will help you change this habit along with the others. To recap, the three old reading habits we need to change are:

  • Fixation, we need to be able to read groups of words;
  • Regression, we wanna improve our concentration so we don’t go back to re-read as much; and
  • Subvocalization, we don’t wanna say every word in our head because that limits our reading speed.


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