Use ‘The Third Word Rule’ To Skim Text At Warp Speed

Use ‘The Third Word Rule’ To Skim Text At Warp Speed

“The Third Word Rule” allows you to skim text faster by skipping the first and last two words in every line, while still absorbing all the information you need.

Photo by Katerha.

Stepcase Lifehack points out that the rule works because as you skim through a block of text, your peripheral vision can pick up the words on each end of the line without actually focusing on them. This “reading with the eyes” is really all you need to grasp the basic concepts of the text.

The great thing about the rule is that it works equally well for both long and short lines of text. This means that you can save even more time by formatting text on your computer as thin columns, making those four skipped words per line a significant percentage of the total word count.

Obviously you won’t want to use this rule when you need to absorb every detail in the text, but it’s a great method for identifying key words and concepts in a hurry. What methods do you employ when skimming? Share your tips in the comments.

7 Speed Reading Tricks by a Former Book-Hater [Stepcase Lifehack]


  • Read this in a book years ago: keep repeating the English vowels in your head while skimming the text. So while you’re reading this comment, you should be repeating ‘A, E, I, O, U’ in your head.

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