Any way to increase reading speed other than to read more?

It takes me about 2-3 minutes to read a regular page in a book right now, depending on its difficulty and much more if it has a lot of specialized vocab. Honestly with this speed I’m getting discouraged. I know that the most obvious way to increase the reading speed is to read more, but are there any other things you’ve found that helps with reading speed? Worst case I will just have to read very slowly and it will take me a week to finish mahouka volume 19 with 2-3 hours of reading per day. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to read without the easy dictionary lookup in kindle :frowning:

Speed reading techniques exist, but you can’t really use those for a language you’re still learning. Honestly, reading more and getting comfortable enough with the vocabulary/grammar is the only thing you can do to improve your speed since it’s heavily tied with comprehension. Better comprehension = faster.

Sorry :^)


One thing that just occurred to me is to try using a teleprompter. It auto-scrolls the text so you have to keep up.

Only thing is that you have to copy and paste text into the box, so wouldn’t work with novels, etc.

From a neuroscience standpoint, flashcards of vocabulary are a great way to help your brain cement the visual shape of words without the surrounding words slowing down the imprinting process into your visual system. As you look at each card, try to focus on the whole word, not the individual kanji/kana. The brain’s ‘attention’ directs what gets imprinted, so you won’t make as much progress if you read the individual kanji/kana.

Eventually, the words will pop out at you more readily, and reading speed will increase.

But it’s boring, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it. If you try it, I’d be interested to hear how well if works for you.


I mean, I’m not exactly the fastest reader, but I’ve found that both video with Japanese subtitles and video games with full voice acting are at least somewhat useful for this?

I mean at the very least it forces you to read at least as the same speed as the audio, which is something at least. I think probably with J-Drama you’d be more likely to find stuff with specialised vocab, especially if it’s medical/crime stuff, but like, there’s some really cool law/engineering series out there as well!

But anime and games, (possibly especially Visual Novels?) would possibly also be good at forcing the pace a bit, but IMO, it feels to me that voice acted stuff tends to be pronounced a bit more deliberately, and hence at a slower speed? It might be too slow to be helpful…

If that’s not fast enough, following along with some MVs with lyrics with some faster beats possibly might help?

I think if you can follow along with the faster bits of 秘密警察, you’d be good to go? :sweat_smile:

If you find this helpful, I’ve collected a few MVs with Lyrical overlays here:

I should add, that trying to sing along will really supercharge your reading speed, as basically you have to read ahead of where the lyrics are to be able to keep up with the music. haha

I used to create my own subtitle for songs. Unfortunately, I think it is not enough for reading speed. I mean I can almost always read, if the text is short enough.

I am trying to go with this track, that is, improve the accuracy for interpretation/translation. This is the basis for this project. Still, I’ll have to study more grammar.


hum while you read. Vocalization (even inside your head) of words is what makes reading slow.

Yeah, I suspected as much. From where I’m at, I feel like I’m doing pretty well if I can keep up with synced text/audio without having to pause/rewind, etc, but I can see how that might be too slow for reading novels and other large swathes of text.

I suspect that might be especially the case with Japanese, where even if you know what a compound means, having to remember/figure out the reading is like a secondary process. If you’re happy with just knowing the meaning, technically you don’t even care about the reading?! Can someone who is further progressed than me please confirm if this is true?

That depends on you individually. I can tell you that as I was reading your English post, I was saying the words in my head. As such, I always struggle when I don’t know the reading of a word in Japanese, even when I know or can guess the meaning.

There is no way to me skip a word when I don’t know the reading because either it is a word I don’t know anyway or it is something I should know and I don’t like to think that my knowledge is fading away.

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