You probably think you are reading fast enough. You probably are, but reading fast is one thing. Reading well and fast is something else. Being able to understand the most important from a text without having to read it all. Without having to read it twice. There are quite a few things which will improve your reader skills.
Assuming you are reading a well written text, the title is the most important line of the text. The author has to conclude all he/she has written in one sentence, so make sure to read the title well. Read it, think about it, analyze it, try to imagine what the text is about just from the title. You should also read the sub headers. By reading all the headers first you will get a better idea of what the text is about. This is actually scientifically true as well. When we read a couple of headers, our brain automatically starts associating and thinking about the subject. Bringing memories and knowledge you already know to the front of your head. So by reading the headers you will get a better idea of the text, and it will make your brain think.
After you have read the titles you should observe the pictures. If the pictures are properly used they should give information regarding the same subject as the text, but give you some more information than the text. Observing the pictures and reading the image text will also help you to start thinking about the text.
When you have finished all the pre reading stuff, you should already have a good idea of what the text is about. Now it is time to actually start reading it. No matter what you are reading the first sentence is important. It gives you an idea about the text, just like the title. When you start reading the text itself, how to do it depends on your purpose of reading the text. It is often a good idea to skim the text first, at least if it is short, and you need to read it thoroughly. Skim the text, grabbing some information here and there. After skimming all the lines, you should read the text again. This time you will read it very closely, understanding everything you read. Thinking about what the sentence you are reading means. When you have come through the text, after reading it very closely. There is nothing more to do about the reading, unless you want to read it again of course.
After you have read the text, it is time to reflect. Think about what you just read, and what it means. If you are reading a text for educational purposes, for a test or something similar you should make notes of what you just read. Write down a title, and a few words on each subject of the text. If you read the text almost perfectly, you should be able to write down a summary of what you read. If you have to go back to the text to make a summary, you should follow the tips above again. The reflectional stage of the reading should make you remember the text. Here it is important to take time to think, and really understand the text.
I hope at least some of these tips helped you, good luck reading whatever it is you are reading. If you are a student and you are tied up with homework, this post may not be enough help to free you schedule. See my blog post about finishing your work here.