How do I Bust Through my Speed Reading Plateau?


Hi AOMers,

I’ve been practicing speed reading drills on and off.

I started with some basic techniques like using the finger as a guide and pushing my rate.

In fact, I started with the 4, 3, 2, 1 method. (where I read for 4 minutes and then, I try to read the same amount of text in 3 minutes, then 2 and then 1 min)

Then I worked on chunking groups of words.

I played around with some drill suggested by Tim Ferris. I couldn’t quite grasp it.

I even tried using a metronome to set different tempos.

And now, for the past few months I’ve been just focusing on trying to read a page a minute.

I’ve been patient but I can’t seem to increase my natural reading rate past 260-270 wpms.

I’m looking for some new techniques because I’ve been doing isn’t working.

I’ve tried reducing sub-vocalization but that just frustrates me.

Anyone who’ve had this issue and got through it?



My rate varies mostly on my mental state, it fluctuates more than the weather and stock market combined, and so does my speed of comprehension. Since you’ve already practiced with no results, I suggest looking into the former one (could experiment with sleep, diet, supplements&nootropics, sport).


“speed reading” as described in many of the books appears to be mostly bogus. BUT you should certainly be able to improve your reading speed beyond 270wpm when reading for personal pleasure. Simply reading something you enjoy every day for a reasonable period of time should improve your reading speed (familiarity). Technical reading is a different skill. There are elements of scanning and skimming that can be combined with memory techniques and note taking techniques that can improve retention dramatically but this isn’t what is called speed reading either. I think the silliness that is commonly referred to as speed reading could make a nice secondary skill to skimming already known material to develop notes, mind maps, or memory palaces but otherwise the science on the techniques as described in the books seems to have been proven invalid.


Well,I’ve been practicing on fiction (as recommended)

How long should one practice per session?

I average 45-60 mins.

I start with a 10 min warmup of natural reading
Then I rounds of 1 minute where I push myself to read a whole page (330ish words in a page of what I’m currently reading)
And then I cool I finish off with natural reading for about 10-20 mins.

I try to shoot for at least 10 1 minute rounds.

Am I doing enough? Should I be training for 1 1/2 hours or something?

Or is it must the technique? Do I just need something more effective?



Speed reading for more that 15 min. a day creates a condition called mental fatigue in some people. When you get mental fatigue you can’t increase your speed. You have to stop any attempts to speed read for 3 to 4 days.
Then restart you efforts but don’t try to speed read for more than 10 minutes for the first 3 to 4 weeks then break the practice into 2 sessions of 15 minutes at least 3 hours apart. One of the major reasons people don’t succeed in speed reading is over practice not under practice.


My two cents would be this;

  1. First of all an hour is too long a practice session. Thirty min or a bit less is plenty.

  2. My drills were seeing how far I read in 1 min, not reading a page faster and faster.

Here is the basic drill;
Set a timer for 1 or 1.5 min (be consistent). Read fast for the whole time. I used my finger sweeping margin to margin to pull my eyes along.

Count the words (estimate words per page and multiply, do this for the book at the beginning). Then start the timer again and read the SAME TEXT again and go beyond. You will get a bit farther and your eyes will practice seeing the earlier text more quickly.

Repeat this five times and on the fifth you set the timer for five minutes. Here you continue reading for 5 min and the new text will read faster than the first text.

You can do this drill a second time within thirty minutes and improve just a bit more. After this continue reading new text until ten or twenty minutes. Additional reading near the fastest you were going will help solidify the improvement.

On the next day your reading will start faster than the day before.

Since we first learned to read we generally never practice the act of reading. Doing so naturally improves the skills, especially quickly recognizing words we have learned in the last ten or twenty years. As such none of this is magical just unusually practical.


Another new article about speed reading. What does everyone think about this one. I’m highly skeptical of the speeds he claims…