One simple question: would you be willing to invest a few minutes right now to save an hour a day for the rest of your life? To read a book twice as fast as you can now? To get through the morning paper in minutes? To absorb those reports, Web pages, e-mails, journals, and magazines with less stress and more enjoyment?

You can, and it is actually easy. All you need is a timepiece (a kitchen timer that counts down to a beep works best) and a willingness to explore a new way to use your brain.

To begin, pick another chapter in this book, and read for 20 seconds. When you are finished, count the number of lines you read, and write down that number in a convenient location. This will give you an idea of your present reading speed. Now, let’s learn a little about the reading process.

Three-Step Process

Three aspects of the way you read determine your speed: physical posture, mental posture, and reading technique. While the magnificently powerful human brain instantly recognizes words at speeds hardly imaginable, in school we were programmed, like a sports car that only shifts into first gear, to go slowly, be careful, back up, sound it out, and comprehend every single word. This snail-in-the-mud programming undermines your potential and wastes a lot of precious time. Get ready to shift into fifth gear and enjoy a lifetime of fast, effortless reading.

Step 1: Get Physical

Studies show that the following specific physical posture helps you to read more quickly and to comprehend more: place your feet comfortably on the floor, sit up straight, and fully relax your shoulders as you exhale. Do it now. Then, relax your face and gently smile—can you feel a difference?

Prop up or hold up the book about 45 to 60 degrees, and slightly tilt your head downward. You’re now in the ideal posture for reading.

Step 2: Expectancy and the Tangerine

Next, create an ideal state of mind using the “tangerine technique.” It’s an odd technique, but it gets your brain working in such a way that you can read swiftly through anything. Play along to see how it works for you.

* Expect success. Tell yourself what you want to get from your reading. Never blindly read. Always have a purpose.

* Use your hand to reach out in front of you and pick up an imaginary tangerine—do it right now, as you are reading this. Imagine its color, skin texture, and maybe even its sweet, tangy smell. Then, lob it from hand to hand to sense its weight.

* With your dominant hand, position the imaginary tangerine on the upper-rear portion of your head. Touch that area gently with your hand and imagine the tangerine floating a couple inches above your head. Bring your hand down and relax your shoulders completely. Pretend that this magical tangerine always stays there, no matter how your head moves.

* Close your eyes, and let the tangerine float above and behind your head a few inches. Notice how much more relaxed and alert you feel. Imagine your field of vision opening up.

* Maintain this feeling, and gently open your eyes. Make sure your book is properly propped up, and read for another 20 seconds.

* Again, write down the number of lines you read.

How was that? Is it now easier to read? Did the words flow more effortlessly? In most classes I teach, students notice a 50 percent increase in reading speed using these two techniques alone. To review: in step 1, set posture, relax, gently smile, tilt your head, and prop your book; in step 2, expect success, and use the tangerine technique.

Step 3: Upper-Half Reading

Now, glide your vision across the upper half of the words you read. In other words, don’t focus on the full word, just on the upper portion. Play with this technique using this paragraph. Do you notice a difference? Most people find that it is easier to get the meaning of a sentence by gliding across the top portion of the words. It’s a novel idea based on scientific research that actually works! Another tip: when you finish one line, quickly zip your eyes back to the beginning of the next line. You should now find it easier to comprehend whole words and phrases at much higher speeds, while eliminating bad habits such as rereading and focusing on individual words to sound them out.

Let’s read for another 20 seconds. Set posture, relax, gently smile, tilt your head, and prop your book. Close your eyes and expect success for your session. Put your tangerine in place, touching the back of your head to get the feeling while imagining your visual field opening up. Now, gently open your eyes, and again, begin reading for 20 seconds, gliding your eyes across the top of the words and zipping to the next line.

Count the lines again. What differences did you notice? How many more lines did you get through? Isn’t it amazing that you improved that much in less than 10 minutes?

Try it again for another 20 seconds. Use everything you just learned. This time, push yourself a little. Challenge yourself to read faster still.

You Are Brighter Than You Think

In the Genius Code home-study course that I coauthored with mind development pioneer Win Wenger, we say, “You are brighter than you think.” You have great resources of mind, which you accessed today with these remarkable three steps to double your reading speed.

Commit to using these reading techniques on everything you read. You may find it helpful to put a note in your calendar to remind yourself every day for the next couple weeks to use these techniques. Review this article at least a couple more times. Feel free to make a personal copy of these pages to keep on your desk or in your briefcase.

Enjoy the benefits of increased speed and comprehension. You’ll see the ease of reading continuing to grow as you strengthen your new skills as an efficient, effective reader.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

In 1981, Paul founded Learning Strategies Corporation, a respected private school and publisher in Minnesota. He has authored numerous books and audio programs to help you maximize your potential, including the popular PhotoReading program. With PhotoReading you activate your mind to get through reading material as quickly as you can turn the pages. Can you imagine that? For a free CD that includes two videos, a 30-minute audio session, and a sample chapter from Paul’s book on PhotoReading, visit When checking out, use Customer Code TRSG106 to be automatically entered into a quarterly contest to in $250.