Double Your Reading Speed – Stop Subvocalizing

As a writer, you must have an intimate understanding of your subject and one of the best ways to achieve this is through research. One way to enhance your research skills is to increase your reading speed. In this guide, we’ll look at subvocalization and the effect it has on your reading speed. 

By understanding this concept, you can learn how to read faster which will boost your productivity as a writer. 

What is Subvocalization?

Subvocalization is that inner voice you hear silently reading along with you in your head. Have you ever noticed it? Even though you don’t say the words aloud, your brain is still transmitting the sounds to your mouth and vocal cords. 

This helps to reinforce information and relates it to past experiences, meaning subvocalization is an important part of our learning process. However, this voice can be agonizingly slow and it won’t get faster by simply reading a lot. There are techniques you can use to master this inner voice that have the potential to increase your reading speed.

Average Reading Speed

The average reading speed is measured in words per minute and most people read on average 200-300 words a minute. This is similar to the amount of time it takes for us to speak the words. What this shows us, is that the speed at which we read words is determined by our subvocalization. 

When you speed up your inner voice, there’s a risk that you might not absorb the same amount of information. If you want to double your reading speed then you should do it through controlled exercises.

How to Read Faster

If you want to learn how to read faster, it’s not a case of simply reading more at a faster pace. There are also other things to consider like eye movements, visual focus and learning how to scan a document for keywords. To double your reading speed without losing comprehension, you must practice special speed reading techniques. 

Tips on How to Read Faster Without Losing Comprehension

When it comes to becoming a successful and productive writer, learning how to increase your reading speed without losing comprehension can make a significant difference to your productivity.  Here we’ll take you through a few easy tips for you to try.

Select and Skim

Before you delve straight into the first sentence of a block of text, take a minute to select your baseline. Think about your subject and relevant keywords then skim the text for anything that looks related. You might not consciously register it, but skimming gives your brain a head start in extracting relevant information. 

Use your Finger as a Pointer

It might feel like your eyes are moving fluidly from left to right when you’re reading, but they’re not. They’re darting all over the place and this is why it’s a good idea to use your finger as a pointer. Using a pointer to follow words while you’re reading will stabilize your eye movements and keep you focused.

Don´t Read Every Word

When you’re subvocalizing, you tend to read every individual word which will slow you down. Try chunking words together and skipping over the words that aren’t relevant to your search. Look out for keywords and focus on these instead.

Improve your Fluency to Improve Your Speed

Improving your fluency is the best things you can do as a writer, and it can really help with speed reading. Having a large vocabulary will save you time looking for word definitions. The best way to improve your fluency is by profuse reading and regularly learning new words.

Love Your Subject

It’s easier to read about things you have a passion for. You’ll effortlessly absorb information when you’re reading about subjects that you love. Even if you don’t love the subject, feigning enthusiasm can also increase your reading speed and comprehension.

Set Yourself Exercises

When it comes to learning how to increase your reading speed then you must practice regularly. Set aside time each day to practice speed reading exercises. This way you won’t lose information, and time, when you’re carrying out research.


With a bit of effort, you can learn how to double your natural reading speed. Now that you recognize the importance of subvocalization, you can gradually become a master of it. Learning how to read faster will not only improve your productivity but can also help you to become a better writer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to make moderate speed gains through training?

Yes, you can improve your reading speed by using training techniques.

Do speed reading techniques work?

Just like with any other activity, practice makes perfect. Practising speed reading techniques regularly can improve your reading speed.

Will I lose comprehension if I speed read?

If you start reading faster without training then you may lose some comprehension. This is why you must “train” your brain before trying to read faster.

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About Gemma Wright

I'm Gemma Wright, co-owner of ProCopyTips and a freelance PR consultant and copywriter. Having worked as a PR Manager for large financial services companies in the UK, I now focus on helping small and growing businesses to thrive through the power of effective communications.

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