As we have mentioned earlier, eye span is crucial to a faster reading rate. Using the eyes’ full capacity is needed to be able to catch more words at a time. So first and foremost, ensure your eyes can see clearly or you have the necessary aids like glasses or contact lenses for clearer vision.
Each stop of the eyes on a reading material is called fixation. The eyes can also see both horizontally and vertically. The horizontal and vertical span normally reaches 1 to 3 inches in diameter but this can be larger for others and can be developed overtime by many. Measure your own eye span by getting a page and focusing your view on the middle. Mark around the areas of the page which you can still clearly see with a pencil. Don’t worry about comprehension at this point yet. This is how far your eyes can clearly see in a page or your eye span.
To increase your reading speed, do this exercise: as you read through the page, your eye span also moves along with your eye movement. Blinking is part of this process too. What you need to do is every time you blink change the focus of your eyes to another set of words which your eye span can reach.
Now a point to remember in developing your eye span for speed reading is not to focus too much in widening it but what you need to focus on is the amount of words you are able to read and understand each time you move your eye span or that is when you blink.
Proper pacing is important at this point too. You should not try to do this too fast. Your eyes may get strained and you may not be able to comprehend well enough. Some studies also show that dyslexia may develop when this is done hastily. Yes, you do want to develop your speed reading skills at a fast rate but developing the eye span should be done carefully. Don’t exert your eyes too much and adjust to its capacity. I cannot stress enough the need for you to ensure that you understand the set of words that your eye span can reach each time it moves. Since the normal eye span is a maximum of three words. Start with this range first, if your measured eye span is not greater than 3 words. Practice reading and understanding the set of 3 words for a day or 2 before going beyond 3. If you think your comprehension is still low then continue on the 3rd or even the 4th day with the set of 3 words until your comprehension becomes better.
Relax and strengthen your eye muscles with eye exercises1 like moving it from left to right and up or down even for just 10 seconds per set each day. Many other eye exercises2 are available online too. Do take advantage of these. Ensure you get 6 to 8 hours of sleep not only for your eyes’ health but also for your mind’s health for better and faster comprehension. Take vitamins especially vitamin A to keep the eyes in good condition. When your eyes are healthy, your vision is clear and it can focus easily. This contributes to widening the eye span without difficulty.