Each of us, even those who were used to be avid readers, start struggling with finding time and commitment to start the next book. At some point in life, you start feeling overwhelmed with work or study tasks, and reading suddenly seems like a waste of time. After all, you need to simply focus on letters, there is no possibility to multitask and do something actually useful.
Luckily, with ebooks, a lot of these struggles are easily solved. You can read during a commute, in a line, during a lunch break. Books can be taken with you anytime and anywhere. However, mastering fast reading from a computer or phone screen is a skill.
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We collected five practical tips that will speed up your reading process and free your time up for the next one. Some of those are applicable to printed books as well while others are dedicated to making the most out of your reading software.
Apply essential fast-reading methods
Even though ebooks are getting increasingly popular for more than 10 years now, there is still this strange gap that separates regular reading from ebooks. Somehow, ebooks are treated as ‘less of a book’, and that’s also perhaps why readers forget to apply essential reading tips. Well, we are here to remind you.
When you are reading from software, maintaining focus is harder than with a paper version. You don’t see the full version of the paper, only a particular section of the page. It keeps you disoriented and restores the bigger picture.
To maintain focus, the natural reaction is to begin silently pronounce words in your head with an attempt to hold your attention. However, this practice actually distracts you from the actual meaning. You start focusing on vocalizing, intonation, pronunciation, and the meaning itself becomes cloudy. Also, it really slows you down – now to read an average sentence, you’ll need at least 2-3 seconds.
Focus on sentences, not particular words
Your task is not to remember a particular word usage. By paying attention to a word as the main message carrier rather than treating as a mean of expressing a message, you are clouding the actual sense. This practice is also very time consuming because remarking individual words also takes a while.
Alright, you can re-read a favorite quote a couple of times, if you really enjoy the way it sounds. But if your goal is to understand the bigger picture as quickly as possible, you’ll be only holding yourself back. When focusing too much on particular text fragments, you will forget what came before that. In a way, you are creating a black hole which will consume the general understanding of the book.
Take the most out of your reading software
Your reading tool is supposed to help you focus, rather than distracting from it. This, however, is only possible if you take some time to explore settings and customization parameters.
Perhaps, you are already familiar with the basic features of your tool, such as adjusting the font’s size, changing the background color, and bookmarking favorite quotes. If you are using Adobe Acrobat Reader or Kindle, or other popular readers, chances are, you have access to several additional features.
- Use a black background theme when reading in the dark. Some tools call it a night reading mode while others require manual customization. By switching your background to dark colors and letters – to white, you are minimizing the strain on the eyesight. This will also keep your focus sharper and reduce reading fatigue
- Use darker backgrounds when you are reading in public. If the sight of other people, peeking at your screen, slows you down, use the night mode, too. It will be harder for others to pick up on contents now.
- Increase the speed of the page-turn animation. Even if you don’t notice it, page turn takes actually a significant portion of your reading time. Each time you turn the page, the program takes its time for animation and text load. Luckily, you most often can increase the page turning speed, fully removing the animation.
- Make sure to have several books downloaded, just in case. The fastest shortcut is to upload several titles from a built-in library. Sometimes, the file can crash, and you cannot always restore it immediately. This may not be too big of a deal but if you are on the airplane, sitting with no action will be very annoying.
- Avoid uncustomized mobile versions. Sometimes, when you try to access the book in a vertical format, the tool starts cutting words and phrases. This makes reading comprehension slower and generally worse. Make sure that your reading tool doesn’t tear apart words and sentences.
- Always bookmark. Usually, reading tools have no problem remembering the exact spot where you left off. However, if your PC is overloaded, the software can crash at any given moment. When this happens, you’ll have to search for the needed chapter manually. This is annoying and time-consuming. Plus, bookmarking takes less than a second – it’s really a fair trade.
Being a fast reader has a lot of privileges. You are able to finish books faster and start new ones. Also, it keeps you interested- dragging one book for months does a huge disservice to your engagement.
Most importantly, exercising fast reading skills improve your imagination and reasoning. Your brain is processing the data on higher-than-average speed – as a result, you develop cognitive abilities.
Luckily, ebook reading software is adapted to the needs of fast readers. You can choose a comfortable background, put on a night mode, minimize the page turning time, and use fast autoscrolling features. The system of bookmarks and text search spare you the trouble of finding the necessary text fragment.
There is only one ‘but’ here. To benefit from these features to the fullest extent, you need to take your time to study the functionality of the software. Go to the tool’s menu and explore each customization option. This way, you’ll quickly pick your optimal mix of functions. Once you’ve personalized the tool in regards to your specific reading needs, the process becomes much more enjoyable and productive.