I’m going to help you do this, and it’s not going to take as much time as you might think. That being said, I’ve never been one to just tell people what they want to hear, so I’m going to tell you right now that it’s not going to be easy for a slow reader to read a 300-page book in a single day.
We are, however, going to stack the odds in your favor by making a few minor (and major) tweaks to your reading approach.
You may also want to consult my Top 20 Unconventional Reading Strategies, which I used personally to read 179 books in 2020. And 137 in 2019. You get the idea.
Okay, let’s start.
Spend More Time Reading
This is obvious, but sometimes the most obvious answers are staring us right in the face. You need to spend more time reading. You need to take a book, find a spot, sit in it, and dedicate at least a few hours of your one and only life to tackling this book that you want to finish in a single day. There are definitely reading “hacks” out there — and I’ll get to some of them — but you really just need to spend more time reading. And schedule it, too. Don’t think that it’s just going to “happen” magically. If you want it to happen, schedule it.
Get “In State”
Just like reading comprehension is “state dependent,” meaning that if you’re bored while reading it, you won’t remember much later, reading speed is ALSO state-dependent. Simply put, you’ll read faster if it’s a book you actually want to read and are excited about reading, rather than something you’re just trudging through because you “have to.” I read the last 130 pages of Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch, in just a few hours because it’s a ripping good novel and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
Split Your Reading Between Two or More Books
Switch between books, if that’s an option for you. 300 pages is a lot, and sometimes, even if you’re interested in the book, you can start to slow down after a while. My suggestion would be to read 50–150 pages of one book and then read 50–150 pages of another book in one day, and then the day after do it all over again. So your reading speed won’t go down as much, and maybe you can finish 2 books in 2 days, rather than a single 300-page book in one day.
Defend Your Time as if Your Life Depends on It (Because it Does)
Aggressively (but politely) take back your time. Do you waste 5 minutes every hour? You probably do. It’s very easy. But if you’re awake for 16 hours, and you “save” those 5 minutes for reading, that’s an extra 80 minutes PER DAY spent reading. That could be the difference between 260 pages and 300.
“If I Can’t Bring My Book, I’m Not Going”
Bring your book with you if you’re going out! This goes back to what I just said. If you’re gonna stand in line somewhere for 5–10 minutes, you may as well get some reading done. Search Google for “Stephen King reading a book” and you’ll find photos of him reading EVERYWHERE.
Read with a pacer. By which I mean your finger or a piece of paper, skimming the lines, which you will track with your eyes. It means that you won’t be allowing yourself to go backwards and read groups of words you’ve already read, which is something that trips up a lot of people.
Keep the Voice Inside Your Head Occupied
Stop what’s called “sub-vocalization” by chewing gum, counting in your head, listening to instrumental music, etc. Sub-vocalization is a fancy word for reading aloud in your head, which will also slow down your reading speed. People have come up with many ingenious ways of beating this insidious habit, by doing everything I’ve just mentioned and more.
Read Selectively and Don’t Be Afraid to Skip
If you’re reading nonfiction, what’s helpful is to read the first paragraph of every chapter, the first sentence in each paragraph, etc. Not every word needs to be read, especially in nonfiction books, some of which literally have a word-quota they need to reach in order to be published. So that means the author has to go and add all this fluff that you don’t actually need to read. In a 300 page book that’s 100 pages of fluff, you only need to read 200 pages. You’ve read the book, you’ve extracted the most important information, but you’ve done it in FAR less time.
There are other reading hacks of course, and I cover many of them (and other important ideas) in The Top 20 Unconventional Reading Strategies, which is free.
If you’re looking for book recommendations, you can also check out my Reading List, where you’ll find literally hundreds of the very best books.
Ok, I’ll leave it there. But I hope you found this helpful! I LOVE helping people read more books, and it fires me up inside that you’re going to be able to take these 8 tips and revolutionize your reading!
All the best,
WANT TO READ MORE BOOKS THIS YEAR?
If you want to learn how to read 13x more books this year, then check out my free book, The Top 20 Unconventional Reading Strategies. I used these same strategies personally to read 179 books last year.