30 days of Reading | How I boost my reading speed score from 172 WPM to 242 WPM

This 2020, I embarked on a self-development journey. I commit to developing 12 habits for 30 days each. 

For the month of June, I read for at least 30 minutes every day.


Quick information about me, I am not a good reader. I am slow and my reading comprehension is quite poor. 

I hate watching non-English or non-Tagalog films because I don’t like reading subtitles. I do not read in front of an audience because I am a slow reader. I also don’t read novels because I don’t understand them. I prefer summaries, bullet points, and audios instead. 

By pursuing this habit, I am kind of hitting two birds in one stone: I am developing a good habit and I am improving my weakness.

Before I start with my journey, I did my research on how best to develop a habit for reading. It is advised to set aside time for reading, locating a reading spot, and finding the perfect book.

I’ve been reflecting for the past couple of months and I became more aware that I’ve not handled all my dealings well. I have not been kind to others and to my self. So, when I was looking for a book, it was just natural to look for a self-development book. Then I had an intervention to read the Bible. 

I am not a religious person, so the Bible is not really something I would think of reading, but where else would you learn the greatest lessons on love, forgiveness, and kindness?

I decided to read the Bible for at least 30 minutes before I start with my day and I would read it beside the coffee table. This way, I will not doze off.

Now that those points are sorted out, I researched on ways to improve my reading skills. The thing is, if you are not good at doing something, say reading, you’re more likely to avoid reading.

Since reading is my waterloo, I need to improve on it so I could build the habit. I have two issues to tackle: reading speed and reading comprehension.

In the Elevate app, there’s a Study portion where you can see tips on how to improve a certain skill. There’s a segment for speed reading. 

1. Eliminate subvocal

Subvocalization is when you silently say the words to yourself as you read them. Once eliminated, you can double your reading speed.

To overcome subvocalization, hum while you read. This helps you read without mouthing words. Also, try counting from 1 to 10 to break the habit of speaking the words in your head. Mentally saying the words also slow down your reading.

2. Read words in groups

When we read, we normally focus on every single word so we could understand the context. As a result, we had to pause multiple times which slows down our reading speed.

With sentence grouping, you’re taking more words at a time without moving your eyes. This aids in increasing your reason speed by eliminating pauses after every word. 

As for reading comprehension, I studied Jim Kwik’s 3 Rs to boosting your reading comprehension. 

First is that you need to Read, since you cannot understand what you haven’t read. Next would be to Relate what you read to someone else. Lastly, wRite about what you read because writing notes is the best way to retain information.

During week 1, I found eliminating subvocal difficult. I would murmur words as I read them, I get confused if I count numbers on my head while reading and my reading comprehension is below average. I was efficient in reading. In some verses, I had to read more than twice so I could understand what it really meant. After every session, I would summarize what I read to check on my comprehension. 

 

In week 2, I am getting used to not mouthing the words, yet I am still not comfortable counting mentally. I am really taking my time reading because I don’t want to misinterpret the Bible. Aside from summarizing, I also write my takeaways after sessions.

I noticed that I’m reading more pages in week 3. I am seeing improvement in my reading comprehension and speed. I’ve grown accustomed to grouping words as compared to the previous weeks. 

Week 4, I am not dreading reading anymore. I really feel that my reading skill and comprehension has improved.

At the beginning of this challenge, my reading score is 172 words per minute (WPM). After 30 days, it’s at 242 words per minute. I used the Elevate app speed diagnostics. 


Summary

To develop a habit for reading, you need to:
  • Set time for your reading
  • Locate your reading spot
  • Find the perfect book
To improve your reading speed
  • Eliminate subvocal
  • Read words in groups
To develop your reading comprehension
  • Practice Jim Kwik’s 3Rs to boosting your reading comprehension: Read, Relate and Rite

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