How to increase reading speed

I found an interesting idea on how to improve reading speed on reddit. I’m not at the point yet where reading is even feasible, but I look forward to trying it out when that time comes:


I’ll give it a try starting tomorrow, and see what kind of results I get.

EDIT: Oh, and without reading the entire thread, does the original poster ever say what level of Japanese they are at? Like, was this progress experienced with low level or high level materials? Maybe I just missed it in the main portion.


I’ll give it a try in a couple hours after class.

Like leebo said, I don’t see anything about their level, so I’m not sure if the 5-10 sentences will be too much or too little, but we’ll see. Furthermore, I’m not sure what level this is supposed to benefit people at, yeah.

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Yeah, they did just say “find something interesting,” which implies scaling it do different levels, but that’s about it.

Yeah, true. To me it seems like this would help primarily with parsing the text better as you read it and improving your speed that way, so it wouldn’t have much of an effect on people who don’t have a problem with that. With that being said, I’d love to be proven wrong of course. They claim they saw benefits in a single day of just 3 20-min sessions, so I’ll do exactly that.

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For example, I clicked on one of the links in the thread, to the other thread about chunking, and read the Japanese passage there. And the only word in it I didn’t know was 息継ぎ (though I could guess the meaning roughly), and I had no issue reading it relatively smoothly, but admittedly at not an amazing speed.

It would be nice to be able to read something short like that in like half the time.

" 1. Pick a book or story that you’re pretty sure is around your level, and mark off a section to read (that you haven’t read yet!) that’s 5~10 sentences long or so (you can experiment with length, but this has been my sweet spot for steady improvement!)"

Not easy or difficult material, just an interesting thing at a proper reading level

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I’m wondering if this technique could also work to improve one’s listening speed. I listen to podcasts every day and, while my vocabulary is still too limited to understand what’s being said, I’m finding myself more and more able to parse what I’m hearing. It’s tougher, though, when the speaker is speaking very quickly, of course. So it would be amazing if this technique could be adapted somehow.

You could start with a slower playback speed, that should make parsing easier. And then increasing it from there.
If you listen to just one part / episode repeatedly you will pick up more and more words each time, too, I suppose.


Excellent idea!

This definitely works. (at least it did for me).
We used to do this thing in class where we competed to see who could read a small text the fastest (obviously while reading it properly), and it changed every week.
The time usually had to be less than 1 minute for it to count in the first place.
I always started at like 1 1/2 minutes by reading it the first time, and ended up at like 45 seconds.
Usually won! :smiley:
I also had no problem with time on the reading section of the N4, if that helps.

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So second reading goes faster than first and more repeated reading practice equals improved reading. I’m guessing a good amount of people may be naturally doing this already to some degree (or have a classroom environment) while others may be scattered. I’ve found good teachers will drill fundamentals repeatedly, no matter the discipline so perhaps more patient-minded student are able to do these type of methods alone easier. Without a comprehension measure on new material, not sure how they are quantifying progress here.

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I haven’t seen it mentioned in this forum, but there’s this book too:

It’s basically something like a speed reading course.
I have the first edition available, some excercises include practical activities to get the gist of a text before going in depth, scaning and quickly searching important info out of text, boards, etc…

Anyway, there’s a lot on emphasis on how to speed reading text using the peculiarities that Japanese has compared to western languages .

Have anyone tried something similar?? Some lectures on extensive reading mention speed reading courses as a great tool for language learners, as they are a little investment in time for a great and constant benefit.

This book has been the only resource I’ve found so far (though I was looking using english :sweat_smile: )


That Rapid Reading resource looks mighty interesting, I’ll have to look into that!

I’ve personally found that one fun way of improving reading speed is to sing more karaoke. It’s especially nice for songs where you don’t quite have the lyrics memorized. Is it best way of learning? Probably not. But it’s sure a really fun way. And it’s great singing practice too!


Thanks for this. I tried it with my anki sentence cards and I realized that while they are too short to get the ideal reading practice benefit out of this, my previous routine could be part of why I have so much trouble not reading furigana if it exists and I’ve changed it.

Old routine: read the sentence’s furigana

New routine: spot check readings I wasn’t completely sure of, then read the sentence once or twice or more if I need to until I’m not feeling tempted to look at the furigana.

(Also check the notes section (where I have translations or definitions of words and grammar) if there was anything I wasn’t completely sure of, but that part hasn’t changed.)

ETA: I will probably try this strategy but without the timer next time I am reading something that seems reasonably ideal for it. Currently I’m reading manga and the text feels too broken up.

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