Speed Reading Technique: Meta-Guiding

In this post, we’re going to talk about speed reading, and a simple technique we can use to “trick” our eyes and mind to read faster. This technique is called “meta-guiding,” and the concept behind it is simply that our eyes naturally follow motion, so we can use our finger to “trick” our eyes to move faster across the page. By using our finger, we are basically giving our eyes something to focus on—this helps direct our attention, as well as prevents us from going back and rereading what we’ve already read. If we continually move our finger faster and practicing this, our mind will eventually catch up to how fast our finger is moving and our reading speed will increase.

Don’t Read Every Word


A key part of this technique is that in order to read faster, we can’t read every word. In actuality, we almost never need to read every word of a text—we only need to understand the main point or points that it is communicating. On the ACT, you don’t need to, and you shouldn’t, read every word of a passage—you only need to read enough to find the answer to a question.

So when we use our finger to read faster, it’s okay if we don’t comprehend everything. If our comprehension is at about 70%, that’s great, both for the ACT and for a good majority of the reading you will do in the future. As you practice this speed reading technique, just try to figure out the main point of the text you are reading—don’t try to read and understand every word.

Example Videos: Speed Reading/Meta-Guiding

Now we’re going to look at some examples of how we can use our finger to “trick” our eyes and mind to read faster. In these three videos, I use this “meta-guiding” technique at three different speeds. If your speed is currently slower than this, that’s okay—the point is that you can gradually build up your speed with constant practice.

In this first video, I move my finger at a “normal” speed. It takes me about 20 seconds to get through this paragraph of text. This is actually a good reading speed for the ACT, but it never hurts to practice getting faster.

[hana-flv-player video=”http://bestactprep.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/speed-reading-slow.mp4″ width=”400″ height=”auto” description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]

In this second video, notice how I move my finger significantly faster. It takes me about 10 seconds to get through this same paragraph of text. I’m definitely going to comprehend less for now, but the point is that if I keep on pushing myself by doing this, eventually my mind is going to catch up to how fast my eyes are moving and I’ll comprehend more and more at faster speeds.

[hana-flv-player video=”http://bestactprep.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/speed-reading-fast.mp4″ width=”400″ height=”auto” description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]


In the third and final video, I move my finger across the text at a very fast pace. On the ACT, if you’re looking for a specific piece of information in the passage, you can move your finger more quickly to locate something specific that you’re looking for.

[hana-flv-player video=”http://bestactprep.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/speed-reading-very-fast.mp4″ width=”400″ height=”auto” description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]

Speed Reading for the ACT

For the ACT, this speed reading technique will help you in two ways: 1) First, you can use it to get faster at reading in general before the ACT, and 2) Second, you can use it on the ACT to read passages faster and with more focus, as well as find specific pieces of information faster.

The speed reading technique we learned in this session is a very useful technique that will not only help you do better on the ACT, but also help you save time in college and beyond college.

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