Speed Reading on a Computer
Spending too much time on the computer everyday can be damaging to your eyesight. So always sit as far back from the screen as possible; and always make sure that you’re working on your computer in a well-lit room. If you do these two things, your eyestrain will be minimal, though even still, it can be a problem. Taking frequent eye-breaks, will greatly help you reduce the impact of all of the artificial lighting and glare you feel when you work on a screen the whole time.
Many people find that computers are actually easier to read on than a paperback novel. The reason is simple – the screen is clear, the text is more interesting, and there’s no pages to be turned. You can zone in and focus, and read through pages and pages of text quite easily.
Now, of course, while some techniques will need to be adjusted. It wouldn’t quite look right for you to be leaning back away from the computer while also using your finger to trace lines across the screen or up and down to quicken your pace naturally. Instead of using your finger as you would while reading an actual book, you’ll need to get used to using the pointer icon on your computer. This is much more difficult than it might seem.
When you use your finger, you have a big advantage in that the size of your finger effectively blocks out the lines of text below the one you’re reading. With the small size of the mouse pointer, you’ll need to do a lot of practicing to get used to this. It’s common to re-read or skip lines when you read, especially when you try to read faster than you should.
You can eventually learn to read faster on the computer than you can with a real-live book with practice; especially if all of the text you’re reading loads up on the same page. No matter how long the articles I write for this site, you won’t be seeing a “Page (1)” or “Page (2)” on the bottom of the page. No matter the speed of your internet connection, “turning the page” on many sites will absolutely slow you down, and can interrupt the pacing, and the organization of whatever you’re reading.
In fact, your computer’s speed does have a lot to do with your level of success. Sometimes you can experience lag with scrolling, or with loading times for secondary pages that can not only slow you while you’re waiting, but which can interrupt your pacing, and make you lose your place on the page. For particularly long passages, this is especially problematic. In order to prevent these kinds of problems, you should run as few processes as possible at any given time.
Even passive programs which aren’t doing anything at the time can help to slow down your computer. Therefore, before trying to read quickly, close your instant messaging program, and log off entirely. Shut down your email client by closing the application entirely. Even if they are minimized, or minimized to the quick launch toolbar, they are still actively utilizing a chunk of your CPU processing speed, and your computer’s memory. Not only will closing these applications make your computer run faster, but they will cut down on your distractions while reading as well.
Also, don’t forget about other speed reading techniques. Pre-reading a long article will help you identify it’s structure and anticipate what’s coming next; which can cut down on loss of comprehension; and not subvocalizing as you read will absolutely help you read faster in general.
Computer programs are available to help you learn these techniques more in-depth. Take a look at this link to learn more about them; and about what else you can do to help you increase your reading speed.