Most of us learn to read one -- word -- at -- a -- time. One strategy for reading faster is to read words in clusters -- groups of three or four words at a tie. It takes regular practice to do this, but Bill Cosby offers the instructions to learn this speed reading method.
(Yes, that Bill Cosby, the TV personality who also has a PhD in education and has done work in effective reading techniques.)
Brain Pickings highlights an essay Cosby wrote, called "How to Read Faster", which offers three strategies for faster reading. In addition to previewing and skimming the material, you can learn to cluster words. This not only increases your reading speed, it's also supposed to improve reading comprehension. The illustration above is how Cosby would cluster that text. For each cluster, he sees all of the words at once at a glance.
Here's how to use clustering:
Learning to read clusters is not something your eyes do naturally. It takes constant practice.
Here's how to go about it: Pick something light to read. Read it as fast as you can. Concentrate on seeing three to four words at once rather than one word at a time. Then reread the piece at your normal speed to see what you missed the first time.
Try a second piece. First cluster, then reread to see what you missed in this one.
When you can read in clusters without missing much the first time, your speed has increased. Practice fifteen minutes every day and you might pick up the technique in a week or so. (But don't be disappointed if it takes longer. Clustering everything takes time and practice.
Check out the full article for more speed reading techniques, some of which we discussed before for getting through our backlog of books.
How to Read Faster: Bill Cosby's Three Proven Strategies [Brain Pickings]